Here’s the understatement of the year: there’s a lot to think about when you own a restaurant. From overseeing the daily operations of the place to managing the marketing, hiring, employee morale, customer satisfaction, creation and production of delicious food, and so much more, there’s always something to worry about. No doubt, you have a lot on your plate, so it’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind and lose sight of the big picture. But it’s a good idea to periodically step back and consider whether you’re focusing on the tasks that really matter or not.

This article serves as a reminder of what your priorities should be as the owner of a restaurant. Let others handle the serving, hosting, prepping, and bartending tasks while you think about and execute on profitability, leadership, budgeting, and other high-level topics. Read on to learn more.

Priority #1: Manage Your Restaurant’s Finances

There are many reasons why a restaurant owner must have a comprehensive understanding of the financial aspects of their business. First, you need to know how much money you’re making in order to make informed decisions about menu pricing and other areas that affect the profitability of your business. Moreover, being aware of your expenses will enable you to control costs and avoid financial difficulties. Also, having a good understanding of financial planning and budgeting will increase the odds that your restaurant stays on track to reach its goals. By paying attention to the financial aspects of your business, you can ensure that your restaurant stays profitable and achieves success.

Priority #2: Find Ways to Boost Profitability

Not only do you need to be intimately aware of all your restaurant’s numbers (even if you hire an accountant), but you should also frequently brainstorm new ways to grow your business’s profitability. For one, being profitable means that you’ll be able to cover all the costs of running your restaurant, which includes paying your employees and affording your rent and utilities. For another, a profitable restaurant is more likely to weather economic downturns and other challenges like rising inflation, food costs, and wages.

So leave waiting on customers to your servers. Instead, spend time thinking about how you can increase your profitability. Some ideas might include optimizing your menu, taking advantage of new technological tools, building your social media presence, partnering with a delivery service, or training your employees to upsell. There are lots of ways to grow your profits, you just need to conceive of them and execute!

Priority #3: Lead Your Restaurant’s Teams

As the owner of a restaurant, another priority of yours should be leadership. What does this mean? That the employees who work for you also look up to you. Creating and maintaining good relationships with them matters (as well as providing them with plenty of growth opportunities and performance incentives). Because, remember: if they’re satisfied, this will be evident in their interactions with customers, and happy customers mean more repeat business and more revenue. Plus, there will be less employee turnover which is incredibly helpful in this day and age of labor shortages (translating into less time and money spent on finding, hiring, and training new workers).

So aim to provide your employees with positive feedback and work with your managers (that’s right, delegate) to motivate the teams that run your restaurant. In the end, this will pay off: a positive work environment and content workers will no doubt increase the odds your restaurant becomes and stays successful.

Priority #4: Analyze Relevant Industry Trends

It’s likely the bartender isn’t going to spend his or her time researching new technologies and trends in the restaurant industry. This is your job as the owner. You must stay abreast of new and innovative ideas, methods, and trends, decide which will work for your restaurant, and then initiate and monitor them. If you don’t, there’s a good chance your restaurant will fall behind its competitors.

Speaking of your competitors, another task of yours is to pay attention to them and what they’re doing. Ask yourself: what’s working for them and what isn’t? Then as you craft your own strategies, learn from their failures and successes.

Priority #5: Invest in Amazing Chefs

You don’t need to be in the kitchen coming up with the next hit meal or drink. That task belongs to the chefs that you and your team hire. So make it a priority to spend time finding cooks who are exceptional at what they do (in addition to working well under pressure and capable of managing a team of kitchen staff), because, trust us, customers will bail on your restaurant in a heartbeat if they don’t like the food. But they’ll be extremely loyal if they love it, which means lots of repeat business and positive word-of-mouth.

It’s easy to get caught up in a million little tasks every day, but, in reality, it’s imperative that you focus on the five high-level priorities mentioned above instead. As a business owner, it’s your duty to oversee your restaurant’s finances, conceive of ways to grow its profitability, lead its teams, analyze the industry and your competition, and hire chefs who consistently produce outstanding food. Focusing on these big-ticket items will help guarantee the future success of your restaurant.