Restaurant Manager Job Description: Duties, Skills and Career
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Restaurant Manager Job Description
A restaurant manager is the person responsible for the overall running of a restaurant or food service business. Restaurant managers oversee every aspect of a dining establishment, including hiring and training staff, managing the restaurant’s finances, creating menus, liaising with suppliers, devising and implementing marketing strategies and interacting with customers. They play a critical role in ensuring a food establishment’s day-to-day operations run smoothly and are also crucial to its long-term success.
So, what does a restaurant manager do on a daily basis?
A restaurant manager is the leader of a restaurant team and, as such, has a wide range of tasks and responsibilities. These include managing kitchen and dining room staff (e.g. chefs, sommeliers, dishwashers, hostesses, barmen etc), motivating them to achieve sales goals and ensuring that a restaurant has the personnel it needs to be fully operational. Restaurant managers are also responsible for organizing the work of the kitchen and dining room team, establishing standards for personnel performance and customer service, assigning duties and shifts, coordinating staff leave and ensuring that staff comply with all hygiene and safety standards.
If a restaurant needs additional staff, restaurant managers act as recruiters, publishing job advertisements, selecting candidates and negotiating contract terms. They are also in charge of staff training, which involves coordinating training schedules, ensuring that new recruits are aware of the restaurant’s rules and procedures and organizing refresher courses for more experienced staff members.
Other key aspect of a restaurant manager’s responsibilities include managing a restaurant’s budget (i.e. monitoring its financial performance and keeping a close eye on the books), establishing its food offer and developing menus together with the head chef and head sommelier. As well as selecting the dishes that the restaurant will offer its customers, restaurant managers also set the prices, aiming to ensure that profit margins are high enough to keep the business financially sustainable. Another key aspect of a restaurant manager’s job is identifying effective up-selling and cross-selling opportunities for maximizing revenue (e.g. from sales of wine, drinks and dessert) and encouraging staff to pursue them. Restaurant managers also have a key role to play in planning and implementing marketing and communication strategies designed to increase the restaurant’s market share and help it stand out from the competition.
Another area for which restaurant managers are responsible for is purchasing. Key tasks here include placing orders for food and drink supplies, negotiating prices with suppliers and monitoring stock levels to ensure there are sufficient quantities of food and drink to meet daily operational requirements. They also perform regular inspections of kitchen and dining room utensils, equipment and appliances (e.g. pots, pans, tableware, table linen, staff uniforms, ovens, refrigerators, meat slicers, dishwashers, etc.), identifying any items that can no longer be used and ordering replacements for them.
Additional tasks a restaurant manager may take care of include establishing table booking systems, selecting restaurant management software and deciding on dining room decorations (e.g. flowers, candles, centerpieces, etc.).
In addition to being responsible for the day-to-day running of a restaurant, the restaurant manager is also the first point of contact for its customers. A restaurant’s clientele - and in particular the ‘regular customers’ who dine there frequently - are a restaurant’s greatest asset and it is therefore very important for a restaurant manager to understand customers’ needs and work out how best to ensure they come away satisfied from their dining experience. Essentially, a restaurant manager’s aim should be to ensure that each and every customer that walks through the door of the restaurant receives a warm and friendly welcome and customer service that is second to none.
Where issues do arise (e.g. a delay in bringing a dish or a wrong order), restaurant managers are responsible for listening to customer complaints, taking swift action to resolve the problem and ensuring that the issue does not damage the restaurant or its reputation.
Restaurant managers are employed by a wide variety of restaurants and catering businesses, including small family-run eateries, international chains, luxury and fine-dining restaurants, fast food outlets, hotel and resort restaurants (where they may go by the title of food & beverage manager), school, hospital and company canteens and cafeterias and, finally, catering firms (with the job title of catering manager).
The working hours of a restaurant manager are generally long and hectic. Restaurant managers are normally required to be present in the restaurant during service hours, meaning they frequently work evenings, weekends and public holidays, while in some cases, the working day may be divided into shifts (e.g. to cover lunch and dinner service). This is a stressful role, requiring considerable energy and resilience, which entails handling a great deal of responsibility and juggling multiple tasks at any given moment.
Other common names for this position: Restaurant Director
Restaurant Manager Responsibilities and Tasks
A restaurant manager’s main tasks include:
- Managing a restaurant’s finances
- Developing menus in conjunction with the head chef and head sommelier
- Assigning tasks and coordinating work shifts, timetables and staff leave
- Selecting, hiring and training restaurant staff
- Overseeing the work of kitchen and dining room teams
- Monitoring stock levels and placing orders for food and drink supplies
- Ensuring excellent customer service and dealing with customer feedback and complaints
- Ensuring hygiene and safety standards are met
How to Become Restaurant Manager - Training and Requirements
Hotel and catering schools, institutions and academies offer a wide range of training courses aimed at aspiring restaurant managers and food & beverage managers. These courses typically deal with topics such as:
- Economics and market structure of the restaurant business
- Restaurant marketing and location management
- Food and beverage costing
- Organizing and managing food and catering services
- Staff hiring and management
After studying the theory of restaurant management, students typically undergo a period of intense on-the-job training to learn the practical aspects of running a successful restaurant business.
Would-be restaurant managers without any specific training need not despair, however, as employers will often accept graduates in subjects such as economics or business administration. However, more than any qualifications, what really counts is prior experience in the restaurant industry, coupled with strong commercial and management competencies, leadership abilities and excellent interpersonal skills (e.g. to interact with staff and engage with customers).
Restaurant Manager Skills and Qualifications
Restaurant managers typically require the following skills:
- Restaurant accounting and administrative skills
- Knowledge of food and drink and menu creation skills
- Personnel management skills
- Knowledge of marketing techniques and strategies
- Customer service skills
- Knowledge of hygiene and food safety requirements
- Organizational skills
- Entrepreneurial spirit and result-focused mentality
- Sense of initiative and decision-making skills
- Interpersonal skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Ability to cope well with stress
Restaurant Manager Career Path
One of the possible routes to a job as a restaurant manager is to start from an entry-level position, such as kitchen assistant or waiter, and progress steadily up through ranks, assuming roles of increasing responsibility within the kitchen or dining room teams. The top cooking and waiting positions in a restaurant (respectively, head chef and head waiter) in fact serve as an excellent springboard for promotion to the managerial roles of assistant restaurant manager and restaurant manager.
Restaurant managers enjoy a wide variety of career development opportunities. One option is to move to a larger, more prestigious establishment in a more attractive location (say, abroad, or even - why not? - on board a cruise ship).
Meanwhile, for restaurant managers employed by a large catering or food service chains, another possibility worth considering is the job of area manager, which involves coordinating a number of restaurants within a specific geographic area or region.
Finally, an alternative career option for restaurant managers looking for a fresh challenge is to open up their own restaurant. This offers the freedom to focus on providing customers with quality food and perhaps even to experiment with innovative culinary concepts.
Top Reasons to Work as a Restaurant Manager
So, why should you consider working as a Restaurant Manager?
The position of restaurant manager is often considered to be the pinnacle of a career in the food and catering business. It is a role that comes with a significant amount of responsibility, since the fortune of a restaurant depends largely on the restaurant manager’s skill in making strategic decisions, but also one that offers great variety, encompassing a wide range of different tasks, including budgeting, personnel management, purchasing, marketing, interacting with customers - all within a fast-paced and dynamic environment. Running a restaurant business is a real challenge, but it is also one that has the potential to bring significant professional rewards.
Added attractions of a job in restaurant management include the generous salary packages on offer, not to mention the possibility of a career abroad in any number of exciting international locations.