Whether you are considering fast-food or full-service restaurants, you will find that the food service business is challenging, and being a restaurant manager can double the stress levels. You are the lead person in charge of the restaurant’s daily operations, and your primary goals are ensuring customer satisfaction and business profitability. The restaurant manager supervises the front line staff, making decisions on hiring, training and firing. Management and supervision of the kitchen crew may be assigned to a different supervisor, but the restaurant manager still has to work closely with the co-manager to ensure smooth operations. In many cases, the manager of a restaurant looks after all the day-to-concerns of one restaurant site even if the place is part of a regional or national chain. Everyone knows about the long hours and demanding customers, but knowing a few of these little-known tips about the work life of a restaurant manager can help you cope with this demanding yet fulfilling occupation.
1. Being a restaurant manager is a high-energy position.
When it comes to outstanding customer service, all the little details matter. Whether you are preparing to open the restaurant for the day or kicking into high gear to cope with peak hours of operation, there are always many details to attend to. Take care of yourself to make sure you can take care of others, including your own staff and the customers. Healthy snacking, staying hydrated and practicing relaxation techniques when short breaks allow will help you stay focused, alert and capable of making on-the-spot decisions.
2. The restaurant manager’s job requires constant repetition.
You will find yourself repeating the same few lines over and over to your crew and to different customers. That is the nature of the job, and you may have to get creative to avoid delivering your lines in a monotone and sounding unenthusiastic in the process. Furthermore, you may found yourself repeating the same motions and sequence of events several times during the course of your shift.
3. Develop and enforce your own system of managing the chaos in the restaurant.
Tasks and processes that are repetitive can be managed more effectively with a functional system. Based on your own observations and tasks prioritization, develop a better system of doing things that will help the servers function more efficiently. It may require re-positioning the staging area to make supplies and utensils more easily accessible. Scheduling the crew is a source of headaches for managers of restaurants, so it may be advisable for everyone to stick to a fixed schedule rather than rotating one. This will minimize the need for floaters and allow everyone to master their specific assignments.
4. Don’t be afraid to micromanage.
Some restaurant managers are under the impression that the waitstaff and other crew members prefer to work with minimum supervision following their own system. Experienced managers of dining establishments indicate that the restaurant staff favor clear guidelines and specific directions. They want a leader who can demonstrate the standards that everyone should aspire to and especially one who can make sure that the process flows smoothly. They want a troubleshooter who can work out the kinks in the system and jump into the fray to pick up the slack.
5. You will never know everything there is to know.
Everything about restaurant service is dynamic. The menu needs to be refreshed along with any promotions that aim to raise visibility and brand awareness. Each customer that walks in the door will have a set expectations that would differ from other customers. Every day brings new challenges, and it is up to you as the manager to capitalize on these opportunities.
Not everyone is cut out for the job of restaurant manager. It takes stamina, perseverance and empathy for the customer and the crew. It is a job that requires dedication because the hours are long and solid leadership skills to supervise and train others.