Mastering your craft: 5 super skills to become a great restaurant manager
From building employee morale to mastering digital tools, here are 5 tips to become the best restaurant manager out there
A restaurant manager is no easy position. The job description is expansive; restaurant managers are essentially expected to be present in all areas of the restaurant, both in the kitchen and on the floor.
Outside of restaurant hours, restaurant managers may manage inventories, conduct food safety inspections, train staff, negotiate with investors, and much more. During meal time, managers must be on the floor to oversee the restaurant service, perhaps intervening when necessary or providing guidance when asked. All this while attending to customers themselves to ensure that the guests are having the best possible time.
Because restaurant managers are responsible for the overall operations of the restaurant business, the work can feel overwhelming and at times challenging.
This ultimate restaurant manager guide is for those who are looking for a concise yet comprehensive guide to becoming the best restaurant manager they can be.
1. Manage, lead, and mentor your staff
Employee management is arguably one of the most important tasks for restaurant managers. From hiring to training to promoting, restaurant managers play a crucial role in the work experience of their staff.
Firstly, restaurant managers must be trustworthy and reliable, since they are responsible for the well-being of the staff. If anybody on the team has an issue or a question that needs to be raised, the restaurant manager should be the first person they reach out to. When confronted with an issue, restaurant managers should be able to analyze the situation and act appropriately, even if that means making a difficult decision. Trust and loyalty from employees can be earned through demonstrating such qualities. In addition, restaurant managers should work on boosting employee morale and building confidence in their staff, taking the time to lead and mentor the staff to help them become well-equipped, successful professionals.
Restaurant managers also control the working environment and conditions of their restaurants. For smooth and optimal restaurant operations, which will indirectly lead to satisfactory working environments and more sustainable working conditions, excellent time management is a non-negotiable skill. Restaurant managers must be able to foresee problems and plan wisely, such as scheduling shifts in a way that gives ample time for staff to prepare for service, take some time off, or even work on some side projects within the scope of their work.
2. Don’t neglect the finances
It’s easy to get swept up in the hustle and bustle of everyday service that you forget as a restaurant manager that you are supposed to be overlooking the less tangible, financial aspects of the restaurant as well. However, financial management is a crucial part of restaurant management that cannot be overlooked, especially for the longevity of the business.
Restaurant managers must therefore have a firm understanding of the business’s finances in order to manage revenue and loss statements whilst making informed decisions based on the restaurant’s profit and performance. Financial management also includes food and beverage supply chain management, whereby managers should optimize operation profits by controlling food costs and administering supply chain processes, such as procurement, storage, and inventory processes.
Staying on top of the restaurant's finances will result in greater economic success, which is a discernible accomplishment characteristic of an excellent restaurant manager.
3. Learn everything there is to know about your restaurant
Perhaps this goes without saying, but it is so incredibly important that it must be said: that restaurant managers should know everything about their restaurants. Not just the grandiose vision of the restaurant or the meaning behind each dish; restaurant managers should know the small details of the restaurant, such as where the cleaning supplies are stocked and what cutlery needs to be hand washed.
Moreover, restaurant managers should be able to demonstrate how tables must be set and what reservation statuses are looking like for the next month when the health inspectors are coming and who the new hire is. They should know the origin story of the restaurant and its history, be able to list off any accolades that have been given, name their suppliers and give information on the artists that helped design, furnish, and equip the restaurant.
Indeed, there is so much to learn about a restaurant, but knowing everything there is to know will make any restaurant manager a more effective organizer and a faster problem solver. As those who are responsible for running backstage and the show and everything in between, the best restaurant managers are the ones who know the scene like the back of their hand.
4. Master the digital tools
Digital tools are a great way to keep track of all the information there is to know. Reservation platforms like TableCheck that accumulate customer data and reservation requests from all booking channels can help restaurant managers stay on top of their business, with all necessary information disposable at the tip of their fingertips, on the screen.
TableCheck Insight is a powerful analytics tool that can outline current profit trends. It can enable restaurant managers to gauge the current status of the business while also mapping out future goals and plans.
5. Be the best service staff on the floor
Ultimately, the success of a restaurant boils down to how popular the business is. Positive feedback and guest loyalty are therefore two things that can determine how successful a restaurant can be and, by extension, a restaurant manager. All these are obtained through great dining experiences, and they cannot be offered if any of the aforementioned duties are neglected by the restaurant manager. However, as a restaurant manager, one last thing you need to strive for to be the best restaurant manager is to be the best service staff on the floor.
Restaurant managers should set an example for their colleagues and make an effort to give the best service possible. Greet the guests, and go around to check how everyone is. Remember, as the restaurant manager, every customer is under your wing. Engage and make sure to let the customers know that they are well taken care of, both by you and your team. A restaurant manager who can be the face of the restaurant and its heart and its legs and all else there needs to be is the ultimate restaurant manager.
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