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What Skills do Good Restaurant Managers Need?

Restaurant managers approach their work with different skill sets and personalities, and some take a managerial approach, some specialize in back-of-the-house operations and others develop great people skills to entertain and attract customers. However, certain common managerial characteristics distinguish successful managers regardless of their areas of specialization.

      • Time Management Skills: Successful managers use their time efficiently to meet deadlines and ensure that food arrives at tables in timely manners.
      • Negotiating Skills: Restaurant managers solve problems, troubleshoot complaints, negotiate with vendors, landlords and catering customers, and smooth conflicts among staff members.
      • Delegating Responsibility: No manager can handle all aspects of running a restaurant, so he or she must recognize the skills of other people and delegate responsibilities.
      • Understand Food Issues: Restaurant managers must have knowledge of food safety, restaurant trends and what makes food appealing.
English: This is actually Tom's Restaurant, NY...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Division of Restaurant Management Responsibilities

Restaurant management involves handling people and business issues, so good managers need at least a rudimentary familiarity with both management functions. Some managers specialize in one side or the other, but they must understand all the issues and delegate tasks to competent assistants.

      • Business Skills
        Essential business skills include understanding spread sheets, business plans and accounting systems so that managers can file reports and finish paperwork. Restaurant managers must handle payroll issues, wage garnishments, insurance audits, and inventory management.

          • Many restaurants use point-of-sale systems to handle inventory, payroll and other management tasks, but managers need to understand how these systems work.
          • Planning menus takes great organizational skill to use various ingredients in multiple recipes to simplify ordering and inventory.
          • Managers must file government reports, pay taxes and take care of bills on time to strengthen company reputations.
          • Typically, managers must solve business problems that include equipment malfunctions, late deliveries and unexpected business spurts.
          • Restaurant managers must often plan advertising campaigns and develop customer-reward or loyalty programs.
          • Good managers know how to solve many maintenance problems and equipment failures or be capable of making alternate arrangements.
      • People Skills
        Restaurant management involves dealing with vendors, corporate managers, front- and back-of-the-house staff and customers. Managers handle complaints, resolve disputes and motivate teams to deliver great service and high-quality food. The restaurant business generates lots of stress in the fast-paced environment, so emotions often run high and lead to conflict.

          • People skills include recognizing other people’s talents and using them in the best way.
          • Managers must listen to people and communicate effectively.
          • Restaurant work often generates unexpected problems, equipment malfunctions and staffing shortages, but managers must remain calm but tough enough to handle crises.
          • Displaying sensitivity to customer and staff issues helps to maintain a pleasant working and dining environment.

            A two-person booth in a restaurant.

            A two-person booth in a restaurant. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

          • Managers must make hard decisions occasionally, which include knowing when to fire troublesome employees or find more responsive vendors or contractors.

A good comprehension of restaurant management skills helps business owners, current managers and those who want to become managers. Everyone involved with running a restaurant should develop a complete command of being in charge of a restaurant’s operations whether temporarily or permanently. It leads to better run business and a more profitable one.

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