Not everyone has what it takes to make a great restaurant manager. As with any career you’re considering, you need to know the skills you’ll need, so you’ll know if the career is for you. It will take a lot of hard work, time, and dedication to become a restaurant manager. It’d be a terrible shame to put the effort in, land the job you’ve been focused on achieving, only to find that when you reach your goals, you struggle to meet your job requirements.
The following will break down the most desirable skills you will need to be a restaurant manager.
This is going to be assessed at interview stage, when applying for a restaurant manager position. The reason employers need to know this is that you’re going to be managing the finances of the restaurant. That will involve dealing with suppliers and negotiating the best price possible.
Another reason is to ensure that you understand the nature of the catering business. You need to know what makes a restaurant a success. Think of the restaurants you’ve visited and consider the experience you had. Was it positive enough for you to return? If this is the case, then ask yourself what their service did that gave you that level of satisfaction.
Did you have a bad experience? In this case, then you’d know where the service lacked. Having the skills to identify areas of customer service that would benefit from improvement, is a skill you’ll need to be an effective restaurant manager.
Your interpersonal skills are really going to carry you through in this line of work. You need to be strong in your communication skills, and be able to multi-task, and also delegate some work to your team, to ensure the restaurant runs smoothly.
This also includes being a great listener. This isn’t something that we’re all naturally good at, however those who are naturally good at listening to others will be able to acknowledge problems, which transfer over into your problem-solving capabilities.
Interpersonal skills are mainly broken down into 3 components:
3) Solving problems
Excel in those skills above, and you’ll do well as a restaurant manager.
The ability to organise is an essential part of the restaurant managers’ job role. As a manager, you’ll have to organise the restaurant to be as functional as possible. Besides the appearance of the restaurant, you’ll also have to be able to organise your staff.
You’ll need enough front of house staff to continually meet, greet, and be exceptional with guests, through professional restaurant etiquette. Part of that will involve the recruitment of suitable candidates at times, so you’ll need to be able to identify the best from the worst, recruiting the people that will help you, organise the staffing requirements to cater to guests.
The organisation will also flow into the kitchen. You’ll need to have the right staff on shift, to cater to the needs of the expected number guests. This may mean that you’ll have to cut the number of staff on shift on weekdays, so you can increase your staff numbers on the busy days/nights. Part of your organising will also involve event planning and marketing of the restaurant, to encourage guests through the door, in order to keep the business growing financially for your employers.
Team leading isn’t really a skill you can develop. What you can work on though is how you can use your knowledge and lead a team, by displaying assertiveness. Some people aren’t naturally good leaders and require further training.
To lead a team, you’ll have to give instructions, but please take note that instructions aren’t the same as orders. As a manager, you will need the respect of all your staff, to be able to succeed.
Respect is earned in this position and to earn the respect of your staff, you will need to be assertive, without coming across as aggressive. Remaining calm under pressure will also factor into this part. When managers are stressed, this is when the professionalism may slack. At times, you may feel like you’re expecting someone to do a task you’ve asked them to do, and when you check back and it hasn’t been done… it will be frustrating.
These things will happen and you can’t lose it, in those heat of the moment times.
There is a fine balance between being assertive and being aggressive. The bossy type attitude doesn’t go down well with catering and kitchen staff, so you need to choose your wording carefully when you’re delegating tasks.
Being good with numbers is an absolute must to be a restaurant manager. You’re responsible for the figures, the staff numbers, managing overheads, ordering food, machinery repairs etc, all being part of your responsibilities.
Every bit of expenditure needs to be accounted for, and to do that you’ll also need to be skilled at using spreadsheet software, such as Microsoft Excel. Keeping financial records for restaurants calls on great numeracy skills. It will also factor into your organisational abilities.
One of the major contributors to being a great restaurant manager is having the ability to deal with difficult customers tactfully and with diplomacy. As much as you feel that they’re just being fussy, you need to remember the old saying in service providing as “your customer is always right.” The reason this is, is that they are paying for a service and if it doesn’t meet their expectations, then they aren’t going to be pleased.
When guests leave after a dissatisfied service, they’ll let others know which will reflect poorly on the restaurant. When a customer makes a complaint, it’s your responsibility, as the restaurant manager, to rectify things.
The best thing you can do is listen to the complaint first. This brings us back to excellent restaurant etiquette. Minding your Ps and Qs and expressing your concern to your guests.
Always address your guests as Sir and Madam and ask them what seems to be problem. Then listen to their concerns. Once you understand the problem, you can act responsibly and offer a suitable solution. The obvious place to start will be with an apology, then let your guest know the steps you’ll put in place to ensure whatever happened, won’t happen again.
When the level of standards have slipped, it’s good practice to offer something complimentary and depending on what the problem was, sometimes a complimentary voucher may be required to encourage your guest to return to the restaurant, with the aim of delivering a better experience, next time around. The better you can run a restaurant, organise things, and communicate with everyone around you, the better equipped you’ll be, with the skills needed to be a successful and exceptional restaurant manager.