Restaurant Manager Careers

To become a restaurant manager, you are going to need to be career focused. To help you understand this, some of the best restaurant managers you’ll find, are the best because they took the time to know the business. They understand the job roles of each of the staff on their team, because they’ve been there, wore the uniform and done the job. Their skills come from on the job experience. That doesn’t mean that you have to start out serving tables, then progress your career.

Become a Restaurant Manager

You can come from any customer-orientated career, such as retail and then go through some training courses in the hospitality sector, and use your transferrable skills to land a job in perhaps a supervisory role, which will fast track your career to becoming a restaurant manager.

The added advantage of your career progression in the industry is that your staff will know that you appreciate the work you do. The other thing to bear in mind is that you’ll have to diversify your time between different areas.

Mainly the following 3 areas:

1. The front of house

At the front of house, you’ll be looking professional and dressed for business. You’ll be the face of the restaurant and engaging with customers. It’s not all about the management as customers want to see that the manager being active, looking after the restaurant as a whole, and not solely focused on the figures.

2. The kitchen

The kitchen is where the food standards need to be met. To do that you need to work with your kitchen staff. You’ll be responsible for the health and safety within the kitchen area, so even with a supervisor on shift, you’ll still have to keep an eye on things, to prevent and/or ensure the service standards aren’t slipping. Also note that during busy periods, it’s better for a restaurant manager to be prepared and ready to jump in and get their hands dirty when things are getting hectic.

Kitchen staff show a higher degree of respect to management who are willing to help when the help is needed, and to run a restaurant you need the respect of your staff. In the hospitality business, the nature of it calls for you to earn your respect, so if you’re not good with communicating with your colleagues, you will struggle in a restaurant managerial position.

3.The office

The office is the area where you’ll need your organisational skills the most. You can expect to be here at the end of your shifts to get the paperwork tied up. This is when you can sometimes find yourself working longer hours, as the other areas, mentioned above is where you’ll spend the majority of your time. Closer to the end of your shift is when the paperwork will need doing.

Restaurant manager training

It is possible to become a restaurant manager with no formal qualifications. You can do that by working your way through a career in hospitality. For those with their heart set on managing a restaurant, there are some additional training courses you can study towards, which will increase your credibility.

It will help you stand out amongst the fierce competition for the high paying restaurant manager jobs, and perhaps even become a regional manager for a restaurant chain.

Restaurant Manager

Entry-level qualifications to become a trainee restaurant manager

In order to become a trainee restaurant manager, employers are going to want to see credentials to establish that you’re suitable for the role.

For the trainee management positions, you’ll find these with some of the UKs largest restaurant chains, such as JD Wetherspoon, Harry Ramsden’s, Pret a Manger and many more. In total, the UK has approximately 50 chain restaurants, which is why the competition is so fierce for trainee management roles.

Experience is the major credential that will qualify you for trainee restaurant manager positions. For the best chance of success though, you should back up your experience with official credentials. The standards you’ll be expected to be qualified to, will be in English, Maths, Hospitality, and/or a Catering related qualification. Top that with a business related qualification and you’ll be well ahead of everyone else, using experience only as a basis to apply for trainee management positions.

Summary of entry-level qualifications:

  • English
  • Maths
  • Hospitality and Catering
  • Business Management

A formal degree, HND/HNC in any of the above fields, will give you an advantage when applying for restaurant manager positions at a trainee level.

If you don’t have a degree to use, then an alternative would be to go with a Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship in Hospitality & Catering (not level 2,) as the training on this course covers supervision as well as leadership, which is a huge advantage to employers. The reason you’ll want to look for the chains is that they will look for candidates with experience in the industry and have a good educational background.

Once they see you meet those requirements, you’ll then be able to go through their own internal management training programmes, to bring you up to the standards they expect across the entire chain.

An additional benefit to the chain restaurants is that there’s still scope to expand your career further and become a regional restaurant manager or an area manager, responsible for a number of restaurants.

By-passing entry-level positions and gaining industry recognised qualifications

Due to the competitive nature of the catering industry, combined with the dominance of the large restaurant chains, it’s sometimes best to expand your horizons. While there are a large number of job opportunities open with the restaurant chains, there’s no larger towns, which don’t have a small independent restaurant. They need professionally qualified managers for their restaurants too.

Here’s how to get those restaurant manager jobs

  1. Have an HND in English and Maths
  2. Study towards gaining an HNC, Diploma or a BTEC qualification in the Catering and Hospitality field.
  3. Progress with a 1-year course, to graduate with a BA (Hons) conversion degree, in Service Sector Management.

That may not sound a lot, but it will take years of studying to gain all of those qualifications. However, those are the training courses that you can do, but they aren’t at all necessary to become a restaurant manager.

You can work your way through a career in hospitality and use your years of experience to progress within a restaurant and take on more responsibilities. The training and qualifications are only there to assist you with employment opportunities, at a managerial level.

It is necessary to have experience in the field, so whatever courses you choose to study, you’re best to work part-time in any role within a restaurant, then prove your value and stick the job out, applying for any internal promotions that arise.

Once you have the relevant qualifications, and feel you’re ready for career advancement, then reach out to the larger chains, highlighting your experience, qualifications, and indicate the passion you have to advance your career by managing a restaurant on behalf of their business.

Restaurant manager jobs

When working in the restaurant industry, there’s no shortage of areas to look for restaurant manager jobs. Every major and even smaller town around the country have both large and small restaurants. Some are bars serving pub grub and others are in the fast food sector.

Every separate industry in hospitality has restaurant manager jobs they’ll need filled with the right candidates to serve their guests with the best possible experience they can get. In order to find where the positions are, the following will break down the sectors where your services will be most in demand.

Restaurant Manager Jobs

Sectors to find restaurant manager jobs

Large restaurant chains

Large restaurant chains are one of the more difficult management positions to get into. They’ll require you to have formal qualifications, recognised in the Catering and Hospitality industry, as well as an HNC in English and perhaps even Maths.

You’ll very rarely find you can just apply for a management position as most offer an in-house management programme and recruit their staff as trainees.

Once you’re trained through their internal apprenticeship programmes, you’ll then be able to work your way up, within your career and further develop your skills to become area manager, or regional restaurant manager.

Independent restaurants

No matter where you are, you’ll be sure that if you walk down your town centre, you’ll see a small family friendly restaurant. Some local restaurants will also have some speciality dishes, such as Chinese restaurants, Sushi bars, and Steak Houses.

No matter what type of food a restaurant specialises in, they will need a suitable restaurant manager to ensure the best quality of service to all their guests, and to ensure that their catering/hospitality business runs as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

Hotel restaurants

Hotels will often have their own restaurants. The reason being that when people stay over in a hotel, it’s more convenient to have their breakfast on the premises, rather than have to find a suitable local restaurant. It’s also an additional revenue stream for hotels, which will help them to maintain lower room hire costs, and meet the overheads of their business.

Hotel restaurants tend to be more expensive, which is why they’ll often look for qualified personnel to fill the roles of their restaurant managers. The service standards need to be far superior to ensure their guests get a luxury dining experience with an excellent level of service.


The owner normally manages cafes, as they’re usually small enough to manage themselves.

There are times though when small café owners decide to expand their business and open another café in a nearby town, or another busy location that will help increase their profits. This is when you’ll find managerial positions for a café style restaurant. The title of a café, often presents an image of a chip shop.

Don’t make this mistake as the café title can range from fish and chicken bars, to small coffee shops, bistros and some upper class Brasseries that pride themselves on fast service, serving delicatessens, traditionally associated with French dining, such as croissants.

There’s a diverse range of café style restaurants, and for restaurant manager jobs, your best to explore all your options, to better your chances of employment.


A large portion of the catering industry around the UK comes from Bars/Pubs. Right across Europe, Britain is widely known for our pub grub.

  • Fish, Chips and Mushy Peas
  • Steak Pie, Chips and Veg
  • Haggis, Tatties (potatos) and Neaps (a Scots dish traditionally associated with Robert Burns – Scottish Poet – Auld Lang Syne)

While it’s not every bar that serves food, the ones who are registered and have passed the safety checks for health and hygiene, and are able to serve food to their guests, benefit by an additional revenue stream, which is becoming increasingly in demand as the breweries push their prices up.

While the price of alcohol continually increases, year on year, the price of standard food in a bar/restaurant remains the same. It helps local bars stay in business and for them to have that extra security for their business, the bar owner will be more than thrilled to employ a professional restaurant manager to ensure his/her restaurant runs efficiently and is as profitable as possible.

With the right qualifications, combined with the right attitude and knowledge to become a restaurant manager, you will find plenty of employment opportunities, for someone with your qualifications and experience.