Restaurant managers are an underestimated bunch. While many in the industry know that their work keeps most kitchens thriving, it’s easy to forget all that goes into a day for management. They aren’t just focusing on their job, no - management needs to focus on every position in the restaurant. So, if you’re new to the management scene, you’re in the right place.
Today, we’re taking a moment to break down a day in the life of restaurant management. We’ll offer guidance, yes, but perhaps more importantly, we’re here to show why restaurant managers are so dang important!
Managing a Restaurant
When getting started in restaurant management, there are a few main categories of work you’ll perform:
- Customer work
- Business work
- Employee work
Each is crucial to your business’s success, and they really do need to work together for things to work out properly. Let’s work our way through the list, yeah?
This is the role that most people know belongs to restaurant managers - they wrangle the customers. Whether that means tableside meet and greets, soothing angered guests, or helping the Front of House get rushes organized, customers are perhaps the most significant part of any restaurant manager’s job.
If you’re still using old-school customer relations methods, consider stepping into the 21st century. Social media is an excellent tool for managers, as a simple 15-minute break to post once or twice on socials and look at the “forecast” for the night’s mood can be game-changing.
This is a slightly more vague job description; restaurant managers are expected to keep the business running in tip-top shape, and, importantly - they’re expected to keep costs low for the owner. While this can come in many forms, there are two main ways that this works consistently:
The first is obvious, though we’ll get to that momentarily. We want to focus on the second point - management of your restaurant’s inventory, technology, and tools.
While inventory management can vary for managers (a GM is less likely to handle inventory than, say, your sous chef or kitchen manager), it’s a genuinely crucial task.
Understanding what makes your business tick, what controls various workflows, and how is what matters. So, take a moment once every week (I usually opt for the last day before my weekend) to take stock, and ask yourself the following:
- How is the technology your business uses performing? Is it time for a replacement or upgrade?
This is especially important for online ordering systems, POS setups, and your printers - you know, the things that absolutely must work.
If an upgrade or consolidation may be in the cards, Cuboh offers a suite of excellent tools to help streamline your workflow in no time.
- Could a tweak to operations improve workflow?
Consider where each item is placed; printers need to be easily accessible, and POSes need to be centered in the restaurant while remaining out of the way of foot traffic.
- Would a change to your hardware (appliances, lights, etc.) or setup (inventory, food) improve eco-friendliness?
Not only is making green changes great for everyone, but it can also save your business money. Energy-efficient appliances will take up less power and gas, and eco-friendly product packaging can help make an impact without requiring much on your part.
And finally, we reach the most obvious of responsibilities for restaurant managers - managing your employees. This is a relatively straightforward process; figure out who does what well, and put them in that role. That’s really about it!
Okay, well… that may not be true. No matter how strong your crew is, nor how grizzled of veterans they are, the truth is that people are people, and they occasionally don’t get along. While that is likely no fault of your own, it is your job to resolve the issue.
Now, there are a few approaches to interpersonal conflict in the workplace:
- The obvious answer is to remove problematic employees - but it’s not always that easy, is it?
While the “swift and stern” approach works for some, there are other ways to navigate issues. Take the time to look at the dynamics of your restaurant. Sometimes, simply finding a new way to create schedules for your restaurant or rearranging tasks can resolve issues that are so often “fixed” with a simple “you no longer work here.” And that’s no fun for anyone involved.
I think you know the next solution, but we’ll let it remain a surprise, just in case.
- Talk to your employees - regularly.
Once again (say it with me), your employees are people first, and workers last. This means that simply taking five minutes out of your day for a meeting with employees can, more often than not, solve any issues that may arise. Whether it’s an attitude or performance issue, simply taking the time to address employees as people will go quite far in earning you goodwill.
Perhaps more importantly, though, it’ll earn you loyalty. Employees value down-to-earth, human management and will make an effort to stick by managers that do the same - so don’t throw that away.
- Be open to change.
Restaurants are, by their very nature, a revolving door. People come and go, getting a promotion here and a new title there, eventually moving on to other careers. But that doesn’t mean you need to be stuck in the ways of the 90s! Allow your staff options, let them request changes in responsibility, and allow them to try new things. Yes - even if that means re-training them (within reason).
If you find that your server or host is getting burnt out, there are better solutions than simply continuing the problem - let them try out the kitchen or bartending. And on the flip side, allow cooks the opportunity to be a barback or dishwasher once a week (if they want) - empowering employees is not only healthy for them, but healthy for the business, too.
And if you allow your employees the opportunity to adapt and change, they’re more likely to stick with you when things get tough.
When all is said and done, the truth is that restaurant managers are the lifeblood of any eatery. While the other employees make the place tick, without quality restaurant management, it’s only a matter of time before something upsets the balance. Knowing how to go about your day as a manager and, importantly, how to do it consistently will improve your life drastically - but you’re gonna have to figure that out for yourself.
Take the advice we offered today and go make some changes - we’re excited to see where you go next. Looking for more tips on rocking your restaurant work? Make sure to follow our blog; that’s where our experts share their best insights on running a successful restaurant business.