So, you work in a restaurant. You get along with your coworkers. You even enjoy your career so far, but you’re ready for a change of pace, a bit more responsibility. Have you ever considered a restaurant manager position? If so, you’re probably asking yourself where to start.
First, you need to know the duties of a restaurant manager so you can determine if it’s something you want to do. Next, (assuming you’re still interested, of course), you’ll want to build up qualities that will help you in your desired new role. Then you need to know what skills to hone and list on your resume. Finally, you may want to look at helpful restaurant management software along the way.
What does a restaurant manager do?
Managers have one of the more difficult roles in a restaurant because they check on everything and everyone, everywhere. Restaurant managers oversee the staff hiring process. This includes both customer-facing and the behind-the-scenes crew members. They make sure staff get enough training. They take care of schedules and payroll. They oversee and enforce company rules and policies. Part of this likely includes keeping everything legal, ethical, and up to code. They keep the restaurant stocked from top to bottom. They mediate between customers and staff as necessary. They may even help with revamping menus (with the aid of their chefs, of course).
In short, a successful restaurant manager will keep business running smoothly and profitably. Be prepared for a challenging but rewarding experience if this is what you’re after.
What qualities or traits do I need to be a restaurant manager?
Most important of all, a successful manager must want to be one. Otherwise, you, your team, your customers, and your restaurant will suffer. Here are a few other important traits to have:
1. Positive attitude
2. Stamina and endurance
This one relates to the desire to actually serve as a restaurant manager. By nature, the restaurant industry is brutal. It’s hard to be resilient and to keep a positive attitude in such a demanding environment. No one can do so 100% of the time. Yet the more positive you can be, the better experiences you, your customers, and your staff will share.
Stamina and Endurance
A successful restaurant manager is always on their toes, ready at a pin drop to be wherever they’re needed. This requires a great deal of physical ability, day in and day out. Often, restaurants have hard, carpet-less floors to walk across and stand on for long periods at a time. Managers balance multiple tasks all day. This can be both physically and emotionally draining. On longer or busier days, it gets even worse.
Humility is particularly helpful because it enables powerful leadership and communication skills. When you’re humble, people recognize you want to help them. In turn, they reflect respect and humility back to you (in most cases anyway). When you’re humble, it also fosters a culture of willingness to be vulnerable, to ask for help and to admit mistakes. People who learn from mistakes are constantly learning. This can only drive consistently better results and better customer satisfaction.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. No one can predict or prevent all problems. It’s impossible. That said, proactivity is not just good for preventing problems. It also helps you set higher standards for your team. When customers are more satisfied, only then is stress reduced, for everyone.
You’re always being watched. As the adage goes, people pay attention more to what you do than what you say. If you say one thing then do another thing, your team–and customers–will pick up on it. If you cut corners, your team likely will, too. The more consistent you are with standards of excellence, the better it will go for everyone.
What skills should I list on my restaurant manager resume?
When it comes to building out the restaurant skills for your resume, focus on the job description. The hiring manager listed specific desired restaurant manager skills and traits. Make sure you showcase verifiable experience that used those skills wherever possible.
We have compiled two restaurant manager skills lists for you. One has the more common, preferred skills. The other has less obvious skills that will give you a competitive advantage.
Common Restaurant Manager Skills
Although far from exhaustive, this list includes some of the most important:
1. Experience (especially management/restaurant industry related)
3. Creativity and diplomacy
5. Flexibility and adaptability
Experience, informal or formal
Whether it’s actual on-the-job experience or a formal industry-related degree, the first thing employers look for is a candidate’s level of experience. Proven experience of successful customer interactions in an actual restaurant will often trump a degree. Still, it couldn’t hurt to have both.
Verbal, non-verbal, and interpersonal communication skills are crucial in a restaurant. I could write an entire article on this. There will be times where either saying the wrong thing or saying something in the wrong way can blow up in your face. Orders, platters, and customers come and go non-stop. You need to communicate well with your team or someone is going to get the wrong order and is not going to be happy about it. Then there’s communication with vendors and third parties. One misstep and your cook doesn’t have the ingredients you need for the day. On the flip side of all these, by having excellent communication skills, you can provide an above-and-beyond dining experience.
Creativity and diplomacy
In today’s world, creativity and diplomacy are not just a bonus—they’re a must. One restaurant faced severe consequences for not emphasizing these skills. On the flip side, one local Domino’s saved a loyal customer’s life. How staff handle problems says volumes about the restaurant itself—not to mention the manager running it. Cancel culture will tenderize a restaurant’s reputation faster than a chef can tenderize meat. There are bound to be conflicts in such a fast-paced, high-stress environment. Managers must be ready to respond diplomatically.
You know a good leader when you see one. The best leaders are active listeners. They’re positive, reliable, likable, teachable, persuasive, charismatic, optimistic, open, inclusive, and so much more. They have vision. They care about their teams, and it shows. Obtaining quality leadership skills takes time and practice but they are well worth your while.
Flexibility and adaptability
No one likes to work under an excessively dogmatic manager. When you are open, willing to adapt, and embrace innovation, you delight both customers and staff. Also, you are more able to improve the restaurant’s bottom line when you listen to and sift through ideas, suggestions, and complaints.
Whether it’s project management, time management, or record keeping, managers cannot afford to waste resources with poor organization. Everything must be tracked, and tracked well, or profits will go out the window. Likewise, customers weigh in on every detail, every moment, every decision made that pertains to their dining experience. Established procedures allow staff to handle problems smoothly and in the moment. Keeping inventory full and books balanced helps bring in measurable profit. You can’t serve what you don’t have, after all. Owners need to be able to see what is going on immediately at all times. Organized business practices and resources facilitate that. It may seem like a small matter, but the more organized you are, the better your restaurant performs and the better you look to your boss.
Bonus restaurant manager skills that will give you the edge:
These skills are sometimes overlooked, but equally important:
1. Sales and profit-minded
2. Business sense
3. Relationship building
Sales-Minded and Profitable Thinking
These go hand in hand. More sales means more revenue and profit (as long as the restaurant is running well, that is. And under your leadership, it will be). It may seem counterintuitive, but restaurants are all about sales. Yes, having more customers helps, but upselling can also drive profits upward when done right. If you can show a potential employer how you are going to increase their bottom line, you could be hired on the spot.
Knowing how business in general works is great because that’s essentially what you’re doing as a restaurant manager. Business sense means you understand how markets work. It means you observe potential customers in your market. It means you should also be aware of and be observing your competitors. It means you are knowledgeable about marketing and can attract more business. If you constantly evaluate your business and that of your competitors, you can bring in more customers and enhance profitability.
People love it when others that they see often remember their name and things about them. If you can build customer relationships easily, they are more likely to be repeat customers–and repeat referrers.
Nowadays, technology is everywhere. Customers love to interact with their favorite restaurants via apps, websites, and other technology. Companies who don’t implement as much technology are missing out on extra business. Let’s just say your restaurant already uses technology. If you either already understand how to use it or can learn quickly, your future boss will love you.
Closing thoughts on restaurant management skills
Restaurant management does require a lot, but when done right, it is a rewarding role. If you think you’ve got the restaurant manager skills you need, go for it! And if you’re looking for technology help along the way, we have a solution that’s perfect for you. Best of luck in your quest! We know you’ll be a smashing success!