A restaurant manager works behind the scenes to ensure patrons are happy and everything is running smoothly. They may not be directly involved in the restaurant's cooking, serving or bartending, but they do work with all of these parties to keep the establishment running like a well-oiled machine.
What Does a Restaurant Manager Do?
Managers are actively involved in a restaurant's day-to-day operations. They oversee staff, make sure that things are being done properly, and that the restaurant is running on-budget. They are the go-to person for any issue staff or customers may have.
Typical Restaurant Manager Duties and Responsibilities
Restaurant manager duties may vary from one establishment to the next, but common daily duties include:
Like other management positions, restaurant managers are in charge of overseeing staff. Managers may be responsible for:
- Hiring and firing employees
- Training new staff
- Managing employee schedules
- Handling employee complaints, questions and time-off requests
When employees have questions, complaints or other issues they need to discuss, the restaurant manager is their go-to contact.
Ordering and Managing Inventory
One of the duties of a restaurant manager is to order and manage the restaurant's inventory. It's their job to ensure that the kitchen is stocked with all of the necessary ingredients, to-go boxes, cups cutlery and dinnerware, etc.
In some cases, the manager may delegate an employee to oversee the day-to-day management of the inventory, but they still keep a watchful eye over things.
Restaurant managers may also be in charge of or involved in the restaurant's marketing. Depending on the size of the establishment, the manager may be in charge of:
- Managing social media accounts
- Overseeing Yelp, TripAdvisor and Google My Business accounts
- Ordering brochures
- Managing online and print advertisements
- Scheduling and planning events, such as live music and celebrations
Managers may hire third parties to carry out some of these tasks, or they handle everything themselves.
Arranging Private Special Events
Many restaurants host private special events, such as birthday parties, anniversary parties, and rehearsal dinners. When customers want to host their event at a restaurant, they typically deal with the manager to make these arrangements.
Handling Financial Matters
Most restaurants have accountants, but the manager is still actively involved in the establishment's budget and financial matters. Part of this responsibility is keeping an eye on the cost of:
The manager's goal is to ensure that the restaurant operates within its allotted budget.
Being a restaurant manager also means being the face of the restaurant. If customers have a complaint, question or problem, they speak with the manager.
Bar Manager Duties and Responsibilities
Some restaurants have a bar manager in addition to a general manager. A bar manager's duties are narrower in scope, but equally important.
Their responsibilities may include:
Bar Staff Management
Bar managers may be responsible for hiring, training and scheduling bartenders. They'll also oversee drink preparation, answer staff questions and assign duties.
Managers are responsible for securing and adhering to the requirements of the restaurant's liquor license. It's also their job to make sure that patrons are of legal drinking age and to cut customers off when they've had too much to drink.
When training staff, bar managers will teach employees how to notice the signs of intoxication, when to call police for assistance in removing a patron, and when to call a cab instead of allowing a
Bar Inventory Management
Bar managers are also in charge of overseeing the bar's inventory. If inventory is running low or missing, there may be an issue with theft or staff over-pouring drinks. Managers ensure the bar is stocked and maintain ties with vendors to secure contracts and get deals.
Planning Promotional Events
If the bar is a big source of business, the bar manager may plan and arrange promotional events, like trivia nights, for slow evenings. They may also be involved in social media marketing for the restaurant's bar events.
Bar managers also provide customer service. They interact with patrons and get to know their regulars. Learning names and drink preferences helps patrons feel valued and increases the chances of them becoming regulars. Managers also handle customer complaints or questions.
Restaurant Manager Skills
Restaurant manager responsibilities may vary from one establishment to the next, but most managers possess a certain set of skills that help them succeed.
Good restaurant manager skills include:
The manager oversees the entire restaurant and its staff. To keep things running smoothly, managers must have excellent communication skills.
Successful restaurant managers:
- Actively listen to staff and customers
- Receive and act on feedback
- Provide constructive feedback
Managers must communicate clear and achievable expectations for staff, and recognize staff members when they do a good job.
Managers are in the "people" business, meaning they spend a lot of time delegating tasks, solving staff problems, assisting patrons and dealing with vendors. They may also be responsible for hiring, firing and training staff. A successful, likeable manager has excellent people skills.
Organization and Time Management
Managers have a lot on their plate, so they must be organized and use their time wisely. They may create a restaurant manager opening and closing checklist, or use software to keep better track of the restaurant's inventory. Good managers will use all of the tools at their disposal to stay organized and make sure that everything gets done.
Problem-solving is one of the most important restaurant management skills. Problems will arise every day that need to be solved quickly and immediately. The best managers can find creative and mutually-beneficial solutions to keep restaurants running smoothly.
One of the glaring signs of a bad restaurant manager is a complete lack of awareness of the restaurant's bottom line. Yes, managers need good customer service skills, but they also need to keep the restaurant's budget in mind. Comping meals and drinks for regulars may be okay on occasion, but doing it regularly will only have a detrimental effect on the restaurant's bottom line.
Eager to Learn and Improve
Successful managers are always learning something new and looking for ways to improve. They'll read books and attend seminars on how to be a better restaurant manager. They will research and find new ways to streamline and optimize operations.
The best restaurant managers will always find room for improvement and be eager to improve their skills.
How to Find a Restaurant Manager
Hiring a restaurant manager is no easy task, nor is it something that should be taken lightly. The responsibilities of a restaurant manager are wide and varied. Whomever is hired must be prepared to take on these duties and everything that comes along with front of house roles and responsibilities.
Ideally, you would hire someone with restaurant kitchen management experience. Hiring someone with experience may make restaurant manager training much quicker and easier. They already know and understand what's expected of them and what the job entails.
But you may prefer to promote from within. There are many benefits to going this route. The person you promote may not have technical managerial experience, but they will already have a good understanding of the restaurant's day-to-day operations. This, too, can help move the training process along quickly. That person will also have established relationships with staff, which may make the transition easier.
Finding a good restaurant manager will take time, and it's not something that you should rush. Consider the skills listed above and the duties you want your manager to carry out. Be clear about expectations and responsibilities, and appreciate all that your manager does to keep your establishment running smoothly.