In this post, we will explore the restaurant manager job description, duties, training, and outlook. A restaurant manager oversees the day-to-day operations of a food service establishment. They have many different duties, because they have to ensure good customer service, maintain food quality and safety, purchase the right amounts of ingredients, hire and fire workers, and more.
A restaurant manager might work in one location of a big chain or in a one-off restaurant. They could be the only manager on staff or be part of a team, in which case they would work only certain days of the week, in certain shifts, covering just part of the operations of the restaurant.
Job Overview: What Does A Restaurant Manager Do?
A restaurant manager has to balance the front of the house, which is the customer experience, with the back of the house, which is the kitchen and food preparation area. Each of these has quite different tasks and challenges.
A restaurant manager can expect a median pay of about $43,892 a year, but that will be far higher at luxury restaurants. It is possible to get a job as a restaurant manager without a college degree.
Restaurant Manager Job Duties
- Direct front of house staff to create a positive customer experience and a strong atmosphere in accordance with the theme of the restaurant.
- Oversee back of house staff in food safety, quality, cost, and consistency.
- Make decisions about hiring, firing, and maintaining morale and discipline for all staff.
- Decide on food purchases and deliveries to minimize waste and cost without compromising on quality.
- Ensure compliance with safety and health laws for the local jurisdiction.
- Create shifts and schedules, and manage payroll for all staff members.
- Speak with customers about complaints and feedback related to their experience.
Restaurant Manager Job Essential Skills
Adaptability. A restaurant manager will work in an extremely fast-paced environment, and problems can arise very quickly. A good manager has the ability to respond to a crisis and give the right response immediately.
Business knowledge. A restaurant manager has to make business decisions about staffing and costs, so they need to understand these business concepts, as well as be able to apply them to their specific situation.
Toughness. A restaurant is a high-pressure business with angry customers, demanding bosses, sometimes unreliable staff, and long shifts. One important requirement in the restaurant manager job description is for the manager to be able to endure these.
Becoming a Restaurant Manager
Becoming a restaurant manager has more to do with education now than in the past. The higher-end the restaurant, the more likely they are to want a college degree or even an MBA. Many colleges offer courses and degrees in hospitality and food service management.
Qualifications and Training
A restaurant manager does not need to have any licenses or certifications. As mentioned above, more upscale restaurants require more education, but the mid-range and lower ones often ask for no more than a high school diploma.
It is also often possible to take classes while working to complete a degree or to get important coursework done. This can make you a potentially more attractive hire, and line cooks and other staff might be able to earn a promotion to restaurant manager this way.
Work experience, recommendations, and networking are very important for restaurant managers. It is harder to get hired without at least some experience. Culinary arts or hospitality management programs often have some form of internship or other way to get work experience. This will provide a significant boost to finding an initial job.
Working is as much about making connections with staff, owners, and suppliers, as it is about getting immersed in the restaurant work environment, but both are important. Every restaurant has their own business practices, but some things stay the same, like health and safety rules, payroll conventions, and so on.
The working hours for a restaurant manager can be hard. They need to arrive very early in the shift and leave late to oversee opening and closing the restaurant, or managing shift handoffs. This can mean a dinner shift that begins early in the afternoon and extends until a few hours past midnight, for example, or a breakfast and lunch shift that starts at 5 or 6 a.m. and and runs until the middle of the afternoon.
The manager usually has to be on their feet for an entire shift, with possible brief moments working on a computer.
Job Outlook & Advancement Opportunities
The career path for a restaurant manager typically involves moving to higher-paying positions at other restaurants, rather than moving up within a corporate hierarchy. This is true for positions at both independent restaurants and chains. Corporate-style promotions are slightly more likely at big companies, but still not common.
As a restaurant manager builds experience and a network of connections with upper management, owners, and chefs, they will find out when new restaurants or positions open up, and they will be able to make inquiries in advance to get an inside track on the job.
In some cases, if there are multiple managers working in one restaurant, the one that performs the best might get the most favorable or highest-paying spot. The key is to make a good impression, so that recommendations can accompany applications. Being connected to good chefs and wait staff is also a significant perk valued on the job market.
A restaurant manager faces a stressful job, but also has the opportunity to make a restaurant environment their own. The possibility of working in a high-end restaurant is quite alluring for many people, and those jobs tend to be competitive.
On the other hand, the long hours and tough environment in the restaurant manager job description can be very difficult to handle for people who are not prepared for it. Relevant coursework in college can help open up more opportunities, but good work experience and recommendations are often enough to open doors. A restaurant manager has to be ready to put in long and tough hours, especially at first.