7 skills you simply must have to succeed as a restaurant manager
Managing a restaurant may not be at the top of the list when it comes to demanding and exciting careers. But successful restaurant managers have racked up years of experience and have a surprising number of skills. If you are serious about making it to the top in the restaurant management business, here are 7 must-have skills you’ll need to make the grade.
Communication with customers and staff is critical to the day-to-day smooth running of most businesses, but it is a particularly essential skill in the restaurant and hospitality business. Restaurant customers, don’t only want great food, they want exceptional service too. Your interaction with customers will be part of the customer experience and will impact on building a loyal customer base.
Great communication builds from your relationship with your staff. Verbally thanking staff for putting in extra hours, or communicating directly with the team about menu changes will create an environment of open communication. This has a knock-on effect with how your employees communicate with the customers. Lead by example and your communication skills will filter down.
Managing any business to success with multiple staff requires great leadership. The perfect restaurant manager needs to be able to motivate, organize, set standards, and lead with a can-do attitude. Pitching in as part of the team when necessary is essential.
A true leader also needs to be able to adapt. You will come face to face with all sorts of people and all sorts of problems. Quick thinking and the ability to take decisive action (even if it turns out to be wrong) is better than doing nothing. So you have to be prepared to make mistakes, learn from them and move on quickly.
As we touched on, without fantastic organisation skills, you won’t be able to manage your staff. You need to be able to multi-task, stay on top of finances and inventory and organize everything from staff to housekeeping to building maintenance.
Your ability to recruit and train hospitality staff will also be tested. Great results will obviously pay dividends with your customer orientated staff, and employee retention rates.
Stay calm in a crisis
There are bound to be hiccoughs with the occasional angry customer, botched deliveries and the odd staffing crisis. You will need to keep a cool head, deal with anything that comes your way and most importantly always see problems as having solutions.
Remaining impartial and seeking an agreeable outcome is a necessary skill. You’ll need to act with confidence and make difficult decisions as required. Most of all you don’t want customers spreading bad publicity about you. Always be polite. Do whatever you can to satisfy the customer or put out the fire and move on.
Know your figures
You will need to be a number cruncher. There’s no getting around it. Cash flow in the restaurant business is crucial, as you’ll need to bring in fresh food on a daily basis and keep up with rent, utilities and payroll. If the money runs out, you won’t have a restaurant to manage so this is a critical element to your position.
To keep a healthy cash flow, you’ll need to be able to budget, quickly adapt as food prices change, and keep a low and tight inventory to avoid spoilage.
Engage with technology
In the modern world you’ll need to engage with new technology if you are to stay ahead of the game. More and more customers want to be able to book a table online or through an app. Your website presence has never been more important. It’s not necessary for you to design and update your own website, but you may want to engage in how the interface works, the style and maybe contribute to a blog for fresh content.
On a staffing level using technology to manage rotas and HR makes good business sense. It will save you oodles of time and make sure you have staffing levels covered. The online staff rota Planday offers is ideal solution for the restaurant business.
The day in the life of a restaurant manager means many long hours. You will be at work before you open and long after your last customer leaves each day. Working in and managing a restaurant is physically demanding work. You’ll be on the go for long stretches at a time and stepping in with table service and kitchen work when necessary. Mentally, you will be planning ahead, and emotionally you will be engaging with customers and dealing with staff. The hours and the demands can take their toll if you don’t look after yourself.
While restaurant management or ownership is not for everyone, for those who enjoy cooking and thrive on hard work, providing excellent customer service and who like a good challenge, it can be just the choice for you. Be sure to communicate, lead, stay organized and take care of yourself and you should be a terrific restaurant manager and be on your way to opening a restaurant of your own should you choose to.