A Taste of Restaurant Management
A career as a restaurant manager is diverse, exciting, and fast-paced. The restaurant depends on the resourceful, flexible candidate, who is organized, composed, and prepared for any situation. The work can be difficult and demanding, but bringing your team through the trials yields an unparalleled sense of satisfaction.
The job requires team-work and communication, but ultimately, the success of the restaurant is in your hands. This remains as true for a small, independent restaurant as it does for a bustling franchise like the Church Street Keg Restaurant in Toronto.
"You wear a great deal of hats on any given day," says the Keg General Manager, Shawn Cuthbertson, "Accountant, Purchasing Director, Sales Manager, Human Resource Administrator, Trainer, Coach, Plumber, Electrician, Motivator, and Event Co-coordinator."
The tables are set, the staff has been prepared and set in motion, the kitchen is a flurry of carefully organized activity, and the restaurant manager stands ready to orchestrate a path through the daily symphony of challenges and successes.
All in a Day's Work: Responsibilities of the Job
By the time the doors open for the day, the restaurant manager's work is already well underway. A vast myriad of interesting tasks are completed and woven together into the detailed tapestry of a smooth running and efficient restaurant:
- Restaurant managers may be responsible for planning, sampling, and evaluating new dishes with the chef.
- Supply requirements must be estimated and ordered from distributors.
- Equipment repair and maintenance must be organized with contractors.
- Restaurant managers ensure compliance with health and safety regulations.
- They develop marketing strategies and monitor the success of ad campaigns.
Many other challenges await the enterprising restaurant manager as well, but the most important of any of these tasks is managing your employees. Like many hospitality jobs, foodservice jobs require extensive teamwork. The success of your team will determine the success of your restaurant and you are their coach.
A restaurant manager is responsible for hiring, training, mentoring, motivating, and scheduling the staff. Developing a strong work ethic, motivation, and drive for customer satisfaction in your employees can be one of the most challenging, but also the most rewarding aspects of the job.
Learn from your Customers
At the end of the night, it all comes down to one thing: customer satisfaction. The restaurant manager is called in to mediate any situations that may arise with the customers and this is the ultimate opportunity to demonstrate quality leadership to the restaurant and your own personal skill as a professional representative of your restaurant.
A calm, composed voice is often enough to defuse a situation. Be sure to listen to your customers, whether they have praise or complaints, as complaints can be an excellent source of information on areas of your strategy that could use some review. However, in situations where your staff may be at fault, be supportive and avoid blame. Maintaining a happy, confident staff will be as valuable in guaranteeing customer satisfaction in the future as solving the current issue.
Diverse Opportunities Await
Whether you are an experienced restaurant manager or you are just getting started on your career path, there are a wide variety of opportunities open to you. Economic projections indicate that steady growth is expected for all hospitality jobs over the next decade and restaurant jobs are no exception. Combined with an aging work force, the growing industry will permit experienced restaurant managers to advance their careers and new restaurant managers to find a position that fits their lifestyle.
You will have the opportunity to strive for culinary excellence in fine dining, manage your own inviting family restaurant, or choose from a host of other options, as varied as the plates you will be offering.
As with a lot of hospitality positions you have the skills to work in a variety of locations in many different environments. "The workload is diverse and the skills are interchangeable", Keg General Manager, Shawn Cuthbertson says, "There are opportunities everywhere."
There are two paths to becoming a restaurant manager. You can rise to the management level through experience gained at a foodservice job, or through education at one of the many colleges and universities that offer degrees or certifications in restaurant and foodservice management. However, experience and education are just a start. When Shawn Cuthbertson conducts a restaurant interview, he is looking for a spark, "While experience is relevant, it is not the greatest determining factor for me. Enthusiasm and passion for the business are crucial. I look for high-energy individuals who are very at ease with people. A willingness to learn and the ability to multitask are crucial for success."
If you have a passion for teamwork, learning, organization, and the fast-paced lifestyle of the restaurant floor, then you are ready for a rewarding career in restaurant management.