Restaurant management is a difficult task. The long hours, hectic atmosphere and constant interaction – often in tight spaces – are suited to specific personality types and characteristics.
Successful restaurant leaders exemplify a variety of management skills. Whether you’re a restaurant owner looking to hire a new manager, or a restaurant manager who wants to get things right, keep an eye out for these seven must-have qualities:
1. Physical stamina – Opening a restaurant early in the morning and staying past closing time takes a toll on the body and mind. Effective restaurant managers can work on their feet for long periods of time and balance multiple physically demanding jobs, from helping out in the kitchen to clearing tables.
2. Upbeat attitude – One of the most important attributes for restaurateurs is a positive attitude. The manager’s demeanour sets the tone for employee behaviour and impacts diner happiness. If you don’t love what you do, or aren’t passionate about food and customer service, running a strong business won’t come easy.
3. Consistency – In restaurants, where no two days are exactly the same, managers need to be models of stability. Internally, consistent communication and expectation-setting encourages staff loyalty and retention. Externally, it’s the manager’s job to ensure reliable service and quality for customers.
4. Problem-solving skills – Despite the best intentions, few days in the restaurant business are free of operational hiccups. Restaurant management requires fast thinking and quick solutions, whether faced with a dissatisfied customer, a delayed delivery driver or inventory shortage.
5. Customer service savvy – Restaurants are filled with unpredictable customer interactions: diners with multiple dietary restrictions, last-minute group reservations, late-night eaters who place orders 10 minutes before closing. Qualified leaders handle these scenarios – and make most business decisions –with customer satisfaction in mind. More importantly, they strive to instil the same values in their staff.
6. Proactive – Smart restaurant management is all about planning ahead. Organised managers take account of inventory, menu updates, marketing campaigns and staffing needs as far in advance as possible to avoid last-minute chaos.
7. Innovative – Along with being proactive, restaurant managers should be open to new ideas and ways to improve their operations. Whether it’s adapting to emerging consumer trends (e.g., locally sourced ingredients, smaller portions) or adopting technology to simplify the customer experience, great managers embrace innovation in order to keep their restaurants competitive.