Restaurants wouldn’t be anywhere without the chefs and kitchen staff who actually prepare the food for customers to eat. However, people’s dining experiences are not only enhanced by the tasty morsels which they place in their mouths.
Good food which is eaten in a poorly-run restaurant is still likely to leave a bad taste in the mouth. Consequently, restaurants need restaurant managers to make sure that everything runs smoothly and all the customers leave happy and satisfied.
Essentially, restaurant managers’ core duties and responsibilities revolve around three objectives: customer satisfaction, profitability and efficiency.
If you enter this profession, you’ll be managing restaurant staff, leading training exercises, conducting performance appraisals and organising staff rotas. Furthermore, you’ll be interacting with customers, ensuring the highest standards of service are maintained and resolving any issues as soon as they arise.
As a restaurant manager, you’ll also be responsible for making sure all activities within the restaurant comply with statutory and regulatory requirements pertaining to hygiene, cleanliness and health and safety. Moreover, you’ll be checking inventory levels and ordering new supplies as and when required.
Your range of duties will also extend to back-office functions. For instance, you’ll be responsible for maintaining accurate financial records. This will include the reconciliation of cash and card transactions and managing the distribution of staff tips.
Finally, your quest to increase profitability will require you to develop and devise innovative promotions and events, such as food festivals and happy hours, in order to develop new business and boost interest in your establishment. You may also implement food and drink deals, which are targeted at specific customer groups, e.g. lunch deals for business people.
Salary & benefits
Starting salaries for restaurant managers range between £18,000 and £22,000, while managers with more experience can earn around £25,000 to £40,000 per annum.
Typically, salaries are higher for restaurant managers working in high-end restaurants. Performance-based bonuses are also common.
Budding restaurant managers shouldn’t expect a nine-to-five schedule. Your working hours are entirely dependent on the restaurant’s opening times. Some establishments are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Consequently, you will most likely work on a shift basis.
A typical working day requires the restaurant manager to be available well in advance of the restaurant’s opening time and to stay long after it closes. Managers in large restaurants which are open all day may even work ‘split shifts’ ( i.e. working two shifts in a single day).
A degree or diploma in hotel management, restaurant management, hospitality management or business studies may boost your chances of securing a position.
However, it’s also possible to become a restaurant manager without formal academic qualifications. For instance, you could start as general staff member and work your way up into a restaurant manager role off the back of your performance and experience.
All restaurant managers must have a decent amount of relevant work experience before applying.
Training & progression
‘On-the-job’ training is the norm. However, some large restaurant chains or franchise-based operations may offer structured training schemes, which run over a period of 12–24 months.
In either case, the focus of the training will be on providing practical work experience in each functional area, including front-of-house operations, procurement, supply chain management, staff management and financial administration.
Career progression is mainly determined by professional experience and additional qualifications. Becoming a member of a relevant professional organisation, such as the Institute of Hospitality or the British Hospitality Association (BHA), can also be useful.
As you move up the career ladder within a restaurant chain, you may become the area manager for a range of restaurants across a specific region.
Some restaurant managers also eventually open their own independent restaurants.