Josh Stone asked:
Even if you’re currently a restaurant’s resident dishwasher, it is still very possible for you to climb the ladder to the very top with hard work, persistence and the right set of skills. A lot of restaurant operators seek people who already have ample experience in nearly all restaurant duties, so if you’ve been rotating on different tasks for the past months or years, you already have one foot in the door.
However, given the present times, most owners are eyeing potential candidates who have formal qualifications to fill supervisory and managerial roles in the company. While experience also carries a lot of weight, job opportunities are likely to be more open and better if you have an associate or bachelor’s degree to your name, particularly those that have something to do with restaurant and institutional food service management.
Understanding Your Work Conditions
A restaurant manager’s daily life is often very hectic and subject to high levels of pressure. Thus, a considerable amount of resilience, stamina and physical, mental and emotional endurance is required of you. Since evenings and weekends are the most busy times for restaurants, you should be prepared to work during late nights and weekends. It is not uncommon for restaurant managers to work for around 50 to 60 hours per week, and you will most likely be the first to arrive and the last to leave everyday.
A restaurant manager’s work hours and job nature are also highly intermittent, as you might have to fill in for an absent employee, no matter what his job designation is, at the last minute. Hence, it is very important that you know all the restaurant’s operations inside out and from top to bottom, as being a restaurant manager does not just mean sitting behind a nice desk and making chitchat with customers. There will be times that you will have to perform all sorts of “dirty work”.
The pressures of making sure everything is in order almost always happen simultaneously with a number of other responsibilities. Whenever there are problems, it will be your duty as restaurant manager to seek a solution with the least possible disruptions to other operations, particularly in the serving of customers. This can be further aggravated by uncooperative and stubborn staff, as well as irate clients. You have to have a lot of patience for this job if you want to pull through sanely and in one piece.
Duties of a Restaurant Manager
A restaurant manager’s daily duties are not to be underestimated. Apart from the usual tasks of selecting what to place on the menu and determining each of their prices, ensuring quality service and proper food preparation and the efficient utilization of supplies, taking responsibility for the rising number of human resource and administrative tasks are also part of the job description.
Typically, the management team is composed of a general manager, one or two assistant managers (depending on the size of the place) and one executive chef, who takes charged of all kitchen operations. Often, in the case of small restaurants, the manager and the executive chef is just one person. In the case of major fast food chains, there are a number of assistant managers to supervise the different shifts.
All of the members of the managerial team should expect to be working from the moment the restaurant opens until it closes at all days of operation. Because a manager is responsible for all, he does not have the liberty to just skip work because he doesn’t feel like going. Restaurant management, though accompanied by considerable perks, is a full service job that requires full time commitment.
Managing the Menu and Supplies
It is a restaurant manager’s job to determine menu items. This is often doen with the help of the executive chef and will be decided on based on the past popularity of certain meals and the likely number of customers who will patronize it. Sometimes, a new dish is introduced in order to accommodate and avoid the wastage of unserved food. How the menu is arranged also depends on what raw ingredients are in season or simply for the sake of variety and novelty.
Managers also review each dish to find out how much it costs to prepare them, taking into consideration certain overhead expenses, to know what price best represents its value. Items on the meu should also be done ahead of time so managers can estimate what supplies are needed and when these should be bought and delivered. Upon delivery, it is the manager’s duty to check the content and evaluate their quality, particularly the meats, fruits, vegetables, fish, baked items and poultry.
Grocery items are not the only supplies that should be monitored. Tableware, linens, cooking supplies, furniture and cleaning materials should also be checked regularly. Waste disposal and pest control should be addressed, as well.
Hiring the Right People
How smoothly a restaurant runs depends a lot on the people who work there. That’s why it is important that managers hire the right people for the job. It is the manager’s responsibility to explain the company’s rules and regulations to all staff members and to provide the training necessary. Employee work schedules are also under his jurisdiction.
Because restaurants at peak hours are considered one of the most stressful working environments in the business world, managers should be able to exercise maximum grace under pressure and handle problems with the least disturbance.
While majority of administrative functions are handled by the bookkeeper, managers should also know how there are run, particularly for smaller restaurants where he might have to do the job himself. Issue like work hours and staff wages, tax and licensing paperwork, payroll, supply and equipment purchases and other disbursements fall under this category. Given a highly technological business environment today, managers will also need to learn how to operate computerized point of sale systems to increase productivity and efficiency. POS systems can help minimize the workload by automatically talling sales, supplies and ranking which dishes on the menu are the most popular among clients.
Training to be a Restaurant Manager
Given the multitude of responsibilities managers face each day, it is important that he is well equipped to handle the job. Colleges and universities offer two to four-year programs on restaurant related subjects like food technology, nutrition, food planning and preparation, accounting, even restaurant and hotel management itself.
The demands of the times today do not only call for a vast experience on the business, but also the adequate formal and technical know-how in order to grow safely with the changes and industry advances.
To further bolster you chances of becoming a restaurant manager, you might want to acquire a certification as a Foodservice Management Professional from the Educational Foundation of the National Restaurant Association. This can be obtained after you’ve successfully completed a series of food service management related courses, passed a written test, and met certain minimum requirements pertaining to performance and experience.