We all remember the best managers we’ve worked under. Equally, we remember those who caused nothing but problems.

If you’re a restaurant manager, which of the two would you rather be?

Managing a team in a busy (or quiet, for that matter) restaurant is very hard work indeed, and can test the patience of even the strongest, most level-headed individuals. As the manager, you’ll need to inspire staff, delight customers and keep a close eye on profitability.

You’re capable of being that manager – we all are – but we think there’s six characteristics that set brilliant managers apart from the rest.

1. Business nous

Wonderful food, unforgettable surroundings and attentive staff are all elements of a successful restaurant, but they’re nothing without a manager who has a solid grip on the business side of the operation.

You need to be ‘business aware’ as a restaurant manager, which means maintaining a close eye on the bottom line. Too many extravagant special offers or neglected raw ingredient costs will quickly spiral out of control and result in damaged profitability. It’s therefore the manager’s job to keep on top of everything that impacts that all-important bottom line.

2. Ability to problem solve

Restaurants are live business environments; anything can happen at any given time, and not always with the nicest results.

The freezer suddenly breaking down, a serious health incident on table three or the dawning realisation that a member of staff might be helping themselves to some of the takings are all examples of events that will cause serious problems for the business.

A brilliant restaurant manager will be able to tackle anything unexpected or undesirable pragmatically and without looking for the easy way out.

3. Consistency

As restaurant manager, you need to be approachable and treat every member of staff or customer in a consistent manner.

No one likes inconsistency in management; people need to know where they stand and feel safe in the knowledge that they can approach the person above them whenever they need to.

“My door is always open,” should be a literal statement – not a figurative one.

4. Faultless communication skills

Inexperienced managers often assume their job involves more talking than it does listening, but the opposite is true. The 80/20 rule absolutely applies in restaurant management when it comes to communication; staff should always be allowed to have their say and get stuff off their chest.

As the manager, you’ll need to lend that all-important ear when someone has a query about their role or a misdemeanour to report. Equally, you’ll need to be able to communicate shift instructions and news about the business in a manner that is engaging, positive and inspiring.

5. Proactive planning

From menu choices to rota scheduling, restaurant management demands a proactive mindset.

Leaving those vital jobs until the last minute will only end in disaster, which is why the best managers are relentlessly proactive planners. They’ll leave no stone unturned and won’t be satisfied until everything is planned right down to the smallest detail, no matter how long it takes to do so.

6. Passion for customer service

You could have the best chef on the planet, but if customer service is either lacking or non-existent, the restaurant won’t stand a chance of surviving.

The restaurant industry is fiercely competitive, and that has quite rightly placed a renewed focus on customer service. Add to that the presence of review sites such as TripAdvisor, and the modern restaurant manager needs to have a burning, unrelenting passion for customer service to keep customers coming back for more.

Wrapping up

Some people are born with a natural ability to carry out the skills outlined above, but most of us have to work at it if we’re to wake the brilliant restaurant manager that rests within.

What defined your favourite manager? Tell us, by joining in the discussion below!

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