How to be a successful Restaurant Manager

restaurant managerHow to be a successful restaurant manager? What does a restaurant manager do? What skills are needed? A lot of waiters are asking these questions, anxious to make the next career move and become restaurant managers themselves. We try to answer all the questions and give you some tips on how to become a restaurant manager and be successful.

The restaurant manager job description is as follows:

- Hiring new employees - this is crucial. Finding the right people will make the difference between being successful and fail!

- Ensuring all staff complies with company policies - you can have a great team, but if you don't control their performance daily, those people will start finding shortcuts and skipping essential steps. This is a recipe for disaster.

- Training the team to follow the restaurant procedures - it is essential to train your staff to ensure high-quality service for your guests. Training takes time and costs money; therefore, we have developed free online training classes at The Waiter's Academy. We help restaurants train their waiters for free.

- Maintaining safety and food quality standards - HACCP will help you prevent food poisoning, work accidents, guests complaints. One mistake like that sometimes could cost dearly!

- Keeping customers happy and handling complaints - a manager should be aware at any moment of how the guests are feeling inside the restaurant. It would help if you stopped by every table. Inquire about the quality of the food, the satisfaction of the service, and even the restaurant's ambiance. Try to make every guest feels special.

- Organizing schedules - schedule is proven to be a difficult task. Pay attention to the busy days and hours, try to accommodate reasonable requests from waiters for days off and vacations. 

- Coordinating daily restaurant management operations includes all activities involved in food preparation, customer service, cleaning, purchasing raw materials, accounting, reporting, printing menus, wine cellar, etc. These are tedious tasks and often overlooked because of a busy schedule.

- Regularly review product quality and research new vendors - cost control and profitability are some of the essential tasks of a restaurant manager. You need to stay informed and always find new vendors who offer better products and better prices.

- Appraise staff performance and provide feedback to improve productivity - as a manager, you will have to address all the weaknesses your waiters have and try to help them improve. It would be best if you also pointed the positives you see in their performance.

- Keeping track of employees' hours (time management)

- Recording payroll data

- Ordering food, linens, gloves, and other supplies while staying within budget limitations (cost control)

- Promote the brand in the local community through word-of-mouth and restaurant events




Restaurant Manager Skills - as you see the job of the restaurant manager is not easy. To be a successful manager, you need to develop a lot of skills. Here we will discuss those manager skills and how to acquire them:


1. Communication - a large part of the managers' job is to communicate with guests, employees, and business associates. Therefore, communication skills are crucial for you. However, excellent communication doesn't always mean speaking to someone; sometimes, listening is more important. According to research conducted by the International Conference on Arts, Behavioral Sciences and Economics Issues: Good communication gives the feeling of belonging and a sense of partnership with employees working in the organization. When employees feel they have been heard and can communicate with their supervisors at any time, they feel more a part of a group and are more motivated to work.⁶

  • Clear communication is critical in restaurants, where the pace is quick and the stress levels run high.

  2. Leadership skills - strong leadership skills will help you foster a friendly, team-oriented environment. Your team will be able to achieve its goals, and you will reduce the turnover significantly. But what are those leadership skills that everyone is talking about?

  • Empathy
  • Patience
  • Decisiveness - Effective leaders are those who can make decisions quickly with the information they have. Effective decision-making comes with time and experience. As you become more familiar with your specific industry, you'll be able to make decisions faster, even when you don't have all of the necessary information. Decisiveness is a valuable leadership skill because it can help move projects along faster and improve efficiency. - Effective decisiveness requires research, evaluation, problem-solving, and goal-setting, often with a quick turnaround. Decision-makers should be able to pull from their own experience with similar tasks, evaluate what might work best, make the decision and be confident in taking responsibility for the result. Skills related to being a strong leader through decisiveness include problem-solving and initiative.
  • Problem-solving
  • Ability to listen
  • Ability to explain - one skill that differentiates leadership from many other competencies is teaching and mentoring. Effectively teaching colleagues or direct reports to grow in their careers helps organizations scale. Often, this skill requires that leaders think less about themselves and more about how to make their team as a whole successful.
  • Integrity - integrity is often seen as just truthfulness or honesty, but in many cases, it also means having and standing by a set of strong values. Integrity in the workplace often means making ethical choices and helping the company maintain a positive image. All businesses seek to hire workers who have a strong sense of integrity. Having a person of integrity as a leader not only encourages the most truthful and fair practice and outcome; it also sets a strong and positive example to your team. A leader with integrity also shows the following skills: diplomacy, ethics, reliability, professionalism, confidentiality, and honesty.
  • Mentoring
  • Reliability
  • Dependability - being a dependable leader means that people can trust and rely on you. A dependable person follows through on plans and keeps promises. The strong relationships built by such a leader create a resilient team that can work through difficulties. Being trustworthy means meeting deadlines, being straightforward, coming through on obligations. Then, when you can't meet a promise or a goal, communicating this early on and having a backup plan.
  • Positive attitude - It's also important for restaurant managers to keep a positive outlook on the job. In his book, The Positive Leader, former Microsoft Europe Chairman Jan Mühlfeit emphasizes the power of positive psychology in motivating a team:

restaurant manager fake smile

"Positive psychology is not plastering a cheesy smile on your face and making half-attempts to look on the bright side and be nice to people in the office. Instead, it's about fostering a mindset and workplace culture. That's proven to fuel greater success and achievement." 

Simply put, an optimistic, supportive boss grooms happy, engaged workers. And happy workers are the foundation for business success.


Mühlfeit cites several studies that illustrate the effects of a positive attitude on a business's overall success, including a 2014 study by researchers at the University of Warwick in the UK. They discovered a 12 percent spike in productivity with happy workers and a 10 percent lag in unhappy ones.

- Focusing on the positive, particularly during stressful moments (typical in restaurants), will help inspire and motivate happy staff, reduce turnover, and add to your restaurant's bottom line.

  • Great self-control restaurant manager self-control
  • Risk-taking
  • Flexibility
  • Creativity
  • Team building - leadership requires building and maintaining a solid and collaborative team of individuals working toward the same goal. Team building requires other leadership strengths, like effective communication skills and conflict resolution. Relationship building is potentially one of the most essential skills to a leadership role as it makes communication of tasks, responsibilities, and goals more effectively. Once you understand each other, you will assess strengths, delegate tasks, and complete your goals more seamlessly. 
  • Ability to inspire
  • Ability to learn fast
  • Ability to work hard



  3. Attention to details

paying attention to detailsFrom budgeting, scheduling, and reservations to restaurant settings, restaurant managers need to keep track of many minor but important details. Stay organized and delegate tasks to your employees so you get help. It is easy to get overwhelmed and stop paying attention, stop caring.


   4. Conflict management 

The restaurant is a high-stress environment, and you will deal with problems daily. Therefore, it is crucial to keep a cool head, listen to both sides, and negotiate a fair solution. But solving problems among staff and customers is just part of the job. You will also be called upon to solve snafus like supply or food shortages, last-minute employee callouts, or (heaven forbid) emergency medical situations.

Restaurant managers must be able to think on their feet and take the right action to solve the problem quickly.


As you see, it is not easy to be a true leader. Most people have seen the results of both effective and ineffective leaders on the job. Good leaders increase employee engagement, support a positive environment, and help remove obstacles for their team. Good leadership is also contagious, inspiring colleagues to apply positive leadership traits in their own work.


How to develop your leadership skills


You can practice good leadership skills in any role, at any level. For example, showing up on time to meetings and turning in work on schedule shows dependability. Offering support and coaching to less experienced colleagues is also an example of leadership. If it seems like a good fit for you, you might consider seeking out leadership roles to develop and practice your leadership skills.


-Find a mentor or a leader you can learn from: the best way to learn is by studying under those you admire most. Find the leaders in your restaurant and learn from them. This could be some of your colleagues, a supervisor, or a manager. If possible, ask a leader you respect to mentor you on a weekly or monthly basis. They can help you set goals toward becoming a better leader by developing skills and using them. 

-Find resources or books on leadership. A self-study on leadership may help you get a better understanding of how to develop your leadership skills.

-Attend leadership training courses


If you are looking to make the next move in your Hospitality Career make sure to check the latest jobs at Waiters Network. You can just browse for a certain job or you can create your profile and let the companies find you and offer you a job!

Whatever it is, we wish you a lot of success in the future and we thank you for being here and using our advice.



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All comments for "How to be a successful Restaurant Manager"
  • Ned

    Hey guys, are you ready to make the next move? I hope this article will help you a lot. Let me know what do you think and ask any questions you may have.
    20 Sep 2021 14:41

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