Running a restaurant is not as easy as it seems to be. Anyone who has been in this industry knows that it’s not as simple to operate as other businesses–it’s certainly tougher than most people think it is. The fundamental traits needed to run it successfully, however, remain the same. The qualities are the most basic ones, although it would take experience to adapt it to the restaurant scenario. You, as a good restaurant manager, have to be:
Patient and in-control. The food service industry is a demanding, high-pressured business. You and your people must have the ability to unswervingly dish-up hot, quality food on time, and simultaneously look after the comfort of your guests – their drinks, tables, special requests, to-go bags, bills and many other things. On top of that you have to make sure that the restaurant is clean at all times, no matter how busy the place is. It’s easy to understand why a restaurant manager can easily get stressed, annoyed or mad. Losing his temper is quite normal, but part of the success of a restaurant is having a manager who is in control of himself most of the time. A frantic manager in a busy restaurant would only cause undue tension and panic among the other workers.
Flexible. A good restaurant manager should be able, and willing, to perform any job when needed. This could mean hopping in and plating food, or donning a server’s hat, cleaning a mess during busy hours. It’s important that he knows and can relate to the jobs involved in his operations, so he can understand the good aspects of the job as well as its complexities, thus allowing him to understand and empathize with the staff.
Organized and systematic. Organization is quite vital to the success of a restaurant. A good manager needs to have a system in place in knowing how much food is on stock and how much should be ordered, who are the staff working at the moment and who are those on leave, what tasks he has done for the day and those that he still needs to do. He has to be on top of the game. What goes on at the back door is reflected in the frontline. If the kitchen is in chaos, such chaos will eventually show in the duration of the customers’ meal – in the promptness of arrival of the guests’ food, in the meal presentations, or in the release of the bill.
Insightful and perceptive. To be able to take care of his employees and delegate jobs effectively, a good manager should be in touch with his senses, insightful and perspective. He should be able to sense and observe what goes on in his restaurant – perceives insincere activities when it happens. He needs to be sensitive to the needs of his staff and present situations, always conscious of the fact that the service-oriented restaurant business relies heavily on its people – an emotionally disturbed cook may foul up the VIP table’s special soup, or a financially-strapped waiter might lose his patience with a guest later on in the evening.
Appreciative and motivational. A good restaurant manager should be able to appreciate his employees for their hard work. A happy, contented restaurant staff wearing his server’s hat creates a whole bunch of happy, satisfied customers who would not hesitate telling five more of their friends to come and visit your restaurant.
Customer-friendly and service- oriented. If the manager is customer and service-oriented, the staff automatically becomes service-oriented, too. How you respond to your customers’ presence, requests and complaints, whether you deal with them personally or not, transport and flows to your staff. Your irritable response to an obstinate customer’s special request of a special dressing will ultimately show in your wait staff’s voice or facial expression when he relays the response to the guest (he could eventually smirk, or be sarcastic), no matter how pleasant the wait staff tries to be. Show the best example.
A record keeper, in touch with numbers. Being a good restaurant manager does not end with leadership and know-how – he should also be adept in record keeping and is number-savvy. Being in touch with your operations’ numbers, like prime costs and inventories, is necessary in knowing where exactly you are, and what you need to do to get to where you want to be. Marketing records are also important, especially your customer database, as these can help you ensure a continuous flow of customers who will visit your restaurant.
Pro-active. The great manager is not afraid to implement new ideas for the advancement of his restaurant. It is best if he is part of a network of restaurateurs who can contribute ideas regularly, ask questions and share opinions. A pro-active restaurant manager continuously listens to his customers and deals with their concerns immediately.