How to hire a restaurant manager
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The Art of Hiring a Restaurant Manager: 10 Tips to Win

Discover the key traits and skills of an outstanding restaurant manager to set your eatery on the path to success. Learn how to hire the perfect fit for your team with these 10 tips

6 mins readJuly 07, 2023

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In the competitive world of food service, hiring the right restaurant manager is the key to creating a winning team. As the U.S. food industry faces labor shortages, finding exceptional talent becomes even more critical.

Beyond attractive salaries, job seekers seek a dream team, supportive management, and exceptional work experience. Successful restaurants understand the secret: a skilled manager who leads the team effectively.

In this article, we define the essential traits and skills you should look for, empowering you to build an outstanding restaurant team.

Learn here how to hire a great restaurant manager!

Food Industry Expertise

Both restaurant owners and employees want to have a restaurant manager who is mature enough to help them avoid the countless pitfalls associated with working in the industry.

You need someone who is aware of the codes and standards of the food service industry, can ensure compliance with sanitation and safety regulations, and cope with inspections from state regulators.

A legal issue or a violation of sanitary standards could harm not only the restaurant’s reputation but your team’s morale as well.

That’s why the expertise of a restaurant manager is a vital asset. If hiring someone with 10 years of hands-on experience seems impossible, you should try looking for candidates with multi-unit talent that have quit big chains, because people with experience in the corporate food industry show fast professional growth.

Alternatively, you can hunt for a mature employee occupying a mid-level position or a low-level management position in a competitor’s restaurant. They often have skills and ambitions but can’t get promoted at their current workplace.

It’s in your best interest to hire a restaurant manager that already knows reliable suppliers in your area, can competently set control points to maintain high standards, and is on good terms with local authorities.

This is a secure way to reduce the number of issues solved by trial and error and minimize your business risks.

tips for hiring a restaurant manager

Technology Savviness

A future-focused restaurant manager should pay close attention to technology as one of the biggest trends that are reshaping the restaurant industry.

For example, ordering systems, employee scheduling tools, and restaurant POS software have already become an essential part of restaurant operations and continue to add more and more value as new solutions, features, and integrations appear.

Look for a restaurant manager that keeps track of emerging technologies. Such leaders quickly find ways to facilitate different aspects of restaurant operations and ease work for their employees.

Their strength is in staying open to change, knowing what’s on the market, and being able to select an optimal restaurant tech stack to cover all the needs of the restaurant without overinvestment.

Consider that technology-forward managers create a working environment that makes the team feel they’re on the leading edge and won't fall behind. This is especially important for the younger generation of restaurant workers.

Business-Minded Restaurant Manager

A business's bottom line is the restaurant manager’s department. Optimizing operations and finding ways to reduce costs in all facets of the business and understanding restaurant budgeting should always be on your manager's mind.

Whether it’s staffing, sourcing, or marketing, a business-minded restaurant manager controls the numbers, analyses stats and delivers meaningful reports, and makes informed decisions on increasing profit margins.

For example, when it comes to menu engineering, your head chef’s primary concern is the taste and look of the food. Being an artist, the chef would appreciate working with a manager who can shoulder menu costing and make reasonable suggestions on ways to raise profitability.

The restaurant manager can take an extra step to categorize every menu item according to its profit and popularity levels.

This may help a designer create a menu that entices customers to choose the most profitable food options. When employees feel sure that their manager keeps a close eye on the restaurant’s cash flow, they believe the business will stand the test of time and their job is secure.

expert restaurant manager

Excellent Communication

The personality of the restaurant manager influences a lot the future of the team’s culture, working atmosphere, and tone of communication between staff members. This person will recruit new employees, educate newcomers, and lead the team by example. Pay attention to whether the manager is an approachable leader.

To create and maintain a healthy atmosphere, they should know how to give feedback, infuse employees with enthusiasm and loyalty, and make them feel appreciated.

Every member of the team should feel they can address their boss with questions, concerns, and suggestions. So, before you make the final decision to hire a manager, ask yourself if the candidate is able to create a supportive and inspiring working environment.

Customer-First Mentality

Good interpersonal skills would help your restaurant manager communicate with guests either for problem-solving or just adding a personal touch. If the restaurant manager is naturally friendly and interactive, it won’t be difficult for them to give your patrons personal attention, greet and thank them for coming, and engage in small talk.

Creating a memorable and welcoming guest experience goes along with a restaurant manager’s role, they should know how to make all your guests feel great. People will eagerly become your regular patrons because of the cheerful ambiance.

A person that has all the above proficiencies, skills, and talents is able to set up a smooth and profitable operation, remarkable service, and make employees feel happy at work. Such people know the difference between ‘good’ and ‘great’.

They may know the right recipe for your restaurant’s secret sauce and create a dining experience competitors will fail to replicate.

Leadership Development: Cultivating a Cohesive Team

A remarkable restaurant manager is not just a leader but also a mentor who values investing in their team's growth and development. When seeking candidates, prioritize those who possess not only strong leadership skills but also a proven ability to nurture the potential in their staff.

By empowering and encouraging team members to take on more responsibilities, a great manager fosters loyalty and a sense of ownership within the team. This approach creates a harmonious and motivated environment throughout the entire restaurant.

Effective mentorship and promotion of internal talent play key roles in establishing a strong sense of camaraderie among team members. As the manager guides and supports their staff's professional growth, a culture of mutual support and encouragement flourishes, leading to enhanced productivity and a positive work atmosphere.

An exceptional restaurant manager recognizes the significance of nurturing their team, encouraging growth, and promoting from within. By doing so, they build a cohesive, dedicated, and high-performing team that contributes to the overall success of the restaurant.

Adaptability and Problem-Solving: Thriving in the Face of Challenges

The restaurant industry can present unexpected hurdles, and a top-tier manager thrives in such circumstances. During the interview process, present candidates with hypothetical scenarios, observing how they respond and strategize.

Those who demonstrate quick thinking, logical reasoning, and innovative problem-solving abilities are assets to any restaurant. A manager who can navigate through tough situations with grace and creativity ensures smooth operations and maintains team morale.

Cultural Fit: Shared Values and Vision

Beyond technical skills, assess how well a potential manager aligns with your restaurant's values and vision. Look for candidates who share your passion for providing exceptional service and prioritizing customer satisfaction.

A manager who resonates with your establishment's culture is more likely to contribute positively to team dynamics and reinforce your restaurant's reputation as a preferred dining destination.

Passionate Leadership: Inspiring a Driven Team

If you plan to hire a restaurant manager seek a restaurant manager who possesses a genuine passion for the food industry and can inspire the same enthusiasm in their team. A passionate restaurant manager not only understands the ins and outs of the business but also conveys a contagious energy that motivates employees to perform at their best.

Their love for culinary arts and dedication to exceptional service create a positive and dynamic work environment, fostering a team that takes pride in delivering memorable dining experiences.

hiring restaurant manager

Emotional Intelligence: Nurturing a Supportive Culture

Look for a restaurant manager with high emotional intelligence, as this skill plays a crucial role in shaping the team's culture and atmosphere. A manager who is approachable and empathetic can connect with employees on a personal level, creating a supportive and understanding environment.

By giving constructive feedback and showing genuine appreciation for their team's efforts, the manager strengthens bonds, loyalty, and a sense of belonging among staff members.

Takeaways

  • Food Industry Expertise: Hire a manager with experience and knowledge of local suppliers, sanitation regulations, and compliance.
  • Technology Savviness: Seek a tech-savvy manager who optimizes operations with emerging restaurant technologies.
  • Business-Minded Approach: Prioritize candidates who analyze stats and make informed decisions to increase profit margins.
  • Excellent Communication Skills: Look for an approachable leader who fosters open communication and a supportive work environment.
  • Customer-First Mentality: Hire a manager with good interpersonal skills to create a welcoming guest experience.
  • Leadership Development and Cohesive Team: Seek a mentor-like manager who empowers and encourages team members.
  • Adaptability and Problem-Solving: Assess candidates' ability to handle challenges and think critically.
  • Cultural Fit: Prioritize candidates who align with your restaurant's values and vision.
  • Passionate Leadership: Hire a manager with genuine passion for the food industry and exceptional service.
  • Emotional Intelligence: Look for managers who show empathy, provide constructive feedback, and appreciate their team.

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