Fast food restaurant managers are responsible for ensuring the smooth running and financial success of their fast food outlet
As a fast food restaurant manager, you'll oversee the day-to-day operations of the fast food venue, or venues, that you manage. This includes financial and staff management, adhering to health and safety rules and ensuring customer satisfaction.
The role has a strong hospitality element, and you'll need to ensure that the restaurant delivers high-quality food and drink and good customer service. You'll also undertake or supervise activities related to marketing and sales.
As a fast food restaurant manager, you'll need to:
- organise stock and equipment, order supplies and oversee building maintenance, cleanliness and security
- plan and work to budgets, maximise profits and achieve sales targets set by head office
- monitor and control takings in the restaurant and administer payrolls
- recruit new staff, and train and develop existing staff
- coordinate staff scheduling and rotas, and motivate and encourage staff to achieve targets, including maximising sales
- ensure standards of hygiene are maintained and that the restaurant complies with health and safety regulations
- ensure high standards of customer service are maintained
- implement and instil in your team company policies, procedures and ethics
- handle customer complaints and queries
- carry out marketing activities in line with company policy, including implementing branded promotional campaigns from head office
- prepare reports and other performance analysis documentation
- report to, and attend regular meetings with area managers or head office representatives
- establish relationships with the local community and undertake activities that comply with the company's corporate social responsibility programmes.
- Assistant managers and trainee business managers typically earn £24,000 to £26,000.
- As a general manager, you can expect to earn around £32,000, and usually between £28,000 and £36,000.
- Regional managers, overseeing several restaurants, can earn up to £65,000, plus benefits.
Salaries depend on a range of factors, including the size and type of your employer, your experience and location. As the environment is sales-target driven, you may receive a profit or performance-related bonus in addition to your salary.
Many companies in this sector offer benefits packages to management staff, which may include pension schemes, childcare vouchers, share options, private healthcare, company car and/or discounts for friends and family.
Hours of work are generally long and shift-based, and you should be willing to work evenings, weekends and on public holidays. Some managers may work split shifts, with early starts, time off in the middle of the day and a return to work for a later shift.
If you're a field or area manager supervising several restaurants, you may be responsible for managing your own diary and have some flexibility in your working hours.
What to expect
- The environment is fast paced, with an emphasis on delivering good customer service in a limited time frame. The atmosphere can be hot, noisy and bustling. You may spend a lot of time 'walking the floor', moving around on foot or standing. The work can be both physically and mentally demanding.
- Most managers are in charge of one restaurant and are mainly based at one site. If you are responsible for a number of outlets, you'll have to travel between them.
- You'll usually wear a company uniform and dress in accordance with appropriate health and safety requirements associated with food preparation.
- Many companies operate franchising opportunities, giving you the chance to invest in and run your own branch. Due to the large financial commitment involved, however, you're unlikely to take on a franchise when first starting out.
- Opportunities are available across the UK and can be city-based or in out-of-town shopping centres, leisure facilities and tourist attractions. Many companies have branches around the world so there may be opportunities for secondments and transfers.
You don't usually need a degree to work as a fast food restaurant manager unless you're joining a formal graduate management programme. These schemes are run by major fast food companies and usually accept graduates from any discipline, or people with experience of working in a customer-facing environment or managing teams.
Many managers begin their careers as counter-service staff and work their way up to management level by acquiring experience, rather than formal qualifications. There are, however, a range of relevant qualifications available at various levels, including degree and postgraduate level, in areas such as:
- business studies or management
- hospitality and hospitality management
- leisure management.
Some large companies, such as McDonald's, KFC and Pizza Express, offer opportunities to combine on-the-job experience with study. These include degree-level programmes, apprenticeships and leaderships programmes.
An apprenticeship can be a good way into a career in catering and hospitality and can provide a useful starting point, from which you can work your way up. See Gov.uk Catering and Hospitality Apprenticeships and the Institute for Apprenticeships for more information.
You'll need to have:
- excellent customer service skills
- strong communication skills, tact and diplomacy
- the ability to lead and motivate teams and influence people
- self-motivation and ambition
- commercial awareness
- enthusiasm and the ability to learn quickly
- good organisational skills
- energy and stamina, as well as resilience
- a results-driven approach to work
- decision-making and problem-solving skills.
Formal qualifications are generally considered less important than evidence of relevant work experience and the personal qualities needed to be a successful manager. To get experience, you could work for a fast food outlet part time while studying, although experience in any customer-facing role is useful, as is the ability to manage a team.
If your degree includes a year out in industry, you can use this time to build up experience working for your chosen fast-food outlet.
Find out more about the different kinds of work experience and internships that are available.
Organisations usually considered to deliver a fast food service include:
- burger bars
- coffee shops
- fried chicken outlets
- pizza restaurants
- sandwich bars.
These fast food outlets can be found in:
- city centres
- out-of-town shopping centres
- leisure complexes (cinemas, bowling alleys, ice rinks)
- public transport stations
- tourist attractions (theme parks, etc).
Fast food companies generally lease outlets or franchises within these locations, and you'll usually be employed by these companies rather than by the overall centre or complex, although there may be exceptions.
Look for job vacancies at:
Most of the major fast food companies advertise vacancies on their websites and you can find all the information you need there for applying for jobs and apprenticeship schemes.
Many of the large fast food organisations offer structured fast-track graduate management programmes. Training is comprehensive and will equip you with the key skills needed to succeed in this fast-paced environment.
Your initial induction training will usually cover the basics, including product knowledge, working as counter service staff and how to use kitchen equipment, so that you become an expert in the restaurant's daily routine. Over the course of the programme, you'll cover areas such as:
- hygiene and health and safety
- management and supervisory skills
- customer service
- financial management.
Training is delivered through a combination of on-the-job learning and more formal courses, and can take place on-site, in specialist training centres alongside fellow trainee managers, and through self-study. There are few formal examinations. Your training is devised and reviewed by your line managers or mentors and is shaped by personal development plans.
After training, you're encouraged to continue your professional development to develop your management skills.
Becoming a member of the Institute of Hospitality will help you further your career, find support if you need it, and keep up to date with your Continuing Professional Development CPD.
Rapid progression to senior management levels is possible, and in fact encouraged, for those who show commitment and drive. Employers are usually keen to nurture front-end staff through to management level, as they're already embedded in the culture and operations of the organisation.
To make the most of opportunities you'll need to be flexible about working shifts and geographically mobile within your region.
If you join a structured training programme, the usual progression route is to begin at trainee management level, move to assistant manager level and then become a manager. You're likely to start by managing a small team and then progress to taking responsibility for an entire shift. With experience, it's possible to take on a specific area of expertise such as recruitment, finance or maintenance.
The next step for a manager is to a field or area management role, with responsibility for supervising the operations of several restaurants. Beyond this, there are general operational management or consultancy roles, advising the business on how to manage entire functions.
There are also opportunities for experienced managers who can afford it or who can raise the finance to open their own franchise. Many companies provide excellent support packages and training for potential franchise owners.
The training and experience you gain will enable you to move into other business areas. Some managers take up head office positions, for example in customer relations management. You could also move to hospitality management in a related industry or pursue general business management in a different sector.