Restaurant managers ensure that restaurants operate efficiently and profitably while maintaining their reputation and ethos. They must coordinate a variety of activities, whatever the size or type of the outlet. Managers are responsible for the business performance of their restaurant, as well as maintaining high standards of food, service, and health and safety.
Restaurant management combines strategic planning and day-to-day management activities, such as shift pattern organisation. Depending on the nature of the outlet, the role may have creative aspects, particularly in marketing and business development.
As a key role within the hospitality industry, restaurant management can be fast-paced, highly demanding and very rewarding.
Tasks carried out by restaurant managers vary depending on the type of restaurant, but usually include:
- Taking responsibility for the business performance of the restaurant.
- Analysing and planning restaurant sales levels and profitability.
- Organising marketing activities, such as promotional events and discount schemes.
- Preparing reports at the end of the shift/week, including staff control, food control and sales.
- Creating and executing plans for department sales, profit and staff development.
- Setting budgets and/or agreeing them with senior management.
- Planning and coordinating menus.
- Coordinating the entire operation of the restaurant during scheduled shifts.
- Managing staff and providing them with feedback.
- Responding to customer complaints.
- Ensuring that all employees adhere to the company's uniform standards.
- Meeting and greeting customers and organising table reservations.
- Advising customers on menu and wine choice.
- Recruiting, training and motivating staff.
- Organising and supervising the shifts of kitchen, waiting and cleaning staff.
- Maintaining high standards of quality control, hygiene, and health and safety.
- Checking stock levels and ordering supplies.
- Preparing cash drawers and providing petty cash as required.
- Helping in any area of the restaurant when circumstances dictate.
The salary of a restaurant manager may depend greatly on the employer and type of establishment. Salaries in boutique restaurants, for example, tend to be slightly higher than those in themed/branded restaurants. Many restaurant managers also receive bonus payments if they reach the targets set by their head office.
According to the Hospitality Guild the salaries for restaurant managers working in fine dining are in the region of £22,000 to £40,000, while in casual dining restaurants they range from £20,000 to £30,000. Salaries in London and the South West tend to be higher than elsewhere in the country.
Income data from the Hospitality Guild. Figures are intended as a guide only.
Many restaurant managers work late evenings and weekends. Public holiday and shift work, including split shifts, is also common. Overtime may be essential in some positions and it is important to be willing to work until the job is completed, whatever time that may be.
What to expect
- The work is generally indoors in a warm, but sometimes cramped, environment. Many restaurant managers divide their time between the front-of-house area, the office and the kitchen.
- There are opportunities throughout the UK.
- The range of responsibilities depends on the type of restaurant for which you work. Levels of responsibility vary between restaurant chains.
- Dress codes vary and range from very formal wear to a company uniform.
- Responding to customer complaints, overseeing many activities at once, and the fast pace of work make this a varied and possibly stressful role.
- The shift patterns that managers are required to work may disrupt your personal life.
- Managers may be requested to cover at other restaurants. This demands mobility, flexibility and a willingness to travel.
here is no single route into restaurant management. A degree or HND is not necessarily required for entry into a management role, as it is possible to join a restaurant and work your way up. The sector is very open to candidates with a combination of practical experience, strong interpersonal skills and an understanding of business.
However, a degree or HND is increasingly required for entry to a formal recruitment scheme and in particular the following subjects may be helpful:
- hotel and catering;
- hospitality management;
- business or management.
Although your degree/HND subject can certainly help towards gaining a position, relevant practical work experience in a customer service environment is often viewed as being more important than formal qualifications.
Joining relevant professional bodies, such as the Institute of Hospitality and the Hospitality Guild, may provide useful training and networking opportunities, as well as allowing you to keep up to date with developments in the industry.
There are restaurant management opportunities in a wide range of venues and outlets. It is important to select the restaurant or hospitality company that matches your career aims and provides adequate scope for long-term career development.
Geographical mobility may be important. If your restaurant is part of a chain, you may be required to work in partner regional or national restaurants.
You will need to have:
- excellent interpersonal skills;
- strong written and oral communication skills;
- ability to cope under pressure;
- good business awareness;
- teamworking skills;
- strong planning and organisational skills;
- ability to work independently;
- problem-solving ability.
Opportunities exist in commercial establishments, including hotels, restaurants and cafés, pubs and clubs, and conference venues. It is one of the most geographically widespread industries, offering employment in every high street of every city and town and in many parts of the countryside.
Many restaurants are run by proprietors or partnerships. Chain restaurants are extremely common but there are also a large amount of independent establishments.
Types of employers include:
- independent restaurants;
- themed restaurants;
- café bars;
- national restaurant companies;
- international hospitality chains;
- hotel restaurants.
Many regional and national restaurant chains offer management training opportunities for graduates. Competition for these types of schemes is increasing.
Look for job vacancies at:
- The Caterer Jobs
- Hospitality Guild Jobs
- Hospitality & Leisure Recruitment
- Leisure Jobs
- Restaurant Jobs
- Local and national press
Recruitment agencies which specialise in the catering, leisure, and hospitality sectors are available. For contacts, check with the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC).
Training opportunities usually depend on the size of the restaurant and whether it is an independent operation or part of a chain. Larger restaurant chains usually offer structured training schemes, while independent restaurants are more likely to offer on-the-job training on a more informal basis.
Key training areas include:
- first aid;
- health and hygiene;
- management skills;
- company systems and procedures.
When starting in a restaurant management job, you will usually gain practical experience within each function of the restaurant. You are usually assigned a mentor or someone who will support you during your initial months within the organisation.
A structured management training scheme for graduates usually lasts between 12 and 18 months. This provides a thorough grounding in the key departments through activities such as shadowing the general manager, analysing budgets and managing personnel matters.
Key professional bodies also offer a range of training opportunities, including activities that count towards continuing professional development (CPD). They also hold information on other available external courses and events. Relevant organisations include:
- British Hospitality Association - hosts various events across the year and provides publications and resources for members;
- Hospitality Guild - lists details of various training courses including college-based qualifications, regulation and licensing courses and CPD options. It also has details of development programmes, mentoring schemes and competitions that are run through its numerous partners;
- Institute of Hospitality - offers management qualifications at introductory, intermediate and advanced levels. It also runs a series of events each year covering professional development, social events and networking activities and you are able to work towards varying levels of membership with the institute.
Your career progression may depend on the size and nature of the employer, with company strategy strongly influencing staff structure. However, it is usually possible to progress through the following route, particularly within larger restaurant companies:
- staff trainer;
- supervisor/assistant manager;
- unit/restaurant/general manager.
Within certain companies, career progression may involve undertaking in-house qualifications and relevant training.
It is common for managers of a single restaurant to progress into area management roles, for which extensive knowledge of a particular chain and strong practical experience are often required. An area manager may oversee four to six restaurants, depending on the size of the establishments.
It is also possible to move into an operations management or head office role, depending on the flexibility and range of individual restaurant chains.
Restaurant managers not seeking area management responsibility may move across to other restaurants, possibly within the same chain. They may also relocate to manage a failing or less successful affiliated restaurant.
A small number of experienced managers seek to develop their own business, taking over existing businesses or starting new restaurants from scratch.