One Job, Multiple Hats: Restaurant Manager Duties & Responsibilities

Food & Beverage
Rea Regan September 8, 2021 11 min read

A great restaurant manager contributes to the business’ success and overall staff and customer satisfaction, therefore it’s crucial you know how to best execute your restaurant manager duties and responsibilities.

couple ordering at a restaurant as restaurant manager handles his role

Quick Guide

    If you’ve never experienced being a restaurant manager, it’s hard to fathom what the job is really like. As guests, we can tell, more or less, that it’s a job filled with many moving parts.

    But it’s truly one of those things that you have to experience for yourself to fully appreciate

    Frankly, even a restaurant manager’s job description doesn’t do justice to all of the hats a restaurant manager has to wear on any given day. 

    The lucky ones have plenty of help around them, although restaurant manager responsibilities will still feel overwhelming at times. 

    To gain a better appreciation of what restaurant managers endure daily, let’s take a look at all of their duties and responsibilities that must be fulfilled.

    Recruit and Train Staff

    Assembling a competent restaurant staff isn’t as easy as it sounds. Keep in mind that there are several jobs in a restaurant, including hostess, waiters, bartenders, busboys, cooks, and more. All of these positions have different skill sets that must be evaluated. Also, if it’s not a high-end restaurant, there’s bound to be a lot of turnover, particularly with the wait staff. 

    Be mindful of the key qualities to look for in a new hire. Definitely ask behavioral questions during the interview to better gauge a person’s abilities. 

    Then comes the part where the restaurant manager has to train these workers. Even if someone has previous experience, each restaurant has a different system of doing things that new employees need to learn. 

    A restaurant manager’s duties include showing each new employee the ropes and getting them up to speed as quickly as possible. They must receive adequate and efficient training so they’re fully prepared as soon as they hit the floor. 

    A part of the restaurant manager’s duties includes creating a full handbook that covers as much material as possible. For example:

    • Study the menu
    • Sell the specials of the day 
    • Follow the dress code
    • Learn how to handle customer complaints

    And that’s just scratching the surface!

    three restaurant colleagues digitally learning

    It’s highly beneficial to pair a new hire with an experienced employee so that they can learn from the real champs! Allow your new hire to shadow another veteran employee so they can quickly learn with hands-on experience. For example, how to serve a table, how to schedule reservations, how to clear a table, how to use the restaurant’s POS system, and so on.

    Stay Engaged with Employees

    Once an employee is properly trained, the job is far from over for the restaurant manager. There needs to be appropriate oversight of each employee to make sure they are fulfilling their job duties, which requires a lot of attention to detail and will occasionally involve difficult conversations.

    Even if things are going smoothly, restaurant managers need to remain engaged with their employees. They need to understand each person’s strengths and weaknesses, so they can be utilized in the best way. This often requires getting to know each worker on a more personal level, which isn’t always easy if there’s a lot of staff turnover.

    Additional engagement tips include focusing on mundane tasks, for example:

    • Practice open, transparent communication
    • Share praise and encouragement
    • Team building games and activities
    • Keep them in the loop on how the company is doing, and it’s vision 
    • Give them more responsibility
    • Prioritize employee wellness 
    • Help them create a work-life balance  

    Handle Employee Conflict

    Restaurant managers can’t assume that employees are always going to get along with one another. Conflicts between team members are almost inevitable, which means that managers must have the ability to mediate and reach a conclusion that will make each party relatively happy.

    In other words, a restaurant manager needs to have excellent people skills. Handling interpersonal conflicts can require seeing a conflict from another person’s perspective while also trying to do what’s best for the restaurant.

    Read up here on how to manage difficult employees in a small business.

    Create and Manage Employee Schedules

    Imagine your three best waiters requesting the same Saturday night off during the busiest night of the week. How would you handle this? 

    Well, with proper planning and a handy employee shift schedule up your sleeve, at ease. On the surface, creating an employee schedule may seem tedious, but it’s far from a simple task – and is very important if you want the restaurant to function without any hiccups. 

    Every employee will have different availability and different requests for when they need time off. That creates a lot of variables for putting a schedule together. Needless to say, this part of the job can get complicated for restaurant managers. 

    Implement The Right Tools

    Let’s face it, as the restaurant manager, you have numerous tasks to juggle. The restaurant manager duties and responsibilities are never-ending – and you’re only one person. There’s only so much time in your day to get to every little thing.

    It’s a good thing this is the 21st century and digital tools exist to make your day-to-day operations easier to manage. Yes, even for the restaurant business. As a true all-in-one solution, Connecteam’s employee management app is built for workers who are constantly on the go, especially your restaurant workers. So, what features can help you better manage your restaurant and your employees?

    Connecteam app for restaurant employee management
    • A smoother scheduling process. With access to absence requests,  transparent staff unavailability marked, drag and drop capabilities, templates, and more, you’ll save time and headaches creating schedules
    • Seamless internal communication. Start a 1:1 or group chat to keep everyone on the same page.
    • Enhance employee engagement. Send company-wide updates like scheduling announcements, menu changes, share daily specials, celebrate star employees, even share birthday wishes with comments and reactions to get everyone involved. 
    • No more pen and paper. Take all of your restaurant’s manual checklists, reports and forms and make them digital. For example, shift opening/closing checklists, sanitation inspection report, uniform order, etc. 
    • A search directory. Don’t save numbers on your personal phone or print them off in a bulky binder. Instead upload all information to the app so it’s easily searchable! Look for a department, job title, location, etc. 
    • Easy, accurate time tracking. Set up the kiosk app so everyone clocks in and out from one tablet with their unique PIN code.
    • Efficient training and onboarding. Upload material like PDF, videos, texts, chapters to read, and GIFs. Custom create quizzes for training and monitor progress to ensure material comprehension. 

    Managing a Restaurant?

    All you need is this single tool to help you effortlessly manage your staff and run your restaurant like clockwork.

    Decide Menu Options

    Outside of all of the potential issues with the restaurant staff, there are plenty of food-related responsibilities for restaurant managers. This starts with deciding what dishes to include on the menu, what dishes to take off, and what dishes to offer as a special. 

    Obviously, the chefs will also be involved in making these types of decisions since they’ll be preparing the food. But restaurant managers need to look at what dishes are being ordered most frequently and what dishes are being ignored. Also, is there feedback from customers about things that are missing from the menu? Changes to the menu are more frequent than most customers realize, and this is another duty that falls under the restaurant manager’s job description.

    Manage Inventory

    Going hand-in-hand with menu options is managing inventory. After all, you can’t sell a particular dish if you don’t have the right ingredients to prepare it. It’s not just food inventory that managers need to worry about either. There are tablecloths, silverware, and perhaps even mints that need to remain stocked. Plus, don’t forget about all of the drinks that bartenders need to do their jobs.

    Ultimately, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of different items that go into making a restaurant run properly. One mistake or oversight when performing inventory can throw everything into chaos and prevent customers from being able to order their favorite menu item.

    Work the Books

    Managing the day-to-day finances of the restaurant is a critical part of the job. In fact, it’s one of the most critical restaurant manager responsibilities to get right. 

    While performing inventory, the manager must make sure that there is enough money in the budget for everything the restaurant needs to provide for its customers. 

    At the same time, timesheets and payroll are entirely different parts of managing the finances of a restaurant. 

    Remember that there are half a dozen different jobs at a restaurant, each one with a different salary or hourly wage. Those costs must also be worked into the budget before the manager reports back to the owner of the restaurant about how financially healthy the restaurant is and how much revenue and profit it’s generating.

    Follow Up With Customer Complaints

    Of course, everything a restaurant manager does is for the benefit of the customers. If a customer has a question or complaint to raise, they usually ask to speak with the manager. This means the manager must be available at all times to speak with dissatisfied customers.

    Obviously, it’s not always easy to get an irate customer to calm down without making a scene and making the restaurant look bad in front of others. The restaurant manager must always make sure not to get upset while doing anything possible to appease the customer. With everything else going on, there is never an ideal moment for speaking with an unsatisfied customer. Yet, it’s within a restaurant manager’s duties to do just that.

    Maintain Health Code Regulations

    In the restaurant industry, there are few things more important than cleanliness and making sure every inch of the restaurant is up to par with regard to health code regulations. Obviously, this is a team effort, but it ultimately falls on the shoulders of the manager to oversee everything and make sure that the restaurant isn’t committing any health code violations.

    Getting written up by the health department is one of the worst things that can happen to a restaurant and its reputation. If there are egregious violations or concerns about how sanitary the conditions are inside the restaurant, customers can stop coming. If this happens, the blame will surely fall on the restaurant manager.

    fire extinguisher highlighting need to maintain health code regulations at restaurants

    Keep Up With COVID Protocols

    In addition to the regular health protocols, restaurant managers are now responsible for following COVID-19 protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19. There are almost too many to name. 

    • Do tables in the dining room need to be separated to follow distancing restrictions? 
    • Should partitions be put up between tables? 
    • Is every surface being properly sanitized when a new person arrives? 
    • Should employees be vaccinated or wear masks while interacting with customers?

    Preventing the spread of COVID-19 has added a whole new set of responsibilities for restaurant managers to handle. 

    A breakout of COVID-19 among customers or staff can be just as damaging to a restaurant as an unfavorable report from the health department or an irate customer making a scene. This means that restaurant managers can’t afford to drop the ball when it comes to having proper COVID protocols in place and making sure that every employee is following them.

    Stay informed on how to best handle the COVID vaccine, whether it’s for guests or employees.

    Wrapping Up Restaurant Manager Duties & Responsibilities 

    Unofficially, a restaurant manager is responsible for any other problem or metaphorical fire that might pop up. This could be anything from cleaning up a spill if the wait staff is too busy, calling a repairman if a piece of equipment breaks down, making a run to purchase missing ingredients, and much more. If an employee fails to show up without warning or gets in a car accident on their way to work, the restaurant manager will be the one who helps to fill in the gaps for whatever job that person had.

    A restaurant manager must know how to run a restaurant successfully.

    The bottom line is that restaurant managers have to do anything and everything that’s needed to keep the restaurant functioning. We never said it was easy. In fact, it’s a demanding job, which is why restaurant managers deserve all of the help they can get. So, do you think you have what it takes?

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