Important Points To Consider When Arranging Your Staff Work Schedules

Restaurants that rely on staff working specific shifts or set hours need to have a fair and balanced scheduling system in place. A well-constructed work roster should be generated in a way that prevents the risk of personnel overworking and becoming dissatisfied as this can have an adverse effect on productivity. Happy and satisfied workers are more likely to feel valued and remain loyal to a Restaurant. Therefore to maintain this scenario, there are some points to consider when creating an effective employee schedule.

Firstly, requests for time off such as vacations need to be factored in and allowance made for unexpected days off due to illness. By creating standby shifts as a backup for such events, restaurants can carry on uninterrupted. Many restaurants have specifically designed scheduling software where information is fed to a centralized system that automatically approves or denies requests depending on circumstances and these activities should be reflected on timesheets. Employees can also use self-service tools to lodge the hours they prefer to work and this allows restaurants to have a clearer overview of availability.  

Workers sometimes want to swap shifts with their colleagues who are equally qualified and scheduling systems that have this system in place allows staff to have more control over their schedules, without having a negative impact on the smooth running of a restaurant. There may be occasions when extra staff is required at short notice for a specific event or when someone calls off sick. Swapping shifts means that staff can be effectively deployed and if new shifts are created, workers who are available can respond via any web-enabled smartphone while on the move.

For a restaurant that depends on its workers being employed in shift cycles, flexibility is key to its successful operation. In many hospitality environments there are some employees who may prefer to work more hours and others who may wish to work less. Scheduling tools can allow workers to indicate whether they want extra work or to reduce their hours. Taking into consideration the total number of hours required and worked, safeguards within a system will allow for additional shifts or a reduction.

It is important that requests for vacation time are arranged well in advance. The festive season and school holiday periods place extra demands on the hospitality industry and can be a headache as far as scheduling is concerned. Therefore, fair shift planning needs to be in place so that workers can also organize their own private leisure time. Staff who have the opportunity and freedom of working in shifts that give them a decent work-life balance, are usually more content and this in turn helps to enhance productivity.


What Behaviors Do the Best Managers Share?

Satisfaction and fulfillment in a job depends on your personality type. There is no ‘best’ personality type for a restaurant manager. However, each restaurant has its own demands and environment. Each is best suited to a different personality type.

If you are looking for a job as a restaurant manager then you need to highlight your personality on your resume. But there are some aspects that must be present if you want the job.

Restaurant Managers Need a Strong Sense of Empathy

Effective leaders know that the best managers are those who incite others to follow them. They use empathy and social skills to build a following. Fear and control have no place in a restaurant team. 

The trick to landing a job is learning how to separate empathy from emotional drama. Can you show empathy in your resume or a job interview? Empathy is vital for success in any hospitality job.

The Successful Management Job Hunter is Justice and Fair

Many manager Candidates may wonder why Recruiting companies and Head-hunters continue to talk about personality tests, being just, and communication skills when they are not evident in so many restaurants.

These are not tools to land a job. These are tools that will land you a better job. What does a sense of being fair and justice have to do with a job interview? Let’s look at it from the point of view of a job interviewer.

A person who is empathetic and works to be just is the type of person who is going to take the investor’s seriously. They are not going to become lax and abusive to the staff. A smart recruitment professional isn’t going to focus on the good. They are going to unearth your personality when things went wrong. 

They are also going to try and determine your ability to earn respect. It is difficult to create a unified, high performance team when you play favorites, or are insensitive to people’s feelings.

The Successful Management Job Hunter Has a High Level of Accountability

A manager may be low on their Career Development Curve, and still land a good job. How? By showing that you have a high level of accountability.  Look at this from the point of view of the restaurant owner. You have dreams. You have plans. Some of these may take months, or years, to execute.

How can you know your team is ‘on board’ if you can’t trust your manager to be honest and tell the truth. How can you find where the problems are if your manager is hiding their own mistakes. If they do that, then they will let their team do that.

Next thing – a business owner is abandoning profitable, strong campaigns based on other people’s mistakes and bad information.

The Successful Management Job Hunter is an Optimist or Realist?

The pessimist says the glass is half empty.

The optimist says the glass is half full.

The realist drinks the glass while the other two are arguing.

Successful Managers make things happen. They need a sense of timing. They also need a positive attitude. The ability to find the positive side of every situation. A positive person sees bad situations and turns negatives into positives.

Career Development

If you want to be a restaurant manager so that you can sit at a desk and delegate then the hospitality industry is not for you. If this is what you did in your last restaurant then you may have trouble landing your next restaurant.

The best restaurant managers are hands on people. They are willing to step in and take over any position on the floor or kitchen – with a smile.


Top 3 Leadership Attributes for Restaurant Managers

Restaurant managers are a unique breed of manager. You cannot graduate with a BS and expect to immediately land a great job in the hospitality industry.

Last weekend I met a perfect management candidate at a hotel. He graduated top of his class, had four years’ experience, and had the stereotypical look of an up and coming star. I found this protégé behind the front desk making sure each and every customer had the best experience.

I was delighted to see that the system worked from recruitment to job interview to put the right candidates in the best jobs. I also felt a bit disappointed for all the students in his class who will not land a great hospitality job. Many of these students will fall out of the hospitality industry. Others will struggle for years, always reaching but never finding the success their degree and BS promise.

Their lack of success has very little to do with their grades or their dedication. They may be as personable as the young man I met last weekend. The sad truth is, they may never know why their career has already hit the ceiling.

1.       The Successful Management Job Hunter Has Courage

Of all the intangibles a manager in the hospitality industry needs, courage is the most important. Courage and confidence are not the same thing but they are often mistaken for the same behaviors. The difference is that courage is a leadership attribute that makes people trust you and want to follow you.

A restaurant manager with courage doesn’t need to tell people that a task can be done, and done successfully. They have already accomplished the task, worked out the kinks, and come up with a great plan for success.

A courageous manager will be at the front desk, and loading the dishwasher. They won’t tolerate toxic communication or back biting among the team. They are not afraid of letting others take some responsibility, advance their skills, and move up the ladder.

2.       The Successful Management Job Hunter Has Self-Control

Self-control is not the same as appearing to be in charge and behaving properly with good manners. A person who has self-control can manage the restaurant without losing their confidence. They can stand in a meeting and accept responsibility for chaos, and offer a solution.

Good self-control gives a manager the ability to control a chaotic situation, or something going very wrong, without attacking their team.

It can be very difficult to show self-control on a resume, or in a job interview, without revealing things that went wrong in your last placement. This is where courage comes in. This is why we suggest that managers document everything. Create ‘plans of action’ so that when you become a Restaurant Management Candidate you will have the proof to back up your claims of courage and self-control.

3.       The Successful Management Job Hunter is an Effective Planner

There are so many benefits to a hospitality manager that is an effective planner. We could write an entire series on the topic. You’ve heard the famous quote “The failure to plan is planning to fail. It is attributed to Joe Paterno, a famous American football coach born in 1926. Any leader wishing to succeed as a restaurant manager must plan his work, and then work his plan.

-There are many attributes that a manager needs before they become an effective planner.

-They have a high attention to detail.

-They understand the work needed to go into a plan, so they are more likely to invest their time and passion into any plan passed down by the general managers and investors.

-Planners are problem solvers. They learn to anticipate problems and start finding solutions before the problem becomes a reality.


Unsure Why You Were Shut Out of the Hiring Process

One of the most frustrating aspects of the job hiring process is applying for jobs that the job interviewer does not believe you’re not qualified to hold. In many cases, you may have already held this job position. You can do the job. There are many restaurant managers trying to move up the career ladder without understanding why all the doors shut in their face. Why they never receive a follow up after the job interview.

The most obvious reason, you cannot communicate your skills effectively.

In the professional world people who are at the top of their career share the same behaviors and skill sets. You may be able to do the job, but after failing to answer a series of questions properly then the job interviewer will write ‘not qualified’ on your resume.

As a Career and Performance Coach I have talked to many professionals. The same problems always come up.

On The Job Experience and Hit The Ceiling

There is a job ceiling in the hospitality industry. If you are trained on the job, it is fairly low. This is because most people who learn on the job develop some mindsets that make it difficult for their career to advance.

1.       I don’t have time to network

Professionals associate with professionals. This is why the person who uses a recruitment service like will land a job quicker than someone who uses a job board.

The greatest source of mentoring and learning is from your peers. How will you know, what you don’t know, if someone doesn’t help you see your limits.

2.       No time for Education or upgrading

Education is power. It gives you the tools needed to improve your performance. The moment a recruiter sees a resume with no upgrading or education on it they see someone who may resist being mentored or taking courses assigned in their new job.

3.       Poor Communication Skills

It is very difficult to manage effectively without being able to communicate. Inability to communicate damage performance at every level. At the bottom there is increased turnover due to team frustration, and wasted time and energy. At the upper levels it is important to be able to succinctly highlight the improvements and increases in revenue, or decreases in expenses in a manner that general managers and investors will understand.


Degrees and BS but Cannot Get Past Entry Level Jobs

This professional knows ‘what’ to do. However, they have not learned ‘how’ to do the job. They are full of information but lack the practical skills needed to turn theory into real-world solutions.

1.       Hiring managers fear putting this person into a manager’s position.  New Management Candidates do not understand that not everything in books translates to the restaurant floor.

2.       Students have spent 3 or 4 years sitting at a desk reading and typing. The restaurant manager job is a high stress job that requires physical endurance and a lot of patience. Working at a summer job may not prepare you for a position as a restaurant manager. The question is, Can you do the job?

3.       Lack of connections. Face it, connections make the job easier. Do you know the best place to buy vegetables, or which contractor will work hard, fast, and for the lowest price?  Do you know where to hire local help if someone quits without notice? These are the intangibles that you cannot learn in college or university.


Job Interview Tips

“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it!”

Responsive, real world management relies on reliable data that you can base decisions on. If there are problems then managers can take corrective action, quickly. A better strategy is to create teams that you can delegate ‘crisis intervention’ strategies too.

Not all data is important. Especially when you are trying to land a restaurant job. Restaurant management candidates need a clear understanding of the basic KPIs before going into a job interview.

1.       Staff and Employment KPI

a.       Wage Costs

b.      Labour Costs

c.       Labour hours

d.      Turnover

e.      Sick days

f.        Length of employment

g.       True hourly pay

2.       Kitchen Management

a.       Food Cost

b.      Food cost per head

c.       Kitchen labour percentage

d.      Kitchen labour hours

e.      Stock/food value

f.        Best/worst selling items

g.       Food waste

h.      Kitchen linen costs

i.         Damages

3.       Front of House

a.       Sales per head

b.      Number of customers

c.       Food, dessert, beverages sales per head

d.      Seating efficiency

e.      Basket analysis

f.        Linen costs

g.       Labour percent

h.      FOH labour hours

i.         Customer satisfaction

j.        Strike Rate

k.       Revenue per Available Seat Hour

4.       Bar

a.       Sales per head

b.      Gross profit on sales

c.       Average percent on sales

d.      Stock/inventory value

e.      Stock turnover

f.        Carrying cost of stock

g.       Discrepancies

5.       Sales and Marketing

a.       Number of customers

b.      Visits by top customers

c.       Sales per head

d.      Marketing and advertising costs

e.      Response rates per marketing/advertising campaign

f.        Press exposure

g.       Bookings

h.      Sales conversion to customer ratio

6.       Management and Administration

a.       Cash at bank

b.      Stock discrepancies

c.       Total accounts due

d.      Total accounts payable

e.      Return on Investment

f.        Taxes owed

g.       Sales and Costs

h.      Administration labor percent

i.         Computer and technology efficiency


This list is not exhaustive, but is meant to help restaurant mangers address the critical issues a recruiter may ask a restaurant management candidate in a job interview.  The person conducting the job interview is not interested in having a chat with you. They want specific answers to questions.

A restaurant candidate who can address the Key Elements instead of offering vague answers and personal opinions will stand out from the rest of the candidates.


Performance Management For the Hospitality Industry

Performance management is one of those catch phrases that few managers understand, even fewer members of the management community can execute. However it is an extremely marketable skill for job seekers and Restaurant Management Candidates.

Restaurant managers who hopes to enjoy a long successful career can benefit by learning how to use this skill set.

As powerful as performance management is as a tool, very few businesses establish a framework that will connect the executives to the employees. Like all good management tools, it is misused by executives and managers with unrealistic expectations.

The problem with performance management is that the executives’ ideals are rarely executable within the budget. They expect too much from the staff, or create demands that make life miserable for the people on the floor.

To succeed, the process needs an intermediary who can create that framework, and bridge the gap.

The Executive View of the Restaurant

The average business strategy focuses on business improvement through strategic change, optimisation, and value improvements. The key focus is customarily operations, leadership, finance and performance. The executives create the plan, and the staff are expected to utilise their talents, skills and experience, to deliver the necessary improvements. The staff are seen as an asset and are often grouped in a very black and white projection of the restaurant’s business model.

The Staff View

Employees do not see themselves as fixed resources, similar to financial or computer systems. Their performance cannot be measured and managed using the same benchmarks. However, their personal values, family, emotional health, physical health, obligations, likes, dislikes and ambitions are ignored when creating the strategy. The conflict between the business and the people is seen in the reports and projections. The ‘human’ element of staff are often seen as peripheral to the pursuit and achievement of the business goals and objectives.

The Manager’s View

 Consultants and Executives often avoid many of the real world, human, elements because they ‘ruin the charts.’ The manager needs to learn what was omitted from the report. They also need to be able to bring up pertinent information ‘after the fact.’ In many cases they do not see a project until the planning phase is over. No matter how many times the executives run into problems because they didn’t consult the managers, they repeat the mistake. A good manager learns how to anticipate this and be able to tell the job interviewer how they avoided problems without laying blame on the executives or the staff.  

Employee Management Strategy

The best strategy is to know your team. This goes beyond conducting performance reviews every three months. I

The Tools

“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it!”

The one benefit of using a template, or software program is that never changes. When everyone is using the same data then everyone can anticipate what might happen in the future.

Data is the manager’s #1 tool. When the business owners can use information within the restaurant’s environment the strategies will be more relevant.

Presenting data to the executives also prevents backlash when a program doesn’t work. If the executives have the data before they make their plans.


Top 3 People Management Attributes for Restaurant Managers

A restaurant manager needs to balance the corporate accountability side of their job, with the social side. Above them are investors, business owners, and general managers. Most of these people have a university BS or equal training. They network with people who are all at the top of their profession. Their world is a series of meetings, assessing risks, and networking with other businesses and politicians.

On the other side of the management job there are the artistic and social personalities in the staff. They do the day to day jobs. The drama of the chefs and hostesses. The high stress and adrenalin that drives certain aspects of the kitchen. Everything is ‘turned on’ and emotional.  One wrong word and your whole kitchen staff can throw up their hands and mutiny.

All three groups of people need to be motivated and managed to generate success. They all have different goals and objectives. They are all motivated by different needs and wants. So how can a manager turn all these people into a single, effective team?

1.       Communication Skills

Can you write a report in AP style grammar using post-secondary level grammar? Afterwards can you have coffee with the floor staff? Can you get both groups behind your plan?  

If you’ve had to do this you know how difficult it is. You need a whole new vocabulary. You need to switch from thinking ‘corporate reports and profit loss’ to ‘weekends off and scheduling PA days.’

If you can’t talk to people you can’t make sure that everyone understand what you need to accomplish.

2.       Cooperation

A good leader is in the service of their people. This concept is hard to understand until you’ve had to put it to the test. Then you realize that it is almost impossible to manage a restaurant unless cooperation is a standard operating procedure.

Leadership skills are learned. They are not something you are born with. It takes time to develop the ability to get everyone on the same path and working towards the same goal. Cooperation is about investment. It is about investing in people and the business.

A good leader learns to think laterally, with everyone from the restaurant owner to the newest waitress on the same level. Leading a restaurant takes a strong commander who is in control, has a plan, and can control people without force.

3.       Accountability and Responsibility

This is where courage comes in. Especially when seeking a new job. Someone needs to accept responsibility for any plan to work. The restaurant manager is the only one who can see the entire picture. Only they know the strengths and weaknesses of every level of the restaurant.

If you want to keep a job.

If you have your eye on a bigger restaurant, or more challenge.

If your future has the word success in it then you must, without compromise, learn how to be the one responsibility for making things happen and solving problems.

New managers, or managers who are low on the career development scale, often mistake being responsible for mistakes as being the scape goat. Being responsible means that you identify problems and look for solutions that satisfy everyone.


Career Advice on Becoming a Restaurant Manager

Some of the top people in the industry offer some intangible advice and aspects of the restaurant management career path.

·         You need the courage to step out of your comfort zone

       ·         You are a business partner

       ·         Career path of a manager is less traditional

       ·         Your career success is founded on your accountability

       ·         Know where you are going, not where you want to go

       ·         Always look for the feedback from every section of the restaurant

       ·         Create your ‘inner circle’ team of about 12 people who share a common goal and

             desire for success

       ·         Take Risk – let people mix it up. Let them explore.

       ·         Build relationships with your team.

       ·         You don’t have to be the focus of the attention. Don’t be afraid to step back and do

             your job and let others do theirs.

       ·         You are not the star of the show, you are the stage manager.

       ·         The manager’s place is in the shadows

       ·         Your success is based on people’s perception

       ·         Dedication and hard work

       ·         Never be afraid to step in at any station in the restaurant.

       ·         Know the trends. Know the local events. Know what sells and what doesn’t.

       ·         If you study anything – study people, personalities, communication skills.

       ·         Never stop learning – ever

       ·         Your potential is limited by your social skills

       ·         No job is below you. Whatever you need to do for success.

       ·         Don’t bother until you learn and understand Restaurant Profit and Loss (P&L)

       ·         Never lose sight of what the rest of the market is doing

       ·         What is new in the restaurant sector today? If you can answer this then you are ready.


Is Your Body Language Limiting Your Opportunities?

Relaxed Body Language = Confidence

The relaxed body language used by a factory worker is vastly different than the body language used by a manager in the hospitality industry. This is why body language is so important in the job interview.

If you don’t believe this attend a few networking meetings. The professionals at the top of their career can always pick out the eager young prospect who is ‘following the career development books.’ Both by what they say and whether they act like a manager, student, or someone who has learned ‘on the job.’

This new Candidate has learned what needs to be done, but are limited to the body language and communication style at their current career level. Unfortunately younger prospects never receive any help or mentors because they haven’t reached the ‘give and take’ or collaboration level of their careers.

Managers don’t have time for ‘takers’. If you want a mentor then develop a set of skills that he/she needs. Then learn how to demonstrate them in a way that will win the mentor’s respect.

You learn body language from your peers. If you limit yourself to your current peers then you limit your communication style.

Here are a couple ways that body language can be misinterpreted. To a person low on the learning curve, being relaxed or leaning forward may ‘sound’ like good advice.

Too Relaxed = Disrespect or Arrogance

Restaurant managers need to possess a high EQ, (emotional quotient). They learn how to interact with expressive/artistic personality types, including other managers. You need to understand more than the Robert’s Rules of Order, you need to know how to communicate with other expressive people without offending them.  

1. Chatting or texting during a meeting.

 2. Scrolling through your tablet or phone, or using your laptop when not instructed to(where others are not).

 3. Doodling on your note pad. This can also include taking notes when the speaker feels they are making a strong, valid point.

 4. Rolling your eyes, sighing, leaning on your hand, showing any boredom body language, or yawning.

 5. Stretching your arms out to the side and placing them behind your head, or crossing them on your chest. This might be okay on its own, but if you also sigh, roll your eyes, or look at your watch or clock, the message is, “You’re boring me.”

6. Mirroring might work when selling to the average consumer, but it can be construed as patronizing when in a job interview or when used with a type A personality.

Remember that when you are in a job interview, or a meeting, that the person in front of you expects a certain level of respect and affirmation. They want to see strong ‘active listening’ skills.

Moving Forward Body Language = Boredom and Disrespect

These five actions tell others: “I’m ready to bolt… “  “I have finished with you.” “I have more important things to do ….”

1. Glancing toward the door.

2. Looking at your watch or up at a clock..

3. Taking one step sideways toward the door from a standing position. This can include shifting your weight in a chair that can be seen as an act of moving away or putting distance between you and the speaker.

4. Point #3 can include moving one foot in front of the other. As your torso moves slightly in the direction of your foot you are giving the impression that you’re on your way out.

5.  Looking from side to side while others are talking. You’re scanning to see who’s going to get up first so that you can quickly follow. This can be mistaken as ‘taking control’ or as an aggressive move.


What Type of Restaurant Do You Want to Manage?

New restaurants open all the time. They vary from pizza chains to sushi, English café’s to all-you-can-eat Buffets. But if you want to grow as a restaurant manager you need to look past the menu and find the type of restaurant where you belong.

Full Service Restaurants

These encapsulate the old-fashioned idea of ‘a night out’. The hostess invites guests to be seated at tables. The menu doesn’t define these restaurants. Whether there is a bar or not does not identify these restaurants.

If you are good at customer service, like to keep things the same, and are all about the experience then this might be where your skill set will be most appreciated.

Fine Dining

This is a top of the ladder. There is no room for error. The client’s expect the best experience, the best food, and the best service.

Think ‘theater’ if you want to manage this type of restaurant. It doesn’t matter what happened with the delivery, or which server is in the middle of a divorce. The ‘show’ must come off without a hitch.

Casual Dining

This is a full service eatery that is geared towards families.  On the surface this may seem like an easier restaurant to manage but only the uninitiated would think this. The competition is high. Your clientele is not loyal.

Fast Food

These franchises want the exact same experience every time the patron enters the restaurant. Each portion must be the same size every time, every day. There is no room for creativity. There is no room for expression. The manual must be followed.

Quick Serve

These restaurants capitalize on speed of service. They have simple décor, inexpensive foot items, and a lot of competition. The typical quick serve restaurant is a coffee shop. There is a lot of turn over, and the employee base isn’t committed. The average quick food restaurant flips owners every three years.

These definitions may seem common sense to the average person developing a restaurant manager’s career. But they deserve a second thought. If you are not happy in your current hospitality job then maybe you are in the wrong restaurant. If you are looking for a new challenge then maybe you can find one that doesn’t have the same hassles as your current position.


Top 5 Biggest Interview Mistakes

The internet is full of lists of interview mistakes. Most of them are extremely vague and don’t apply to hospitality jobs. This list is not unique, but we’ve added a twist to help people interviewing for a hospitality job       

      1. Stop Talking

The interviewer wants specific information. Talking over, or trying to get the last word in, is one of the biggest mistakes the job Candidate can make. The interviewer might be trying to interrupt because the information you offer is not what they are looking for. Or, they might be trying to assess your personality. 

They may also, mistakenly, misinterpret your ‘gabbiness’ as a sign of stress and nervousness.  

One mistake that fits into this category is answering for the company. This often happens in the negotiation stage. Some people will be so busy talking they hold both sides of the conversation.

2. Listen

The inability to listen not only shows a level of immaturity or an egocentric personality, but it also shows a lack of respect, and may show that you really are not a team player. Active listening is the ability to listen, answer, and then assess the other person’s reaction.

Your ability to listen can also come to play in your manners. A person who listens well, but has a weak handshake might be an introvert. Listening well, a strong handshake, but not following up is considered inappropriate.

      3. Toxic Communication

This might seem like common sense, but it happens in job interviews too often. The interviewer is trained in behavior and interviewing tactics. Their ‘understanding’ and friendliness may be a way to see if you will loosen up and offer information you wouldn’t have given otherwise.

A creative person can always come up with a tactful way to explain their last job. From your point of view the interviewer may catch you ‘off guard’ with a couple questions. From the interviewer’s point of view you had time to prepare, there are people to help, and resources you can use. There is no reason to make mistakes.

      4. Take Responsibility

The interviewer may ask questions they know you will fail. They want you to fail so they can gauge your reaction. One of the biggest red flags can be someone who doesn’t admit their mistakes. This can indicate that the person has emotional problems and suffer from anxiety, or they are apathetic and don’t take risk or responsibility.

      5. Trying Too Hard

In the hospitality industry confidence is vital, but check the supersized ego when you go to the job interview. Most Human Resource professionals learn, right at the beginning of their career, not to bring a person with an ego, anger, or anxiety issues into the workplace.

Don’t try posturing. Don’t mimic the HR professional’s body language. Remember that HR Professionals have high EQs. They can pick up on the slightest nuance that most people overlook.

Trying too hard can also include curbing your enthusiasm. One side you need to act like you care whether you earn the job. It is just as important not to appear hyper, or unable to control your emotions.


Tips To Grow Your Restaurant Manager Career

Restaurant management is a challenging and multi-faceted role that only the truly passionate can make a success of, and taking the next step in your career beyond that position can be daunting.

For those who have climbed the ladder and are looking for the next step in their restaurant manager career, what’s the best way to make the most of the skills and experience you’ve gained?

Know The Job

Do you know what software most restaurants use for taking reservations? What about making purchases and organization inventory.  What bookkeeping software can you use?

Do you know how to manage a tip pool (jar) so it is legal?

Do you know what the People Equity Model is?

Can You Market Your Ideas?

Can you successfully market your ideas and negotiate so that you can make things happen? Being manager doesn’t mean that you have the power to make plans and execute changes in the restaurant. You need to be able to get the boss or board to ‘buy into’ your plans.

Work your way up.

One of the strengths that a good restaurant manager has is knowledge of the industry from the ground up. From kitchen porter to waiter to greeter, a manager has often climbed through the ranks and understands the challenges of each role – and therefore knows how to get the best from their staff and make their restaurant efficient and successful, running like a well-oiled machine in which the guest is always satisfied.

Start small, aim high.

Managing a restaurant is a big job – from organizing the deliveries and produce to setting the menu for the week, ensuring the staff are capable and happy, and guiding the team to be in the right place at the right time without dropping the ball, all while showing a calm and welcoming face on the restaurant floor so that guests are served, satisfied and smiling.

Taking the job of running a smaller restaurant then moving to a bigger, busier, more challenging role is sensible to learn the balancing act on a smaller scale in order to grasp each aspect before scaling up in a busier environment.

Figures, facts and faces.

Staff rota's and menus aren’t the only aspect of restaurant management – and knowing the figures for what’s spent on produce, on staff, on table wears and more as well as what’s coming in, what the balance means, and where it could be improved are vital.

Just as important is knowing where the produce comes from, where the chef learned their trade, which members of staff have what strengths and passions within the business, and who the best customers are.

Look before you leap.

Generally, restaurants have a high turnover of staff. The long hours, split shifts and late nights can wear people who aren’t suited to the environment, and it can be tempting to leap to a new position.

Dedicating yourself to restaurant management, and to taking the next step in your career, means long hours, late nights, balancing your staff and keeping guests happy. It’s important to be committed to ensure that your team has the same dedication.


Recruiters Speak Out: Why You Didn’t Get The Job

Every job hunter has asked “Where did I go wrong?” Most of us are experts at coming up with dozens of answers to this question. There are so many little things that can ruin a job interview, but most often it is one of the big things.

1.       Tried to Control the Job Interview

The interviewer has an agenda. They were given a list of issues they want to cover, and a blueprint of the perfect candidate. They know what is needed in a restaurant manager, and need to go through a big stack of resumes. They don’t have the time or patience to listen to you talk for 10 minutes on your ability to negotiate or how many great projects you ran for your last employer.

2.       Lack of Follow Up

Proactive follow up is vital. Recruiters and interviewers see this as a lack of interest. But more important, it indicates how responsible you are. If you cannot stay focused long enough to win the job, then you will not be responsible with your day to day tasks.

3.       Do your homework

We all have read ‘biggest mistakes’ lists that tell us to research the company. Many Candidates research long enough to learn the corporate line. Then they give away their ignorance. The interviewer may bring up a social issue in what seems to be casual conversation. You passionately give your opinion – which conflicts with the major charity the corporation that owns the restaurant.

4.       Ambition

All companies want ambitious people. But an overly ambitious person can cause more conflict in the workplace than they are worth. An interviewer is not interested in placing a driven, highly educated, overly ambitious person in an entry level position. They know from experience that this person will leave the first time a better opportunity is offered.

5.       No ambition

Lacking ambition, or playing the victim, is a red flag. A person may have a string of bad luck but most professionals can work through it and get over it without bringing their personal life to the workplace. Maybe there has been a string of bad luck in your life over the last two years. Do not mistake the job interview for a therapy session. This is not the place to vent your problems with the world.

6.       Keeping  Confidences

Someone with a loose tongue can cause more troubles in the workplace than most people can imagine. At one end of the scale is the conflict in the workplace caused by gossip. Fractures among team members is a small problem compared to the possible ‘labor board’ issues and legal issues that might arise when intellectual property, confidences, or gossip.

7.       Attitude

A person can have the best education, experience, and still have a low self-esteem or nervous disposition.  Some people may think they are acting like a team player, when they may appear to lack confidence.

These are only a few of the things I’ve heard career coaches and recruiters discuss. If you want some feedback then hire a career coach to interview you. They may be able to offer insight into your presentation, and help with future job interviews.


Quiz: Should You Quit Your Job?

Maybe your current managerial job isn’t challenging enough. Maybe there are personal difficulties in the workplace. Or maybe you feel it is time for a pay raise. Your reason is not important. What is most important is knowing when moving manager jobs –

It is more important when you change manager jobs than why.

1. How long have you been at your current job?

Staying too long at a job is almost as bad as staying too soon. Flipping a job in less than 2 years is a major red flag. Flipping more than one job in less than 2 years can make you a high risk for any future hospitality job.

2. Have you prepared for your move?

Hospitality jobs evolve as the industry seeks out new opportunities and fights to stay competitive. Hospitality recruiters are looking for managers who are ‘responding’ to the hospitality industry, not ‘reacting’ to their current situation.

A manager who has responded to the industry is taking courses and preparing. An optimum candidate has been preparing for 1 – 2 years before making the leap to a new job.

3. Is Your restaurant in Trouble or Making Big Changes?

This can work in your favor, or against. You do not want to appear like you are jumping ship instead of buckling under and helping steer your current employer to bigger and better things.

There are many things in your current position that can position you to appear more favorable in your next job interview:

      a)      Take part. Show that you have a good rapport with your current employer. Show that you are able to make plans and execute them successfully. The most important part is to journal everything. Keep communications. Prepare a ‘plan’ of action complete with problems solved and opportunities accepted.

      b)      Your plan of action is an opportunity. Take it to the job interview with you. It shows that you can make plans, are organized, and can use the past to improve your future performance.

      c)       Work out the figures. Show any profit, loss, expenses that benefited the company. Take the initiative and show that you can give ‘before’ you are asked.


4. Can you afford to switch jobs?

It takes money to market yourself. This can be measured in actual expenses, loss of revenue, and cost of starting a new job.

It is easy to measure the tangible. It is more difficult to measure the intangible. These include relationships, family, social circles, educational and volunteer opportunities. Even more complex things to consider include: quality of housing, suitable neighborhoods, short commutes, schools, hospitals, and local vacation and recreational. One of the most difficult to measure can be the potential opportunities in the area. You do not want to move to a new job and then in 2 years uproot your life and remove.

Once you’ve determined that you can move, it is necessary to identify the locations that you can move too.

5. Why are you switching jobs?

Sometimes it is easy to run from your problems. The problem arises when you run from one set of problems into another set. How in-depth is your Career Development and Transition plan? Have you thought everything out well?


The most important question you need to ask is ‘can I turn down the first, second, and third good job that I am offered?  If you can say yes to this then you are probably in a good position to make the move to a new job.


Project Management Skills That Recruiters Look For In Restaurant Manager Resumes

Anyone can work their way up the career ladder to reach the position of restaurant manager is a challenge, and one which comes with a lot of useful skills. One of the skills that you can learn ‘off the job’ is project management.

No education is required to be an assistant manager. It just takes time and effort. Working their way up the corporate ladder takes skill and patience.  The most important factor in getting an assistant manager job is to demonstrated ability and knowledge of the restaurant you’re working in. A lot of assistant manager jobs are filled by lower level employees who showed their superiors they have what it takes to be in charge.

Prove You Can Save and Make Money

Managers have one job – to make money. Get all the experience you can, even volunteer work, that gives you the opportunity to be in charge of the budget.

Know the software

There is no use gaining the skills as a project manager if you do not know how to use the software.

Knowledge about their area

A great project manager has a lot of knowledge about their industry – and a restaurant manager is no different. Knowledge about every aspect of the role and how to tie it all together successfully is vital – and this is a skill that is important no matter what the project is.

Restaurant managers are adaptable, quick learners, and think on their feet to ensure services are delivered and the whole team pulls their weight. This is a skill that transfers perfectly into project management positions.

Leadership skills and people management

Managing a team within a restaurant is a fine balancing act – and many of the staff have vastly different working hours and shifts.

Managing this, and ensuring that the team is strong together and support each other, is a leadership skill that is highly desirable in project management.

Understanding the strengths of a team and guiding them to perform well together, each meeting their targets and workload, is something restaurant managers – and project managers – do very well.

Organizational skills

It isn’t just managing the people in the team – it’s also understanding what they need, where they need it, and when. It’s the who, what, why, where, when and how of bringing everything together – and a good restaurant manager is on top of all of these aspects.

Project management is all about tying together everyone’s needs and skills and overseeing the work of many people to ensure things run smoothly.

Time management

An awareness of what is happening when is vital in both restaurant management and project management. Careful forethought and an instinctive understanding of every area of the project is something that can transfer from one role to another, and is highly desirable on a resume.

Communication on many levels

From clients, customers and members of the public, through every level of staffing and service provider, from student to Director, communicating effectively to share messages, guide the team, and ensure that the project completes efficiently, a good project manager is able to communicate well at all levels. This is a skill that is vital in project management.


Mistakes Young Managers Make

When you are at the beginning of your career and everything is moving up and forward. There are no major mistakes to mar your path, reduce your willingness to take risks, and you think your career will go on like this for the next 35 years. Blind enthusiasm will only get you so far and then you’ll make that big career mistake.

Most of us are lucky enough to have the time needed to build skills slowly through experience. Smart mangers let their peers influence and motivate them. And they learn how to avoid the following mistakes.

1.       1. I’m On Top

The biggest mistake young managers make is to believe that they are a ‘one man act.’ They are intoxicated by power and success without realizing that they are just a member of the team. In many ways the manager is no more valuable than the chef, or hostess at the front.

This can be especially true if there is a rapport with one of the owners, and the manager feels like they have information and an ‘in’ that the general manger doesn’t have. It may go the other way. There is a working relationship with the general manager that appears to exclude the kitchen manager and bar staff.

2.       2. Too Busy To Do My Job

As responsibility grows it can seem mundane to focus on the day to day tasks that make the restaurant run. Opening and closing may seem to be ‘beneath’ you now. What happens next? You pay less attention to these jobs, or pass them off to someone else.

Avoiding your duties forced others to pick up the slack. Or your attitude may provoke resentment from other team members, like the kitchen manager who has been a key component of the restaurant’s success for 10 years and seen three young managers leave before you.

3.       3. I Reacted instead of Responded

  • This can take many forms.
  •  Anger at people who are trying to sabotage your plans
  • Resentment at other employees who don’t understand the importance of your job.
  • Trying to seek favor and manipulate, causing you to fracture the team.
  • Starting to gossip, or support toxic communication in the workplace.

4.       4. Over estimating

There are several things you can over estimate:

  • Influence
  • Power
  • Support of those higher up
  • The importance and influence of your position
  • The ‘understanding’ you expect when the weekly till comes up $500 short, and you can’t track the loss because you are not sure who closed the restaurant. 

What happens next can be devastating for a new manager. What happens most often is being told to get back to your job, stop causing problems, or leave.

If you are lucky, there is a senior manager trying to help mentor you. Smart professionals take the help and build alliances. They can help you keep your feet on the ground and keep focused. If you don’t have a mentor then find one.


How to Land a Restaurant Manager’s Job: Eliminate Excuses

There are several ways to land a restaurant management job. Most of them follow common sense. But climbing the ‘Career Learning Curve’ is full of mistakes and blunders you wish you could forget. There are some skill sets that people never learn until after they have landed the job and gained some experience. These ‘intangible’ skills are the things that separate skilled restaurant managers from people trying to break into a management position.

One of these intangibles are the ability to control a situation, even if you are not in the room. Restaurant managers have all the responsibility but very little of the hands on work.

This requires a skillset that most people don’t even consider when career planning. When you walk into a job interview, the Hiring Manager is more interested in your ability to manage the situation than what is written on your resume.

How do you confidently manage a meeting, presentation, or job interview without using behaviors or body language that can stall your career or cost you a promotion?

One of the biggest indicators of a manager’s ability to take responsibility and control situations is whether they tell excuses. This causes a problem for job seekers. Once you start making an excuse, or trying to explain why it wasn’t your fault, then it is too late.

The Message Map is a Powerful Communication Tool

The message map is a tool that you want to learn how to use long before a job interview. This is a tool that helps professionals collect their thoughts, and stay on track when communicating.  There are several advantages to this.

The message map creates a visual display of your story on a single page. You can use a white board, or paper, ipad or laptop.

Step #1 What Is The 1 Overlying Message You Want To Convey? 

Most mistakes are caused because what one person says isn’t what another person heard.

Learn to summarize your message in a twitter type message that focuses on one important point and no more than 4 sub points. Now that you’ve written down the points you want to say, rewrite the message so that your audience wants to hear what you have to say. This applies for business meetings and job interviews. Keep these points ‘important’ to your audience.

For example, you need the kitchen to reduce wasted food. You craft an excellent motivational speech with some solid solutions. The kitchen staff only hears that you are making their job harder. When this happens repeatedly the conflict increases, and the amount of food wasted in the kitchen may not be reduced.

Step #2 Do Not Be Emotional

Once you create the blueprint you can direct the conversation without becoming emotionally involved. This is especially important when you need to avoid defending yourself.  Do not own the problem. Do you need to eliminate the problem or the consequences of an action, which caused a problem? Think carefully about this.

Step #3 Connect to Your Creativity

This may seem impossible in a job interview, and it can be, unless you practice. What you need to understand is that there is a difference between creativity and ‘making something up.’  Your creativity is what inspires you. It is your motivation.

Your creativity is what gives you the power to make things happen.  Just think ‘Steve Jobs.’ He says ‘creativity is just connecting things.’ He turns ideas into tangible products. You are a product that needs to be sold. Your consumer is the person you are talking to. 

One mistake that many people make is only focusing on the practical aspects. Steve Jobs took Calligraphy in college. It had no practical application, but later it became part of the fonts on Mac which caught people’s attention.

Step #3  Learn to Say No

In American culture the person who has the power to say no, is the person who is in charge. If you want to psychologically tip the balance in your favor then you need to learn ‘how’ to say no in a way that empowers you without creating negative consequences.

This can also include knowing when to say no.  A smart manager learns how to negotiate and take control without needing to start a fight.

How To Apply These Skills in a Job Interview

If you can master these things communication skills then you will be able to control a conversation.

Once you can do that you will be able to enter a job interview confidently. You will be able to handle the most stressful questions, and face the most devastating problems without being bullied or forced to defend yourself.

Once you can do this you can avoid excuses in the job interview, and your new management career.


Hospitality Jobs: Working For Family Owned Restaurant

Every restaurant manager has shared experiences working with the Family Owned Business. This restaurant is unique in the hospitality industry. There are challenges you will not face anywhere else.

There can be benefits, but it takes a unique set of skills to manage the entrepreneurial spirit in the restaurant owner as well as the management challenges of being responsible, but not in charge. Not every manager can thrive in the environment. Others are able to take control of the environment and use the situation to advance their management career.

Restaurant Manager Job Description

The questions ‘What does a restaurant manager do’ is easiest answered, ‘whatever needs to be done.’ Each small business has its own challenges, and problems.

It is very important to ask all the right questions, and request a job description in writing.  Make sure that everyone understands the responsibilities of each member of the restaurant team. It is very dangerous to enter a family owned restaurant without a solid, in writing, contract outlining your job.

The Job Hiring Process

The family restaurant places a job advertisement in a hospitality website, or hires a hospitality recruiter to manage their Human Resources. But they do not approach the hiring task in the same way franchises would tackle the task.

Family restaurants often offer lots of opportunity. They paint a family atmosphere where everyone is valued. Unfortunately this is rarely the case. Families squabble, and they have their petty differences. In any case, they rarely allow others to take control, even if their decisions are detrimental to the restaurant’s success.

Career Advancement

In a small kitchen the manager may end up doing everything. This can be a good learning experience, but may not prepare you for working in a larger restaurant.

It is important to understand that the experience gained i n a family owned restaurant will not prepare you to work in a bigger restaurant. It may backfire and stall your career.

Skill Set

Career advancement isn’t a priority in smaller restaurants. There is very little coaching or mentoring. The skill set and mindset needed to run a small restaurant is different. There is no focus on improving skills or continuing education.

The family restaurant is often viewed as a job which rewards the employees with nothing more than a paycheck. This can leave an ambitious restaurant manager frustrated.

Hiring Process

There are a few things you can do to make sure you do not regret being hired into a restaurant where the owners who want to be in charge, but do not take responsibility for the restaurant’s success.

1.       1. Watch everyone’s emotions. Do not meet just one of the key players. Meet them all. Be cautious if they want to keep some people ‘out of view’ until after the hiring process is over.

2.       2. Be careful if the restaurant is presented as ‘too good to be true.’

3.       3. The second point also applies to the owners. Are they too friendly, too amicable, or too forward? 

4.       4. Do the owners talk about the latest trends? What career advancement do they prepare you for. More important, how will they train you? Experience will only take you so far. If there are no courses, mentoring, or advancement explained ‘in detail’ then assume they are not skilled enough to offer these to you.

5.       5. Get it in writing. Do not accept anything on a hand shake.

6.       6. Ask why the last manager left.

These are only a few of the ways to protect your career if you consider working in a family owned restaurant. They will help you pick the best one, with the best working atmosphere.


Hospitality Job Description: Restaurant Manager

In a smaller restaurant the restaurant manager will execute most of the tasks normally assigned to a general manager. In a larger restaurant they will have a specific set of tasks and responsibilities. We outlined both in this job for two reasons:

1.       1. To help new candidates decide whether their skill set and personality make them suitable for a restaurant management position, or a general manger.

2.       2. To highlight some of the basic elements of a job and maybe identify why you are unhappy with your current job. Are you a restaurant manager in a general manager’s position, or vice versa?

We are not going to focus too tightly on the typical jobs. This article will focus on the points that are important to highlight when at a job interview.

1.       1. Watch the cash

The interviewer will rarely ask about your cash management system in the job interview, but it is important to let them know that you have a tight grip on the cash. That you put procedures in place that ensure mistakes can be caught as soon as possible.

It is also important to watch the cash coming in, and cash going out. The job description may state your purchases and daily expenses, but general managers and owners don’t want to find piles of stock in the back, but no money to cover expenses.

2.       2. Reviews and Customer Word of Mouth

The restaurant manager should take an active interest in the atmosphere and mood on the floor. This may not mean that you are actively on the floor all night. But it is important to focus on what is being said, what makes customers happy, and how many loyal patrons frequent the restaurant.

3.       3. The customer is always right.

This is the golden rule. And it is not true. It is one thing to sit in a job interview and state that you are able to handle customer complaints, but how? Do you have a coaching or customer service method in place? Does your customer service plan work? Do you keep all the customers happy at the owner’s expense?  These are all things the interviewer needs to know.

4.       4. Know the POS system

The restaurant manager should know their Point of Sale system inside and out. Make sure that the interviewer is aware that you know the POS system, where to find support, and how to fix problems.

5.       5. Watch the little things

If you don’t know like how the interview is going then focus on the little things you managed that saved the company money, improved customer service, improved employee retention. 

When you are looking for a restaurant management job just remember that it is all about the bottom line. Profit and Loss is the primary job of the restaurant manager.


Hospitality Job Description: General Manager

This article is written to help whether you are working on career development, or are preparing yourself for to transition jobs. If you are ready for a restaurant manager’s job then this information is not new. The objective of this article is to help clarify the job descriptions in an effort to help identify strengths and weaknesses.

Hopefully this article will also reveal why you are unhappy at your current job.

General Manager Job Description

The best general managers have strong operational skills. For a hospitality job this must be balanced with strong personality traits and the ability to coach and manage. On the surface the General Manger’s position looks like a desk job. In reality the General Manager is a supervisor.

The restaurant will not want a general manager whose experience is in a different type of restaurant. There are important skills needed as a non-manger that are learned by experience only. The general manager position isn’t the place to ‘learn on the job.’ It isn’t the place for someone who wants to sit behind a desk. A good general manager will have experience as a dishwasher, and helping unload the truck, as cashier, and trainer.

A smart hiring manager will also look for a general manager who is comfortable coaching, rewarding, and can tactfully discipline employees without drawing legal or labor board retaliation.

This isn’t a 9-5 job. An average work week can be 60+ hours. There needs to be a strong sense of integrity. The show man who is quick with smiles and a good story may not come through in the end.

When hiring a general manager the recruiter should feel like ‘the interviewer is interviewing another interviewer.’ The general manager candidate should get the questions, know what to answer without needing to think, and even anticipate the purpose and directive.

A smart interview will offer the name and experience of the software used, companies they’ve purchased from, and organizations they’ve worked with.

It may also be advantageous to highlight any event planning or projects that came off successfully. This service may not be offered by the restaurant, but the skills needed can benefit most restaurants.

If your Candidate cannot market themselves successfully then they cannot market the restaurant. This should not be overlooked. A general manger who has no interest in marketing and advertising – or thinks they can do it themselves – can only do half the job. Today the general manager needs to focus on print, facebook, twitter, and even community involvement.

Before you leave the interview make sure you’ve focused on the owners. A general manager is the only person who has the owner’s back. The owner has invested their life, their wealth, and their future into a restaurant business. It is the general manager’s responsibility to protect that investment.