7 Restaurant Management Skills Every Manager Should Master

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June 13, 2022
Restaurant Management Skills

In the aftermath of the challenges 2020 and 2021 threw at us all, the restaurant industry and consumer demands are changing rapidly. Now, more than ever, having great restaurant manager skills are imperative if your business is to flourish. 

Let’s take a deeper look into the managerial role, how to keep the business machine well-oiled and remain stoical in the face of those challenges. 

What does a restaurant manager do?

A restaurant manager will lead day-to-day operations and ensure the business remains well-organized, and a fruitful enterprise for both customers and employees. A restaurant manager must have the skills of a puppeteer, keeping everything from business reports to team culture and workplace satisfaction working in unison to ensure an owner’s creative vision for the restaurant can be actualized. 

restaurant management skills

What skills does a restaurant manager need?

In the fast paced environment that is the hospitality industry, a good manager needs to be well equipped to handle any hurdles that come their way. As a manager, it’s essential you know how to lead your team cooperatively, as well as how to prioritize your tasks and responsibilities with the right attitude for success. Here we’ve condensed some characteristics of a skillful manager to guide you. 

1 - Hone leadership skills.

A team-oriented environment can help soothe the biggest issue faced by restaurant management: high staff turnover. According to Gallup, an engaged team can help reduce turnover by 24%. One of the most important skills you need as a restaurant manager is to lead by example, listen to your team and give clear direction. 

Former Microsoft Europe Chairman, Jan Muhlfeit emphasizes in his book, “The Positive Leader” the power of positive psychology: 

Positive psychology is about fostering a mindset and workplace culture that’s been empirically proven to fuel greater success and achievement.
_ Jan Muhlfeit, The Positive Leader

Motivated staff are invaluable to your business success through reducing turnover. Muhlfeit cites several studies, such as one conducted in 2014 by researchers at Warwick University in the UK, finding a 12% spike in productivity from happy workers, and a 10% lag in unhappy members. Employees need to feel like what they do matters, and that they are seen and heard.  They will then feel empowered and that will permeate through to better customer service, and greater team loyalty.

2 - Focus on time management. 

If you’re seeking to improve your skills as a restaurant manager, working on your time management is a great way to streamline day-to-day operations and promote an organized flow of business tasks. In order to do this, you need to be good with prioritization and attention to detail. Your ability to stay calm in stressful situations and multitask is the key to great management. Plan your shifts in advance to get it all done, but be aware that situations will always arise to throw you off your game—you just have to be flexible and keep your eye on your goals. 

Look for software that allows you to let go of and delegate manual work tasks, to help you stay focused on growing your business. Real-time reports, like those provided by Push, give you the opportunity to be responsive and not reactive. This technological aid can clear the way for better prioritization, a deeper understanding of your restaurant’s core, and improve decision making for better business optimization. 

3 - Lean into delegation and automation.

Budgets, scheduling, payroll… These may seem humdrum, but they are key to the smooth-running of any business. Time tracking apps can help you stay organized, particularly with the current labor shortage, which means that workers are looking for a greater financial reward for the risks and uncertainties involved in working in the modern world. 

Streamline service through mobile POS systems that allow guests to check in, order and pay without the need for any direct contact with a member of your staff. Labor forecasting means that you will be able to schedule fewer staff members when shifts are predicted to be slower, saving your money on labor costs. The elimination of redundant roles can be facilitated through automation—for example, facial recognition time tracking can prevent buddy punching and time theft. Similarly, integrated payroll saves you time and money through removing the need for attention to different pay rates for different roles, as well as accommodating staff breaks. Using automation will mean that you, as a manager, will be able to be on the floor more often, instead of sitting over tedious manual admin tasks.

restaurant management skills

4 - Get a grasp on the industry and trends.

2022 is predicted to be a year for new and ingenious solutions to challenges posed by our political climate. According to experts at Techonomic, who describe it as the “Year of the Climb”, restaurant sales are expected to increase by 10.4%. Limited resources due to supply chain issues, and labor shortages, are soon to be resolved on the path to economic recovery. Educational requirements for managerial roles have been dropped, encouraging employment and improving working conditions. 

Restaurants have been reopening in new ways to comply with COVID regulations, promoting roadside outdoor options and changing the way hospitality operates. New layouts adjusted for changing consumer demands have facilitated greater takeaway and delivery volume. Supply constraints have led to a new emphasis  on locally sourced produce, as well as on plant-based menus and sustainable dining. 

According to the National Restaurant’s Association’s What’s Hot in 2022 Culinary Forecast”, the number one trend is eco-friendly packaging, due to the rise in sales for delivery items from the pandemic. Another popular industry development has been the use of QR codes to reduce contact in restaurants, which can simultaneously save you on labor costs. Top notch websites have been higher in demand as a result of increased deliveries, and 88% of reservations are now being made online. Software integration has never been more essential to the success of your business.

5 - Own the hiring strategy and company ethos.

Employee turnover being the largest issue fronting the hospitality industry, an essential restaurant manager skill you’ll need is a focus on your hiring strategy to protect the company ethos at all costs. CareerBuilder tells us that turnover was at 66.3% in 2014, and 46.5% of that is from staff quitting! By making learning a priority for your staff satisfaction, you can protect your business from high turnover, and bring out the very best from your team. 

You’ll need effective human resource management when developing an interview strategy, saving you the hassle of hiring and training employees twice over. Push offers HR management software that can inform the hiring process, and our recently launched customizable interview tracking templates are able to keep track of applicant responses in an easy-to-use way. 

Take the time to find people who mesh with your team and culture. Make sure you hire the right employee and put them on a growth path. Using a strengths-based approach, you’re able to make their training goals achievable and appropriate for the person and position. Mentorship programs are a great way to engage your old staff with your new, and gain consistency over the level of training and experience across your team. It’s also a great way for your staff to bond and have fun at work.

restaurant management skills

6 - Focus on problem solving and conflict management skills.

The ability to problem solve plays an important role in = defusing high tension situations, and can actually save you on operating costs. A consulting firm at Arbinger Institute stated in a paper that each conflict costs a business ~$255,000 in lost time, decreased productivity and poor decision making. 

A cooperative team setting will reduce the number of conflicts, although they are inevitable. This means protecting the team ethos and being transparent with your communication, allowing them to trust you as a manager. Be fair when listening to both sides, and make sure both parties feel seen and validated in the way they feel. 

Dealing with supply shortages and ordering mistakes, last minute staff callouts and even emergency medical situations can be highly stressful, so it’s an important restaurant manager skill to be able to think calmly and swiftly in overwhelming circumstances. Software can help you organize these situations by preparing you in advance. Through forecasting and effective communication, it keeps workers happy and feeling empowered by giving them convenient, real time access to their schedules.

7 - Communication skills are managerial skills.

The International Conference on Arts, Behavioral Sciences and Economic Issues conducted research on the value of communication:

“Communication gives the feeling of belonging and sense of partnership with employees working in the organization. When employees feel they've been heard and that they can communicate with their supervisors at any time, they feel more a part of a group and are more motivated to work.”

This skill is especially valuable for restaurant managers because of the particularly high-stress industry ecosystem they organize. The average person spends 13 years of their life at work, so it’s important to know your staff and make genuine human connections with them. Employees who have fun at work will go above and beyond for you, so consider engaging your team with competitions to motivate them and foster team spirit. Get staff to participate in decision making, value their experiences and knowledge and ask for their feedback. Push offers feedback surveys for when employees clock in, allowing you to gain insight into your team and for their ideas and opinions to be valued. 

The bottom line. 

In our ever-evolving modern world, businesses need to adapt to survive, particularly in how they are organized at their core. Restaurant managers already had a lot on their plates—now, considering the changes the industry has taken on, it’s increasingly more important to refine your skills in running your business, and understand the role technology can play in streamlining operations. 

If you’re curious about how Push works and what we’re all about, don’t hesitate to contact us with any enquiries. We’re here to help!

restaurant management skills

Table of content

June 2022


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