6 Things To Consider When Hiring A General Manager

Cheryl Gardner

Hiring a General Manager can be a difficult process and finding the right person can be critical to the success of a restaurant.

When looking for a General Manager, or GM, there are several things to consider first to help to understand who your best candidate is. Below you will find the essentials in what to look for when hiring a GM:

1 - Can the candidate represent the concept and the brand?

It is essential to look for a candidate that will be a good fit with the concept, company culture and brand. It is imperative your General Manager is fully “bought in” to the concept and brand so they can properly represent it and can develop a sense of personal commitment to the core values and culture of the restaurant. The result - the highly effective management style of managing the brand to manage its people.

2 - Is the candidate humble?

Is the candidate humble or driven by ego? It is essential to flush this out in the interview process as you need to ensure the candidates ego is in check, or your risk having your General Manager putting themselves in front of the brand. Ego can lead to a skewed decision-making process and can become a liability for the business. A candidate the demonstrates a level of humbleness, will be more inclined to put the business first.

3 - Does the candidate possess strong leadership qualities?

It is essential your candidate possesses well developed leadership qualities. They must lead by example and not have a “do as I say and not what I do” attitude. As the General Manager is ultimately responsible for the performance of every team member in the environment, they will need to demonstrate that they are a positive and upbeat leader that can get what the business needs from every team member. They also need to demonstrate that they can manage a strong training program, can take corrective action with team members that are not performing well and can fire team members that are not meeting the standards of the brand.

4 - Is the candidate fiscally responsible?

It is essential your General Manager has good exposure to managing a budget. This would include all of your controllables such as labour management to inventory processes and Cost of Goods Sold management. They must have the ability to drive revenue and must be innovative and proactive to meet and exceed these goals. Your General Manager candidate must have a proven track record of success in driving sales and managing costs.

5 - Does the candidate understand the philosophy and metrics behind providing great service?

It is essential your candidate has a full understanding of the philosophy and metrics behind providing great service. A General Manager that makes great business decisions is one that sets a cultural platform as to what all team members make decisions based on. Can they drive a guest first culture and ensure they are always making decisions based on what’s best for the restaurants guests? A guest first service culture will result in excellent business decisions; as a restaurants guests are the restaurants greatest assets.

6 - Do you have a good level of trust with the candidate?

Most importantly, it is essential you have good level of trust with your General Manager candidate. You will need to ensure the candidate is completely open and transparent. A candidate that you sense is withholding information or not able to openly communicate, may be hiding something and may have a fear of being exposed. Do a thorough reference check on your General Manager candidate, trust your gut feeling and ensure you feel really good about your hire.

hiring a general manager


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