According to the National Restaurant Association, around 90% of new restaurant managers don’t have any experience in restaurant management, nor do they have any special qualifications. In fact, some managers are high school graduates who don’t have a college or university education, but this hasn't stopped them from holding one of the most coveted positions in the industry.
Are you a newly promoted restaurant manager with hardly any experience managing a restaurant? If so, chances are that you are ready to take charge, even if you are somewhat terrified. If you are concerned, there’s nothing to be worried about; managing a restaurant has, after all, never been easy even for the most experienced restaurateur out there.
So, what’s the best way to get started? Get smart of course! Your main objective at this point should be to learn everything you can within the shortest time possible. Perhaps your employer is not offering any training you can take advantage of at the moment other than the usual manuals and human resource policies, but that doesn't have to keep you from seeking out training opportunities and resources that can equip you with the knowledge and competencies you will need to carry out your new duties efficiently.
To help you get started, I have compiled a list of resources you can start digging into straightaway based on some of your new duties; here you go.
Unless your restaurant has assigned employee scheduling to a specific person or office, scheduling employees is going to be your job henceforth. Not to worry though if you have never attempted to create a schedule before, a lot of people have learned to do it efficiently and so can you. Below are some useful tips and resources.
1. Make Employee Schedules Ahead of Time
The earlier you make and distribute a schedule, the better it will be for everyone involved. While last minute schedule changes are inevitable, a stable pattern with slight variations is far better than a schedule that changes after every two or three days. Most restaurant workers appreciate getting their schedules as early as possible, so they can arrange their personal schedules or request changes if needed.
2. Offer a Mix of Shifts to Employees
In the restaurant industry, like other industries, some workplace shifts can be slow and boring, while others can be busy and exciting. Your duty as a manager should be to make sure everyone gets their share of best shifts, so, aim to assign a fair mix of busy and slow shifts.
3. Strive to Offer Two Consecutive Days Off
To avoid employee burnout and to give your team time to address their personal issues and commitments, aim to provide two days off consecutively. Some of your team members may not care about having two days off in a row, while others may have commitments that won’t allow them to take two consecutive days off. It’s important to encourage your employees to make their scheduling needs known to you. That way, you can set two consecutive off days for anyone who agrees to it and arrange off days for the rest according to their needs. While you are at it, try to keep shifts short to keep team members fresh - 5-8 hours shifts are ideal in this case.
4. Avoid Over-Scheduling or Under-Scheduling
To avoid over-scheduling or under-scheduling, arrange shifts according to the needs of the day. Use a forecasting tool that can give you insights on how busy or slow a particular shift will be, which is likely to be based on your historical POS data.
Diners tend to ask for the manager when they are peeved or bothered. Handling guests’ complaints will, therefore, be among your newly acquired duties as manager. Some of the most common guest complaints in restaurants include price increases, reservation mishaps, bad service, bad food, and long wait times.
One of the most important parts of your new role as a restaurant manager will be ensuring your employees are equipped with the resources needed to be productive. Training your employees on important issues, such as the restaurant’s policies, HR procedures, and restaurant culture, is likely to be your responsibility. It is also possible that your employer will take on the responsibility of finding a relevant course or seminar for you.
It is important for some of your education to come from someone in the food service industry, which is where a mentor comes in. A mentor should be someone you can ask questions to without being judged. If you can't think of someone at this point, you may find a relevant online forum where you can interact with fellow restaurant managers for free. Websites like Reddit and Quora have all kinds of forums, so finding a forum where restaurant managers ask and answer questions should be pretty easy.