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Six Habits of Highly Effective Restaurant Managers

It takes a special kind of breed to be a successful restaurant manager. They have to wear many hats and wear them well. Responsibilities run the gamut. From schedule creation, food quality and kitchen maintenance checks, to menu creation, pricing decisions, and supplies. Of course, an effective manager is capable of crushing these tasks. But […]

It takes a special kind of breed to be a successful restaurant manager. They have to wear many hats and wear them well.

Responsibilities run the gamut. From schedule creation, food quality and kitchen maintenance checks, to menu creation, pricing decisions, and supplies. Of course, an effective manager is capable of crushing these tasks. But we’re not talking about those today.

What we wanted to know instead, were the intangible characteristics an effective restaurant manager exhibits.

While there are likely many more, here are six ingredients that make up a rock-star restaurant manager.

1. Have Intense Focus on Key Strategies and Activities

Highly effective restaurant managers are able to distinguish and delegate their time between problems and priorities. Distractions are everywhere. And we’re not just talking about cell phones, email and water-cooler interruptions. There are everyday fires – real problems – that need to be addressed. The downside is, they pull managers away from the real work.

Effective restaurant managers are proactive and disciplined in their planning and focus to make sure they minimize the issues and execute day in and day out. They find time to work ON the business instead of just IN the business.

2. Set the Speed of the Team

Effective restaurant managers aren’t scared of being tough. They have goals, command high standards and expect results. At the same time they are sensitive to the human dynamic, relationships and needs of their people.

They also set the tempo for the team.They lead by example, hustling when it’s time to hustle. Jumping in when it’s needed and reacting and resolving problems with immediacy and tact. Like many good leaders, they are the first one at the restaurant and the last to leave.

3. Develop The Team and Delegate

Unfortunately, restaurant managers find themselves in “lead by crisis” mode, which can seriously dampen a team’s energy.

Effective restaurant managers, on the other hand, clearly define each team member’s role, empower each team member, hold each team member accountable and know how to swiftly navigate the team through challenges.

They recognize that delegating some of the day-to-day duties to trustworthy team members frees them up to focus on bigger issues, like grooming the next general manager.

4. Celebrate the Wins … and are Accountable to the Occasional Loss

Highly effective restaurant managers know how to celebrate a win and take responsibility for those less than stellar failures. They encourage their team members and provide positive reinforcement when something great happens.

When something doesn’t go as planned, effective restaurant managers don’t point fingers. Instead, they focus on solutions and build positive momentum. They nip bad attitudes in the bud and don’t tolerate constant complaining. They also take ownership for their occasional slip-ups and use it as an opportunity to grow as a leader.

5. Promote Company Values

Effective restaurant managers know that their actions are always on display. They support the overall goals of the company and promote the culture and core values.

They also know how to keep it real. Today’s workforce believes in transparency and want to feel like they understand what’s going on in the business. Effective restaurant managers open the line of communications with regular staff meetings, constant shift communication and positive encouragement.

6. Are Focused on Excellent Customer Service

Effective restaurant managers know that without their customers they aren’t in business. They know who their regulars are and make a point to remember their names, their drink preferences and offer them freebies now and again. They are also receptive to their customers needs and requests – even when they seem absolutely ridiculous.

Effective restaurant managers are also always on alert. They have a sixth sense about issues and are willing to step in and help mediate a difficult situation.

Overall, an effective manager can be a major factor in determining whether a restaurant flourishes or deteriorates, manages to make it through hard times, and, whether it gets the best out of its team members.

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