A Day in the Life of a Restaurant Manager
One of the best culinary careers for those who enjoy cooking as well as the organization and supervisory skills that come with running a restaurant is that of restaurant manager. Like an Executive Chef or restaurant owner, the restaurant manager is the professional who coordinates employees and food service to ensure that every customer walks away satisfied.
However, unlike a chef (whose primary focus is the food) or an owner (who carries all the risks and rewards of ownership), the restaurant manager is a paid employee who gets to work in a fast-paced, exciting field while also enjoying a stable career.
What Does a Restaurant Manager Do?
As a restaurant manager, you are typically the first one in the door in the morning and the last one to leave at the end of the day. Although you might spend part of the day on the line in the kitchen, helping to put out food and ensure that the plating is perfect, you’ll also spend quite a bit of time in the front of the house and in an office, running through paperwork and communications.
In terms of running the kitchen, a restaurant manager is responsible for:
Ordering food and supplies
Organizing and rotating stock
Overseeing food deliveries
Helping create a menu
Occasionally helping with food preparation or service
As supervisor and the highest authority in the day-to-day running of the restaurant, the restaurant manager is also responsible for anywhere from 2 to 200 employees. This includes:
Employee and chef recruitment
Hiring and firing staff members
Employee training and motivation
Regularly evaluating employees
Restaurant managers also focus on the business side of running a successful restaurant. This is often done in conjunction with the owner to streamline the way the restaurant is run. Tasks include:
Marketing some aspects of the business
Preparing payroll and taxes
Branding and advertising
Expanding the business
Depending on where you work and the relationship between the owner, manager, and Executive Chef, your daily tasks can focus on any of the items listed above. This means you have to not only have culinary training, but a strong background in business, as well.
That’s why so many aspiring restaurant managers seek a degree in hospitality management.
Offering everything from two-year Associate degrees and four-year Bachelor degrees all the way up to Master’s degrees in the field, hospitality schools provide training that straddles the line between business and food.
Many graduates of these programs go on to work in restaurants and hotels, providing a variety of services and moving up the professional ranks to someday begin managing larger chains or even working in corporate restaurant offices.
Read, Read and Read Some MoreOne of the best suggestions I have for anyone thinking of going to culinary school or just getting into the restaurant industry is to read everything you can get your hands on. Learn from professional chefs who have worked in the industry and those who have taught in culinary schools.
There are many great books available to get you started in your culinary education and I suggest you read as much as possible before making that big decision to make sure this is the right move for you. Below is just a sample of books you might be interested in checking out.
For a much more comprehensive list of books for aspiring culinary, baking and restaurant management students, I suggest checking out my post on books for future culinary students and chefs.