Strong leadership skills and the ability to foster a team-oriented environment can help reduce one of the biggest problems restaurants face: high turnover. According to Gallup, an engaged team reduces turnover by 24 percent in high-turnover industries.
An engaged manager who leads by example and listens to his team’s needs, while giving clear direction can help keep staff happy and engaged.
Clear communication is a big part of being an effective leader. According to research conducted by the International Conference on Arts, Behavioral Sciences and Economics Issues:
Communication gives the feeling of belonging and sense of partnership with employees working in the organization. When employees feel they have 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 is true of any industry. Clear communication is especially important in restaurants, where the pace is quick and stress levels can run high.
Speaking of stress levels running high, problem-solving and conflict management skills play an important role in the restaurant manager position. In a white paper, consulting firm Arbinger Institute estimates that each conflict costs an organization about $255,000 in lost time, lower productivity, poor decision-making, and even attrition.
If you can communicate clearly and build a sense of team spirit, you’ll likely to reduce the number of conflicts in your restaurant. But a few are bound to pop up, either between staff members or between staff and patrons.
Keeping a cool head, listening to both sides and negotiating a fair solution is key.
But solving problems among staff and customers is just part of the job. You will also be called upon to solve snafus like supply or food shortages, last-minute employee callouts, or (heaven forbid) emergency medical situations.
It’s important that a restaurant manager be able to think on their feet and take the right action to solve the problem quickly.
It’s also important for restaurant managers to keep a positive outlook on the job. In his book, The Positive Leader, former Microsoft Europe Chairman Jan Mühlfeit emphasizes the power of positive psychology in motivating a team.
Positive psychology is not plastering a cheesy smile on your face and making half-attempts to look on the bright side and be nice to people in the office, it’s about fostering a mindset and workplace culture that’s been empirically proven to fuel greater success and achievement. -Jan Mühlfeit
Simply put, a positive, supportive boss grooms happy, engaged workers. And happy workers are the foundation for business success.
Mühlfeit cites several studies that illustrate the effects of a positive attitude on a business’s overall success, including a 2014 study by researchers at the University of Warwick in the UK. They discovered a 12 percent spike in productivity with happy workers and a 10 percent lag in unhappy ones.
Focusing on the positive, particularly during stressful moments (which are common in restaurants), will help inspire and motivate happy staff, reduce turnover, and add to your restaurant’s bottom line.
From budgets to schedules to table settings, there are a lot of small–yet important details restaurant managers need to keep track of. No manager can keep it all straight all of the time.
It’s important to train yourself to analyze situations and pay attention to detail. And, of course, there are apps and programs that can help you stay organized, from time-tracking and scheduling apps to budgeting and inventory apps.
The important thing is to stay organized, to keep all of those details from slipping through the cracks.
Now imagine everything we’ve mentioned above — budgeting, resolving conflicts, keeping track of staff and inventory — is all thrown at you in one shift. To be a successful restaurant manager, flexibility and the ability to multitask is key.
It’s always great to set a plan for each shift. For your breakfast shift, for example, you may open, count the cash drawers, make sure everything is clean and in place for the day, and take care of some payroll work. Just keep in mind that problems and questions will arise, which will throw off that set plan.
Being able to switch gears quickly will help you manage all that’s thrown at you.
Mastering the Skills of Restaurant Management
restaurant management skills interview
There are a few different ways to gain the skills you need to become a restaurant manager. Let’s take a look at each one.
When you look at job boards, many of the entries don’t list a college degree as a job requirement, or they list it as something preferred, rather than required.
Instead, many restaurants are looking for candidates who have experience in the restaurant business, either as servers, bartenders, assistant managers, hosts, or a little bit of everything.
They want people who have been in the trenches, so to speak, had proven success interacting with customers and problem-solving in a highly stressful environment.
That said, there are some restaurants looking for a candidate with a college degree, The most common degrees in the field, according to CareerBuilder, are business administration or management, culinary arts, accounting, or hospitality administration or management. Some colleges and culinary schools also offer degrees in food services management.
While some more specialized or higher-end restaurants may require a degree, most simply see candidates with a college education as having an edge.
Want to expand your skill set, but don’t want to spend a lot of money on higher education? There are certificate and even massive open online courses (MOOCs) that can help you do that. Colleges that offer related degrees may also offer certificate programs, which take much less time and money.
Then there are MOOCs. These are online, often free, courses from reputable colleges and institutions around the world. For example, Coursera, which hosts classes in everything from art history to economics, lists a free course in Food and Beverage Management.
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