If you think about the top ten most stressful jobs in the world you would probably think that brain surgeon, pilot, nurse and preschool teacher would be pretty high up there, right? What about restaurant manager though? There are few jobs in the world that are quite as stressful as the one required to manage a full service restaurant, night after night, and yet many people still sign up to do the job. They even love the job – because in order to be a successful restaurant manage you have to be completely obsessed with managing people, details and food.
Luckily, many people in the world are obsessed with managing people, details and food, and so they’re very good at their jobs. I started out in the restaurant world as a lowly waiter, and soon rose through the ranks to find myself managing the restaurant. This quick ascension through the ranks may or may not have had anything to do with the fact that my predecessor may have been found drunk and asleep in the kitchen one morning…
Managing a restaurant ignited a passion in me for running the show, and fast forward half a decade, I have been running my own restaurant for a few years now after I decided to go out on my own. I found kitchen supplies for my restaurant at Butler’s equipment and then spent a few months setting up the menu before launching with my partner. We have been pretty successful thanks to our unique service offering of breakfast for dinner. People seem to like having bacon and eggs at 8pm and having it be a culturally acceptable thing… Who knew!
I know it sounds like a dream, but there have been a lot of fraught moments and a lot of times where I wish I had someone else to ask. Well, I did have my partner to ask but he’s a chef and as a result knows nothing about managing a restaurant. Something to remember! I want to share my hard-won rules of overcoming the risks of restaurant management in the hopes that it helps you to get a better handle on managing a restaurant.
- You need to be a leader
When you’re helming a restaurant and running service you need to be the number one calmest person in the place. Think of it like a captain and his ship. You want to be sure that you can help everyone keep it together. Also, if your team see you behaving a certain way they’re going to think they can too. Don’t let standards slip for a second.
- You need to expect the worst and plan for it
While we would hope that nothing goes wrong during service, the reality is that it can and it will. Glasses break, people forget meals, the kitchen stuffs up (but don’t tell them that), and you find yourself wondering where on earth that bottle of wine is when you asked a sommelier to get it ten minutes ago!?
If you have a contingency plan in place, even if that’s just a round of free entrees – then do it. People won’t mind how long things take if they know you care and haven’t forgotten about them.
- Service can get crazy and you gotta stay cool
It’s vital that you. Your team are going to be looking to you to manage their workflow and to ensure that things stay calm, so be sure that you stay head and shoulders above the hustle and bustle and keep leading strong.
- Your team is everything
Keep morale high among your team. For some restaurants it’s all about the free drink or two after work – whatever you need to do to keep everyone happy and working hard.
- The food is the most important thing (kinda)
While the food IS hugely important, you need to have everything on point in your restaurant so that the whole experience is what people want. From the moment they walk in, to the moment they leave, people need to be feeling what it is that you’re vibing on.
- Smile and enjoy your evening
People in your restaurant are going to be looking to you as a gauge for how well the night is going. If they see you stressing out, it’ll filter down through your staff. Don’t let this happen. Keep your smile going and it’ll be fine.