Understanding the Job
As a restaurant manager, you're going to be responsible for overseeing all of the operations in the given restaurant. That's a lot of responsibility, but if you can do it well, then you could be heading a hot spot in your area, and that could lead to bigger and brighter restaurant food service jobs in big cities.
Part of your job is to make sure everything is running smoothly every night. That means that you need to ensure that all of the scheduled staff members show up on time. It also means making sure that the food and drink supplies arrive on time and in the numbers required. You will need to track inventory and will be responsible for ordering new food and other supplies for the restaurant as needed. You will also have to choose the vendors for supplying these goods.
Additionally, you will be in charge of putting together the staff. You will need to decide when new workers are required, then interview, hire, and train them. The executive chef may be able to assist in the hiring of the kitchen staff, but the final decisions will always rest with you. Firing and scheduling are also some of the more unpleasant tasks you'll be facing as the manager.
Being the restaurant manager can be a real challenge. Although it does have its rewards, you have to remember that you will be the one held accountable for any problems by the customers. You'll hear the complaints and have to make things right. Also, if the restaurant is short-handed, you'll need to bring in other staff at the last minute or fill in for them yourself when things get busy. That means you'll need to be a jack-of-all-trades in the restaurant business. On top of all that, you'll also be responsible for paperwork, safety regulations, payroll records, and each night's cash calculations.
Managers typically work longer hours than anyone else on the staff. Twelve to fifteen hour days are not uncommon, especially if you are low on staff. Unfortunately, the average pay is just under $50,000 per year, which may mean a relatively low payoff for a great deal of stress and hard work.
Requirements for Restaurant Managers
The requirements you need to meet depend on your own aspirations. If you'd be happy managing a fast food restaurant or diner, you can get away with no more than a high school diploma and several years experience at the eatery in question. However, if you're hoping to manage a higher-end establishment or if you'd like to move up even further in the chain to manage not only a single restaurant, then you're going to need some formal training. Consider looking into degrees specifically designed for restaurant management. If you can't find any being offered at nearby schools, you could also combine a bachelor's degree in business administration or management with some experience working in a restaurant. That combination could make you a good candidate for management right out of college for some restaurants, and you could then move up to different restaurants as you gain more experience.
If you do not have a business degree, though, don't worry. Many restaurants have training programs for their managers. That said, even these restaurants do seem to favor candidates with some college or vocational training that would be relevant to the job.
In terms of personal skills, you should be able to demonstrate that you are reliable. No one will hire a restaurant manager who can not be depended on. You'll also need to be hardworking and flexible, as well as being a strong leader and a fast learner.
Finding Available Positions
Regardless of where you hope to work, the Internet is going to be your best choice for finding available openings. Websites dedicated to the restaurant industry will have management positions listed for restaurants all over the country. Whether you want to work in fast food or at a five-star restaurant, you can locate the positions that might best fit your needs just by doing some simple searches. Plus, you can always enter some criteria at the site so that you can be notified when appropriate openings are posted.
When you're applying, be sure to stress your past restaurant experience. The more you've had, the better. Having a bartending license can also help as the manager is sometimes required to work in that area as well.