Restaurant managers, or food service managers, are responsible for keeping their units running efficiently and profitably. They hire and train employees and oversee all restaurant operations, including food preparation and quality assurance; customer service; inventory and ordering; and safety. If you have interpersonal and leadership skills along with physical stamina, this may be the career for you.
Most restaurant managers have less than a bachelor's degree, but some college is preferred in this field. More regional restaurant chains are recruiting managers with hospitality or food management degrees, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as these graduates often have practical experience through internships. If you are interested in becoming a restaurant manager, you can attend one of 1,000 U.S. colleges and universities and earn a degree in restaurant and hospitality management or institution food service management.
Restaurant managers working for major chains typically undergo rigorous training programs. You learn about restaurant management procedures, nutrition, sanitation and personnel management. You also learn how to maintain financial records and generate reports on sales, inventory, labor costs and other expenses. Most financial information is generated through computer systems that pull data from cash registers. Therefore, a significant amount of your training is spent learning how to close out registers and run reports. Certification through the National Restaurant Association Education Foundation is optional, but it may increase your job opportunities.
Profit margins can be small in restaurants, particularly in fast-food establishments. Therefore, repeat business is essential. That is why restaurant managers must have good customer-service skills, so customers keep coming back. When you are running shifts, you provide customers accurate orders at appropriate temperatures within reasonable time frames. You must also train your staff to focus on customer service, especially during rush periods -- breakfast, lunch and dinner -- when you generate most of your business.
Restaurant managers also need organizational skills. You have lots of responsibilities and time management is crucial. You allot time for many restaurant activities, including hiring and training employees; ordering food and supplies; receiving shipments; scheduling repairs for cash registers, computers and drink machines; and promoting your restaurant. If you work for a restaurant chain, your area manager may also have certain assignments for you to complete each month.
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