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Restaurant Manager Career Guide

How to Become a Restaurant Manager

With a combined focus on customer service and daily restaurant operations, restaurant managers lead restaurants toward their goals. Between balancing finances, onboarding new chefs and waitstaff, and overseeing high-level restaurant activity, the role of a restaurant manager motivates restaurant staff by example.

The restaurant industry is invigorating, yet high-paced. If you’re someone who thrives in a fast-paced environment, driven by a desire to pair guests with high-quality dining, the role of a restaurant manager is right for you. During the busiest moments, your restaurant staff will look to you for leadership.

Two baristas fold their arms after a job well-done.

What Is a Restaurant Manager?

At its core, restaurant managers look to create world-class experiences for all guests. They hire staff, approve menus, correspond with chefs, and oversee restaurant operations, all to craft the best possible restaurant environment for patrons. This role is central to the continued success of restaurants—both large chains and small boutique restaurants. A manager ensures all of the business elements are handled, from marketing to finance, and is a crucial part of the success of the restaurant. 

What Does a Restaurant Manager Do?

As one of many high-quality hospitality career options, the job of a restaurant manager is characterized by a wide range of job responsibilities. From balancing the business’s finances to making final decisions on menu items, restaurant managers are expected to lead all restaurant staff toward success.

The exact job responsibilities of a restaurant manager can include:

  • Managing restaurant finances, including staff payroll, all expenditures, and regular revenue
  • Creating reports that express financial metrics, restaurant operations, and all other beneficial numbers in user-friendly formats
  • Training any new employees when they arrive at the restaurant
  • Upholding restaurant protocols to ensure safe, efficient restaurant operations
  • Hiring new restaurant staff for kitchen and guest-facing roles
  • Collaborating with restaurant owners to ensure a continually high level of service
  • Accurately gauging staff performance and introducing employee training where appropriate
  • Reviewing the quality of products and vendors, and exploring vendor options to continually improve restaurant performance

Restaurant managers regularly fulfill these and other job responsibilities. Ultimately, restaurant managers look to optimize all aspects of a restaurant’s performance, from ingredient quality to individual customer experience.

What Education Does a Restaurant Manager Need?

Before aspiring restaurant managers can fulfill rewarding culinary careers, they typically need to obtain a bachelor’s degree in business management or a closely-related field. During this undergraduate education period, students will learn strategies for workplace success, including the basics of organizational management. The skills and experience students gain in this type of degree program will be essential to the daily operations of their restaurant.

Students looking to further improve their candidacy for hire can continue their education, by obtaining a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) or a master’s degree in leadership. These programs are key in giving students additional experience and knowledge in management techniques, communication strategies, financial understanding, and more. If you want to enhance your capabilities as a leader, an advanced degree can help ensure you have the best possible skills.

Best Degree for a Restaurant Manager

Business Management – B.S. Business Administration

Hone your business acumen and garner added respect:...

Hone your business acumen and garner added...

Hone your business acumen and garner added respect:

  • Time: 70% of graduates finish within 41 months.
  • Tuition and fees: $3,720 per 6-month term.

Sample careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • Account executive
  • Business analyst
  • Program manager
  • Director or senior director
  • Vice president

This online degree program is an excellent choice for kick-starting your organizational management career.

Management and Leadership – M.S.

An online master's degree focused on change management,...

An online master's degree focused on change...

An online master's degree focused on change management, innovation, and leading teams:

  • Time: Graduates can finish in 12 months.
  • Tuition and fees: $4,675 per 6-month term.

Sample careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • President
  • Vice president
  • Director of operations
  • Executive director

Develop a comprehensive suite of leadership skills and your confidence to navigate changing business structures.

Master of Business Administration

The flexible MBA program you need, focused on business...

The flexible MBA program you need, focused on...

The flexible MBA program you need, focused on business management, strategy, and leading teams:

  • Time: 80% of graduates finish within 24 months.
  • Tuition and fees: $4,675 per 6-month term.

Sample careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • President and CEO
  • Vice president
  • Executive director
  • Chief strategic officer

Our competency-based model gives you an innovative learning experience you won't find anywhere else—and our MBA grads tell us they loved accelerating their program to see a faster ROI.


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What Skills Does a Restaurant Manager Need?

Restaurant managers lead many aspects of their restaurant’s operations. To do this, they rely on a variety of useful skills — whether they’re making decisions about specific menu items or training employees during their first day on the job.

The skills a restaurant manager needs can include:

  • Customer service: The ability to professional service customers in a restaurant setting you work to maintain
  • Financial management: The ability to appropriately manage a restaurant’s finances, including payroll, revenue, and expenses
  • Vendor research: The use of local resources to continually research local vendor quality and pricing
  • Interpersonal communication: The ability to correspond effectively with restaurant waitstaff, chefs, other staff members, and guests
  • Teamwork: The ability to efficiently work alongside other team members, to ensure successful daily restaurant operations
  • Conflict resolution: The ability to resolve conflicts between staff members, while ultimately encouraging restaurant staff to solve their issues without the input of a restaurant manager
  • Problem-solving: The ability to creatively solve problems that restaurants can face, oftentimes on short notice
  • Data analysis: The ability to create, manage, and interpret your restaurant’s data, to arrive at conclusions that benefit future restaurant operations

How Much Does a Restaurant Manager Make?

$47,366

The exact income of a restaurant manager can vary, based on factors that often include years of experience, employer, employer location, and restaurant quality. The salary of a restaurant manager can average $47,366, with a range of roughly $34,000 to $60,000 earned per year.

 

What is the Projected Job Growth?

1%

Restaurant manager career opportunities are expected to expand from 2019 to 2029, at a growth rate of 1%. Though this approximated growth rate is slower than the average across all occupations, it is still expected to add an estimated 2,200 restaurant manager positions to the active job market.

As individuals around the world continue to enjoy the experience of dining out, there will exist a continued need for restaurant managers to ensure smooth restaurant operations. Many restaurant manager positions will be created simply by existing managers who vacate their positions.

Where do Restaurant Managers Work?

Varies

There are many types of restaurants where managers are needed to organize the staff and ensure they are all working together well. Restaurant managers may also be the owners of their own restaurants, taking on additional responsibilities and duties to ensure success of the organization. Places restaurant managers work include:

-Fast food chains or franchises

-An individual restaurant in a chain

-A regional area of a chain of restaurants

-An individual boutique restaurant

-Small bakery, parlor, or dessert shop

 

Interested in Becoming a Restaurant Manager?

Learn more about degree programs that can prepare you for this exciting career.

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