How to Hire a Good Restaurant Manager

    And why it's more important than ever.

    Restaurant worker pours coffee into a filter.

    unsplash/Tyler Nix

    In order to find a strong candidate, you need to know what you’re looking for.

    Before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the main challenges foodservice faced was finding good restaurant managers. At the time, the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted the position would see 11 percent growth over the next 10 years, more than double the typical rate across all industries. But since March, when many stay-at-home orders and dining restrictions went into place, the restaurant industry was devastated.

    For example, in New York City alone, August restaurant employment was only 55 percent of pre-COVID levels. However, hope is now on the horizon thanks to promising news vaccines may soon be distributed. Restaurants should start preparing now for the post-COVID rebound, and a major part of that will involve hiring a good restaurant manager.

    Even under the best of circumstances, the restaurant industry suffered from high-turnover and in the post-COVID era, many job candidates will want more than just a paycheck. Having a good work environment and strong team culture is also essential to attracting, and keeping, a good restaurant manager.

    So how can you hire a good restaurant manager?

    In order to find a strong candidate, you need to know what you’re looking for. To help you get started, here are several traits and characteristics that are essential for the role:

    Expertise in the food and beverage industry: It goes without saying that the right person should have knowledge and expertise in the industry, someone who knows the ins and outs of daily operations, adheres to health and safety standards, and is able to handle state inspections. An expert restaurant manager should also know and have a good working relationship with reputable suppliers in the area. These qualities will go a long way in ensuring smooth operations.

    Business judgment: Any manager, regardless of industry, should be business-minded. This role should not only handle day to day operations but should also think of ways to reduce cost and increase revenue.

    Excellent interpersonal skills: A restaurant manager regularly talks to employees, customers, and suppliers so strong communication skills are key. Leading by example, your restaurant manager should be able to establish and maintain a positive work environment that promotes teamwork and camaraderie. Your staff should feel comfortable raising issues and giving feedback to their restaurant manager when necessary. In turn, the manager should be able to provide constructive criticism and give praise for exemplary work performance. When it comes to customers, they should be able to deliver a great experience to keep them coming back for more.

    Technological know-how: In this digital age, restaurant managers need to stay up-to-date with the latest technological advancements to meet the ever-growing and changing demands of customers. It’s essential for them to be knowledgeable enough about the different tools and systems that will make various processes easier and more efficient. Being open-minded and adaptive to change will greatly help in making sure that operations will always run smoothly.

    How to Search for Good Candidates

    It might sound challenging to find someone who fits all of the criteria above and can also easily adapt to the ever-evolving industry. Sourcing and hiring are always a challenge, especially for roles like this. But if you know where to look, the recruitment process can be much easier. Here are several ways to find qualified job candidates for your restaurant manager role:

    Promote someone from the business: Sometimes, you don’t have to look any further than your current staff. Promoting someone from within offers several benefits. One of them is that you’ve saved time, money, and energy in sourcing candidates. Also, that person already knows the day-to-day operations of the restaurant. It likewise shows other employees that you care about their career growth, creating a healthy work environment that will keep them motivated to perform better.

    Post the job opening on different channels: You’ve got so many options that go far beyond just posting a “wanted” sign in your window. Nowadays, you’ll find a wide range of restaurant-specific platforms that allow you to post job openings. Some of the most popular recruitment-related sites include Restaurant Careers, Culinary Agents, and Poached. These sites are frequented by candidates who are actively searching for jobs.

    Utilize social media: Don’t forget to advertise your job opening on your social media channels and industry-related groups or forums. For example, Facebook has hundreds of groups where you can look for qualified candidates.

    Ask for referrals. Ask family members, friends, old colleagues, suppliers, distributors, and your own employees if they know someone who suits your requirements. It makes the sourcing process easier and at the same time, your network will be able to vouch for the candidate’s skills and work ethic.

    Final Thoughts

    During these difficult times, many restaurants are doing all they can to stay afloat. With the end of the pandemic finally within sight, it’s time to start planning for the future of your restaurant. Hiring the right restaurant manager can be time-consuming but if you understand the different attributes necessary for the role, as well as the avenues or platforms where you can find candidates whose qualifications are aligned with what you’re looking for, the sourcing and recruitment process will be much easier.

    Emily Lazration is the Content Marketing Specialist at CoverWallet, a tech company that makes it easy for businesses to understand, buy, and manage commercial insurance online. She has written for several outlets including Inc., Ooma, and Fundera covering small business news and advice.