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The Ins and Outs of Restaurant Management

Aug 17, 2007
Restaurant managers work in some of the most glamorous, exciting environments you can imagine. From luxury resorts in exotic locations to high-powered conference centers to the hottest restaurants, hotel and restaurant managers are working behind the scenes to ensure the excellence of their establishment.

If you are looking for a challenging, rewarding career and enjoy working with people, hotel or restaurant management could be right for you. The more people travel, the greater the need for Hotel/Restaurant Managers. As operations become more complex, employers are putting more emphasis on specialized training.

The Penn Foster Hotel/Restaurant Manager program can give you a real advantage over others. As a Hotel/Restaurant Managers you can work in restaurants, bed and breakfasts, or even manage franchises for major hotel chains. You might be assigned to organize a newly built or purchased facility, or to reorganize an existing one. Managers determine room rates, oversee restaurant operations, and supervise the staff.

Being a restaurant manager is a lifestyle, not a job. If managers are going to succeed, they will put in 50 to 80 hours per week with high stress levels at times. But once you get everything going, it can be a fun career with very good pay. Employers suggest that potential candidates should consider the following: What type of restaurant business are you going into? There is a big difference between fine dining, family style, fast food and a sports bar or restaurant atmosphere.

These restaurants attract different employees. A fine dining establishment might draw more experienced, mature employees, while a fast food restaurant or sports bar might interest younger ones. Do you want to be a floor manager, a back-of-the-house manager or a general manager? Each of these positions requires different skills.

When pursuing jobs, ask potential employers how long they have been in business, where they see the business growing, what opportunities exist for advancement and what type of manager-training programs they have. If someone wants a career in this field, try getting in with a franchise for training and a stable income, many employers will advise. After three to five years, you can look at a privately held restaurant where you can go in as a general manager and demand a pay of $60,000-plus for your expertise or partnership.

The Positives

Restaurant management is great if you like a lot of variety in what you do, like to work really hard and enjoy working with people. It is a fairly easy field to break into without investing in an education; however you can move up faster and not start at the very bottom if you do have an education.

The upside to restaurant management lies in the opportunity to advance quickly, the challenge and the chance to acquire an array of management skills. Nelsen suggests asking yourself these 10 questions to help you decide if this is the career for you:

Do I like to work with many different types of people, both as coworkers and as customers?

Will I mind working all hours of the day and night?

Do I like to motivate people to do their best?

Will I enjoy the pressures of making a budget, staffing the restaurant and managing daily operations?

Will I mind people calling me with questions on my time off?

What do I picture for the future, my family and how we spend our time?

Do a restaurant manager's hours fit into this vision?

Am I highly motivated?

Do I like to work hard?

Do I like to reach daily, weekly, monthly and yearly goals?

What does this career offer that others do not?

One last thing to remember about a career in restaurant management is that with all the training and experience you get, you can move to many different industries and careers, for example, you can go from restaurant management to office management, to sales management to bank accounting, publishing and marketing.

Leading by example is a single principle for any success. Passing information through proper leadership is essential to the harmony and relationships among your employees. Whether you are working at the Front of the House or the Rear of the House, leadership sets the course for the direction of your operation. Knowing the basic principles of leadership will help you in every imaginable way in the restaurant business.

Here are a few tips for future restaurant managers: Take a moment to review your facility and operation. Does your facility accommodate critical relationships established by the flow of food? Or, do your servers have to walk through the prep or production areas to access the ware washing area? Are your servers and kitchen employees able to move freely? Or, are they always engaged in "right of way" debates? When a facility is designed based on the flow of food, the quality of service, risk of cross contamination, and employee morale all improve. If your facility utilizes this approach to design, you can attest to the results. If not, consider how you can improve the current configuration or operational procedures to better follow the flow of food.

Menu marketing is an important aspect for the success of any foodservice establishment. Menus are statements of the food and beverage items that are provided by a restaurant based on consumer wants, needs and demands. Menus can be interpreted as a list of products that a restaurant offers, and it can be a piece of literature or display used to communicate the products to the customer. From a marketing view point, menus are more than the conventional function of a communications and selling tool but also a tool that must be formatted to increase restaurant profits.

Menu engineering provides the manager with information about a menu item's profitability, as well as popularity, so that proactive planning, recipe design and customer pricing decisions can be made. Menu engineering is not a substitute for proper purchasing, food rotation, standard recipes or any of the other basic kitchen controls that can negatively impact your costs. Rather it is a method of evaluating every item on your menu relative to its present contribution to bottom line dollars, thereby allowing managers to recognize the items they want to sell!
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