In the past year, Americans spent more than 40 percent of their food budget on eating out. Why is this? Researchers found that the hospitality industry, which includes hotels, restaurants, and travel services, grew at a strong five percent throughout 2018. As more Americans spend money on hospitality, the food and beverage sector will also grow.
With these growth projections, the need for qualified restaurant managers will also rise. In fact, some research projects restaurant management to grow nine percent by 2026, with more than 27,000 new jobs expected. Those interested or already working in the food and beverage sector should consider a career as a restaurant manager. As the industry grows, a career in the restaurant business could offer long-term employment and growth opportunities.
Gaining the knowledge needed to manage a restaurant opens a number of career options at restaurants, cafes, bars, catering companies, and hotels, among others. In the United States, restaurant managers earn a median of $53,000 annually. Some managers can earn a great deal more depending on the size and style of the restaurant, so this is a solid career path for those interested in the culinary arts.
But what do restaurant managers do exactly? While the job responsibilities will vary between different locations, these are some of the top skills needed to successfully manage a restaurant:
Strategic Menu Planning
The menu is the cornerstone of the restaurant. Customers might visit a restaurant for any number of reasons, but the menu is what will keep them coming back.
A restaurant manager plays a key role in planning and managing their restaurant’s menu. Depending on the structure of a restaurant, some managers will work with a head or executive chef to come up with a menu. While this may seem like a fun area to get creative, restaurant managers must keep numerous aspects in mind when creating a menu.
For one, restaurant managers must consider location — state, city, neighborhood, and even street are all important factors when planning out a menu. They survey their immediate surroundings and identify potential customers before considering what food would resonate on their menu.
Cost is equally important. Restaurants have to make a profit and balance between the cost of ingredient cost, production, and quality. While a good manager wants to keep cost down, they never want to sacrifice quality. Mainly, the manager ensures the menu will help the restaurant turn a profit.
Menu planning will also dictate the theme of the restaurant. Does the restaurant serve seasonal food? Do they serve have a static menu? Will customers know that they can go and find new and creative dishes? Managers consider these important questions when planning a menu.
Knack for Marketing
Getting customers coming back is one thing, but what gets them in the door in the first place? Marketing! Marketing is vital to the success of any business. Industry reports project the restaurant business to grow more than four percent through 2018, so this is true for new restaurants trying to find their footing.
Restaurant managers promote their business and increasing brand awareness. Having a working knowledge of the cost per acquisition will help track how much is being spent on marketing efforts to attract new customers.
Many restaurant managers have gone digital to solely run their marketing efforts. Utilizing social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram are cost-effective ways to give updates and reach new audiences.
Human Resources Management
As the case in any other industry, human resources in the restaurant industry is responsible for creating job and posting descriptions; recruiting, interviewing, and selecting candidates; and processing new hires. At many restaurants, the human resource department is just another role the manager takes on.
When it comes to workforce matters, such as performance issues, employee relations, and dealing with employee concerns, specialized knowledge and effective communication is necessary. Managers must know and comply with regulations like the Fair Labor Standards Act, minimum wage and overtime pay laws, and Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA). Beyond that, managers make sure their employees are properly trained and certified.
Contract Negotiation Skills
Some restaurants may have a direct food source, such as a farm to provide key ingredients. Nearly all restaurants outsource though, so the manager determines which food suppliers to work with and purchasing conditions.
Working with food and beverage distributors is one of the vital financial decisions the manager makes for their restaurant. In turn, they know how to compromise and negotiate with their suppliers. Great managers set up critical aspects like price, payment terms, delivery times, and other factors in their contract agreements.
Knowledge of Basic Bookkeeping
A passionate kitchen staff, front-of-house team, and outstanding dishes will only take a restaurant so far without proper bookkeeping. Having a clear understanding of accounting practices is one of the most important aspects to running a restaurant. The manager has to record sales, handle accounts payable, and oversee payroll operations.
Beyond their other duties, a restaurant manager must know how to prioritize a budget. They also know the best ways to generate revenue. Finally, managers strategize how the restaurant can both grow and stay profitable.
While the restaurant manager’s responsibilities may seem overwhelming, you can learn these critical skills online and then practice them on the job! If you want to tap into this growing job market, check out restaurant management course. You will learn the skills needed to successfully manage a restaurant.