How to Hire the Right Restaurant Manager

The quick pace of the restaurant industry calls for effective decision-making at a moment’s notice. But as your restaurant grows, keeping tabs on everything going on can be a challenge, and restaurant managers often are the ones taking on this burden. From tracking inventory to training staff members, a seasoned manager can ensure your restaurant runs smoothly.

When it comes to hiring a manager, these five tips will help you find the best fit for your restaurant.

Look for a proven leader

Set your restaurant up for success by hiring a manager who not only knows how to recruit top talent, but can also accelerate your staff’s professional development. Survey potential candidates on steps they would take to foster stellar customer service. Equipping your front- and back-of-house staff with the skills needed to take on greater responsibility will give them the added motivation to stick around.

Yet another important leadership trait is knowing how to keep employees motivated. By raising spirits during stressful times, effective managers can help keep your front- and back-of-house staff on board for the long haul. During the interview process, present top candidates with a stressful scenario and ask them to walk through a proposed solution. Choose a candidate who shows appreciation for staff members by boosting morale, offering to lend a helping hand or simply saying “thank you” for a job well done.

Do your research

Contact each candidate’s references to get a better sense of how he or she performs under pressure. Although an interviewee might describe how he or she approaches potential problems, current or former colleagues can provide you with even better insight into how a candidate reacts when orders start to pile up.

If possible, stop in for a meal at the restaurant where a top candidate currently works. Stopping by for a meal during the dinner hours will give you a first-hand look at how the candidate handles a rush of orders.

Stay local

While the quality of a candidate isn’t necessarily tied to their geographic location, those who are familiar with your specific market often have a leg up on the competition. Strong relationships with nearby vendors along with intimate knowledge of local competitors will help your restaurant develop a strong presence in the local community. In some cases, local clientele will follow specific managers and they switch restaurants. Similarly, an understanding of seasonal trends in the local market will make it easier for your restaurant to put together a menu that attracts local critics and  new diners while saving a few dollars on inventory purchases.

Give a tour

Before extending an offer letter, take candidates who you’re seriously considering on a tour of your restaurant when it’s busy. This will give the candidate a chance to see what it takes to manage your restaurant on a daily basis, and give your front- and back-of-house staff the opportunity to meet their potential new boss.

After the tour, ask more experienced employees what they thought of the candidate. Their feedback will go a long way toward determining whether or not you’re on the right track.

Open up the checkbook

Don’t be afraid to pay top dollar for the manager that best fits your restaurant. Paying a little above market for a strong manager will not only help improve your restaurant’s operations sooner rather than later, but it will also keep you from paying high turnover costs down the line.

Sit down with each candidate to discuss what is most important to them. Is it salary? Time off? This extra insight will make it easier for you to offer a competitive compensation package they can’t resist.

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