7 Career Challenges Most Restaurant Managers Face
Careers in restaurant management are unlike typical white collar, office management work. It’s unlikely that you’ll spend day after day behind a desk. Instead, expect to work with kitchen talent on menu planning and to interact with customers and suppliers and possibly even promote the venue in the local community.
However, it’s also important to keep in mind that restaurant management professionals face their own unique sets of challenges and to truly succeed in this business, you must be willing to take these on, not just at the outset of your career, but daily for as long as you work in this profession. Here are seven of that are worth taking note of:
Irregular Hours: Like most hospitality industry professionals, restaurant managers definitely keep erratic hours, which are long and can include weekends and holidays, even if there are multiple managers who share responsibilities. The key to success is managing stress and learning techniques to avoid exhaustion.
High Turnover: This is one of the greatest challenges that restaurant managers face. The search for staff is constant as front-of-house employees particularly wait staff, bussers and even bartenders, aren’t necessarily seeking a career in the industry, which can also be true of staff in certain kitchen roles as well. So hiring strategies are important in order to find reliable employees, but you’ll also need to invest time in communicating with existing staff to find out if they have any issues that can be resolved before they start looking for a new place of work as well as to show them recognition.
Theft: Although this is not one of the more glamorous aspects of restaurant management, it is a reality. What isn’t nailed down can be considered fair game by both employees and guests. Restaurant managers who are truly committed to their workplace and to their career path will need to employ a variety of tactics to deter theft, including carefully tracking sales and inventory, keeping alcohol stock locked in a secure location and limiting access to cash and safes.
Inventory Management: The good news is that there is software out there that can streamline this process. But if you work at a dining establishment that hasn’t made the investment, you’ll need to make time to take inventory regularly in order to ensure that there is little to no waste as that affects profitability as well as to adjust menu pricing according to fluctuating costs of wholesale food and beverage.
Training: Be ready to invest meaningful time into getting new staff up to speed because they won’t simply need to learn the functional practices of their job, but also any specific approaches to customer service that the restaurant may have as well as effective strategies for efficiency in addition to upselling customers.
Keeping Current with Dining Trends: As an important part of the restaurant team, you’ll need to interact with your customers regularly and keep your ear to the ground to find out what’s hot, what’s not and if there are any new patterns in special requests, be that ingredients or dietary restrictions. You’ll also need to stay on top of the latest industry literature to stay ahead of new dining trends coming down the pike, upcoming design trends in design and also new technologies for the restaurant industry.
Social Media Reviews: Just like hotel professionals, keeping a constant eye on your venues social media reviews will be key to the restaurant’s success. Guest comments that are in the public domain can make or break a hospitality business and management’s responses to those critiques –whether positive or negative—can also impact how future patrons perceive your business. Is management gracious enough to thank customers who have shared their positive experience? Do negative reviews receive responses thanking the guest for taking the time to write and offering to get in touch via a private channel or simply to apologize that their expectations weren’t met? If you wait until business drops before taking notice of social media comments, you may be too late.