As the economy continues to heal, more and more businesses are finding themselves in need of a larger employee base. With more employees comes the need for stronger management. While many Americans are searching for jobs, restaurant owners are struggling to find qualified candidates to fill available management positions.
While sifting through the pile of resumes, veteran owners and HR personnel are drawn to certain characteristics. These qualities generally make for an impressive restaurant manager, but if you don’t know what you’re looking for, then the selection process can become overwhelming.
To help narrow your search, here’s the top 3 qualities to look for in your next restaurant manager:
1. Prior Restaurant Experience
This may seem like a given, but the importance of prior restaurant experience cannot be overlooked. Those who have worked in restaurants for extended periods of time know the ins and outs of a restaurant’s daily operations. They’re more inclined to understand customers’ needs and think on their feet. Of course, hiring someone with 10+ years of successful restaurant management experience is ideal, but obtaining someone who checks off all the boxes on your list is a rare find. If your market is coming up dry with the “ideal candidate”, don’t be so quick to overlook candidates without management experience. Candidates who lack managerial experience but have restaurant experience can always be trained in management practices. It’s much harder for someone without any industry experience to fully comprehend the intricacies of daily restaurant life, even if they have management experience elsewhere.
2. Strong Work Ethic
It’s more difficult to teach someone the subjective practices of a business than it is the objective ones, and a strong work ethic is one of those inherent traits that simply cannot be taught. Look for someone who can hold a job for longer than a year, as this can indicate internal drive (or lack thereof). During the interview process, ask pointed questions about how they would respond to specific scenarios. Ask questions that prove their level of expertise and industry knowledge. For example, “Tell me a time when you experienced [insert stressful situation] and how you handled it.” Be direct with your questions. Ask candidates how well they feel they could handle the 50+ hour work week associated with the position and if they’re up for long days on their feet. Those with strong work ethics will stand out from the rest and will convince you that they will do everything in their power to see your restaurant succeed. A manager with a strong work ethic can make a world of difference during peak hours, staff shortages, and upset customers.
3. Attentive Personality
Those who spend their professional time in the restaurant industry know that managing a restaurant is a demanding position. Indeed, customers are some of your most valued commodities (after your employees, of course), and tending to both your employees AND your customers is the key to ensuring optimal conditions. Your employees deserve a manager who is attentive to the morale of the workplace and who is responsive to their needs. Your customers also deserve a restaurant manager who can hone in on a problem and correct the issue promptly. Managers with a true understanding of customers’ wants and needs are essential to customer retention and sales growth.
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