What is it like to be in Restaurant Management?
Surviving restaurant management isn’t easy. It is a thankless job along with being a teacher, firefighter or police officer. It sounds crazy, but is this truth? What makes management one of the toughest jobs in the restaurant business?
There are a bunch of questions about the few that are in the ranks of management and more importantly what it is like to being in charge of a group more disparate than a restaurant staff…especially in the FOH. The FOH more than any group in any industry has more ulterior motives; they want out, out of the restaurant business in the worst way possible. These employees are here to make restaurant management a horror story. Worse than having Michael Myers, Freddy Krueger and Jason Vorhees chasing you at the same time. Yes, they do not care about their jobs and admit to making their life hell.
Why is Restaurant Management Treated so Poorly?
Ever work retail, in a grocery store, fast food or some sort of menial job? Raise your hand! Do not be afraid, there is no shame admitting you once worked in a less than glamorous business, before you graduated to a corporate job. Be proud of that corporate job cause it might be the death of you or cause incredible financial strain with salaries that are less than exciting. Did we mention the ever increasing workloads and that the 9-5 concept is now like the 8am-7pm work day and do not forget to put in some time on Saturday and Sunday afternoon for that promotion.
Restaurant management is like retail management; it is generally you against the staff, and there is a lot more of them than you. As opposed to the corporate world, where there tends to be more “managers” than non-managers. Many “managers” in the corporate world do not have any employees under them, that is scary. In the world of resume building, it must look amazing to have manager in your title. However, that is not what being a restaurant manager is about.
It is about surviving the onslaught of negativity from employees and guests alike. Being a restaurant manager is like being a punching bag for two different groups. Each group has their own set of needs with the manager being the responsible for both! This makes the manager the unwanted middleman of an often sticky situation. Want to be unappreciated and forsaken by everyone around at work? Be a restaurant manager! Good luck!
How did Restaurant Managers Become the Punching Bag?
Easy, there is usually only a few per restaurant. They make the schedule, deal with guest issues (positive and negative), fix problems, broken machines and most importantly, hire/fire employees. Managers in restaurants are catch all for nearly every task that may or may not get completed.
That missing baked potato on table 43? Manager runs it out!
Need a birthday dessert comped? Manager has it!
The guest that loved everything and wants to thank a manager? Obvious
What about the psycho at table 103 that has an “allergy” for everything and needs a custom menu, however a little bit of gluten is OK? Manager will make the menu and talk with the kitchen about making it happen.
A busser no showed? The manager will be the busser!
Question about an odd liquor, wine or beer? Manager will get that too!
…And of course the classic disgruntled guest! Always the manager.
Wow! Being a Restaurant Manager is Tough!
Most these above are issues that need immediate attention and cannot wait! The restaurant manager is always there to take the abuse to prevent anyone else from having it slow service down. They are the first ones in and the last ones out to make it worse as well! Servers love to complain about having to work for 7 hours, the average manager puts in 10-13 hours a day, sometimes more around busy seasons! We have all had the manager that puts in six 18 hour days a week! Add overworked to the list!
Managers have also become the punching bag as they have the least ability to defend themselves! Managers have to watch what they say or can be served harassment lawsuits, they cannot punch, push or even threaten guests and employees alike that might become physically or verbally out of line. Again see lawsuits against managers. Call it the “modern era” but the line they walk is thinner than ever on what can get them in trouble or not!
Then Why Go Into Restaurant Management?
For many it is a great way to learn leadership under fire! A corporate/cubicle manager has to work hard to get a team of say 3 under them, in the restaurant business it is more likely to be a leader of 10+ and be in charge of a multi-million dollar business. This is at their first restaurant management job! It is not for the faint of heart, however there is more upside to being a manager than any other position in the restaurant.
The way out, especially for the degreed manager is always in sight. Being responsible for a large bank, making a schedule and most importantly hiring and firing are valuable skills outside of this business. Having learned these skills in such a dynamic environment makes a restaurant manager departing the field much more valuable in any position.
Conclusion of Restaurant Management
While it is not an easy job and can be very challenging at times, it is rewarding and great experience for an ambitious manager. The opportunities and quick decisions required of restaurant managers are unmatched in large majority other management positions. While they can be a punching bag for both guests and employees, the manager also has a lot of influence over how much money any tipped employee can make. Most managers are not in it for the money, but for making a restaurant manager resume.Spread the word with the whole staff!