Chef de Boss: 15 Leadership Tips for Restaurant Managers

As a professional chef or restaurant manager, you’re likely tasked with leading an entire restaurant or chain toward long-term success and profitability. While this may seem daunting, there are plenty of best practices you can follow and tips for restaurant managers to use to optimize their management approach.

Tips for Restaurant Managers and Chefs

The more you improve your management style and approach, the better equipped you are to contribute positively towards your restaurant’s culture and improve your service quality, productivity, and customer satisfaction rates.

Here’s how to manage your restaurant effectively, efficiently, and smoothly at all times.

1. Gain More Management Experience

The strongest restaurant managers and management teams have considerable experience in their respective positions. They understand the roles and responsibilities required to run a restaurant successfully and can exercise many of these roles and responsibilities to support their teams when needed.

Optimal management is closely related to understanding the challenges your team members face. When you understand this, you’re equipped to help your teams navigate these challenges. You can provide them with personalized support and workable solutions from your management perspective.

When you gain more experience and understanding of the roles of your management team members, you’ll also build greater respect between yourself and your team. This can positively impact everything, from your front-of-house operations to your kitchen.

2. Remain Personally Accountable

As a restaurant manager, you play a significant role in your establishment’s performance. True leaders step up and take full responsibility for their team’s performance and productivity.

One of the best tips for restaurant managers is this: when things go wrong, avoid seeking out people and factors to blame. Instead, focus on improving your performance to tackle future challenges. For example, you could seek new ways to train your team to ensure the same issue does not arise again. The better questions you ask, the better you’ll be able to secure beneficial results.

3. Identify Your Core Values

Your values are the foundations of your restaurant’s culture. Knowing them is a key part of being an effective leader.

Once you identify your core values, which can include transparency, trust, respect, hard work, dedication, and many other characteristics, you need to embody them in how you manage your establishment, your teams, and your restaurant’s processes.

4. Reduce Your In-House Divide

The restaurant and hospitality industries are well known for the divide between back-of-house and front-of-house operations. True leaders know that teamwork is essential in FOH and BOH operations and that every team member needs to focus on the greater picture to achieve optimal results.
Implementing bigger-picture mindsets and team-focused thinking practices are great ways to ensure your team members work together towards your establishment’s greater goals.

5. Invest in Education

Restaurant managers and leaders are never too experienced to learn more. Seek out respected managers, thought leaders, books, and publications in your sector to learn as much as you can about how best to manage your restaurant and your teams.
Leaders are always dedicated to improving their knowledge and skills to strengthen their teams and company cultures.

6. Take a Compassionate Approach

The restaurant industry is well-known for its long hours, tough jobs, and tenuous work-life balance. Your team members need an empathetic, compassionate leader to thrive, even under pressure.

The more flexible and compassionate you are towards your teams without compromising on essential processes, the better your restaurant will fare in the long term. This is also an effective approach to use to minimize staff turnover.

7. Trust Your Team

Ineffective managers are often convinced they need to micromanage their teams at all times to ensure good results. Your job as a leader is to support and trust your team members and only to correct them when necessary.

When you show your team you trust them, you’ll give them autonomy and ownership over their performance. Plus, you’ll allow them to find the best fit for their skills and abilities, leading to better productivity overall.

8. Schedule Pre-Shift Meetings

Quick pre-shift meetings are a great way to share important information before service begins. Even if you don’t have any important announcements or information to share before a shift, use this time to praise your team for what they are doing right and motivate them to perform at their peak.

9. Prioritize Your Customers

As a manager, you must ensure your customers are always satisfied, respected, and heard.
Set strict customer service standards to ensure that even temporarily dissatisfied customers become loyal patrons.

10. Delegate Tasks

Management roles can quickly lead to burnout. As such, delegate tasks to capable team members to save time and energy for tasks that need personal attention.
This approach also helps to ensure your team members feel trusted and empowered to work on your behalf, helping to build more trust and smoother workflows.

11. Focus on Positive Reinforcement

Your employees need positive reinforcement for a job well done. This enables them to see how they add value to your restaurant and how their hard work helps to advance your overarching goals.

Recognize your employees for their input and jobs well done to keep them motivated and ensure they feel respected and valued. You can also praise employees for positive reinforcement and well-deserved recognition during team meetings.

12. Create a Concise Onboarding Program

If you’re hiring new employees, it’s important to design an onboarding program that brings new hires up to speed with your culture, process, and expectations quickly and efficiently.

Ensure your program leaves room for questions and concerns so your new hires are ready to work towards your goals as soon as possible!

13. Manage Cash Flow

Management tips for chefsManaging cash flow is an essential part of running a restaurant. To minimize risk and maximize profitability, you must factor in expenses, revenues, profits, sales, and future projections.

Work with an experienced sales and finance professional to manage your cash flow. Alternatively, opt for an automated restaurant finance management system to keep your cash flow and profits looking healthy.

14. Invest in Marketing

Marketing is vital in the food service sector. As a restaurant leader, you must clearly understand your target audience to market your restaurant to the right people.
Gather data on your target customers, where to reach them, and their needs to supercharge your marketing strategies and sales figures.

15. Partner with a Mentor

Mentors can provide fantastic management tips and other advice for your role as a manager. Approach seasoned restaurant managers and owners in your industry and locate a mentor that understands your challenges and can provide actionable solutions and advice.

Use the tips above to enhance your restaurant management skills and keep your entire establishment running seamlessly.

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