Hospitality Industry
5 min read

9 Most in-demand soft skills for restaurant management jobs

EHL Insights
Written by

Do you aspire to practice in the hospitality industry and yearn to take a management job in a restaurant? If, yes you are probably asking yourself questions such as, ''What skills do I need to become a restaurant manager and how do I acquire them?''  

Restaurant management is a very rewarding career. The hospitality industry is laden with lots of opportunities that you can grab and use to make a name for yourself.

A restaurant manager is responsible for the day-to-day activities in the restaurant. The roles involves:

  • Designing staff schedules, sign-off hours, and overseeing payroll.
  • Ensuring the front bar and the kitchen are well-stocked.
  • Ensuring that the company rules and protocols are followed.
  • Managing budgets and submitting profitability reports.
  • Attending meetings and contributing on how to increase the restaurant's profits.
  • To a little extent, creating the menu.

To become a reliable restaurant manager, you need a mixture of both hard and soft skills.


Soft skills vs. hard skills in the hospitality industry


Hard skills are specific teachable skills that can be proven through certifications, diplomas or degrees. Soft skills are based on emotional, social, and communication skills that cannot be measured and can be gained through experience.

Hard skills are technical skills you require for a select job position in the hospitality industry. If you are applying for a housekeeping job, you will need to know cleaning products and cleaning procedures. And if you are applying for a restaurant manager position, you may need skills such as food and beverage management, commercial acumen, human resource management.

Even though you have technical skills for the job, you must have soft skills such as communication knowhow, being a good problem solver and remaining calm in hectic situations. In addition, having time management skills and the ability to work with a team are essential soft skills that you need in your hospitality career. Other soft skills worth cultivating are having a solid work ethic, maintaining a positive attitude and controlling your emotions.

EHL Culinary Arts Workshops and Master Classes   Culinary, Pastry and Oenology Short Courses in French  For Professionals and Amateurs. Learn the secrets of EHL's Top Chefs and  strengthen your competencies in Culinary Arts  Discover

The most marketable soft skills for restaurant management jobs

1. Excellent communication skills

Strong communication skills are essential in the hospitality industry. As a restaurant manager, having excellent communication skills helps you become a great leader.  Each day you will be dealing with people from different backgrounds, ages, gender and nationalities. Advisably, communicate clearly and understandably.

Clear communication gives employees a sense of belonging to the organization. When employees feel they can be heard and communicate to their supervisors, they feel a part of the business and are more motivated to work.

Clear communication is essential in a restaurant set-up where stress levels can be high during peak periods. Also, communicating effectively with customers helps build a good relationship, encouraging them to return to your restaurant.


2. Problem-solving and conflict management skills

Problem-solving and conflict management skills serve a vital role in the restaurant management position. Conflicts can cost an organization a lot, lost profits in lost time, lower productivity and poor decision-making. If you can communicate effectively and build a teamwork spirit, you are more likely to lower the number of conflicts in your restaurant.

In case of conflicts, listen to both parties and develop a fair solution to solve the matter. In addition, a restaurant manager will need to solve problems between customers and staff. For example, if a customer complains about their room, you can offer something like free drinks while waiting for another guest to check out. This will help you avoid conflicts and keep your customers happy. You need to think quickly and come up with the best solution before the matter escalates


3. Positive attitude

Restaurant managers need to maintain a positive attitude towards their jobs.  A positive attitude is not only about plastering a cheesy smile on your face or trying to be nice to everyone in your restaurant. It is about fostering a workplace culture that promotes excellence and success.

In simple terms, positive and supportive managers keep their staff engaged. And happy employees are highly productive employees. A LinkedIn Poll found that the number one skill of a restaurant manager is a friendly personality.

Focusing on positivity, especially during stressful moments in the restaurant, which are very common in restaurants, will inspire staff to work harder, reduce turnover and increase your restaurant's profits. Train your mind to see positivity in every situation and you will grow a more positive attitude.


4. Attention to detail

From establishing budgets, setting tables, spotting which ingredients have reached their expiry date in the kitchen, there are a lot of small yet important details that restaurant managers should have their eyes on. Although it can be challenging to keep track of everything, attention to detail is crucial as a restaurant manager.

It is essential to train yourself to analyze all situations and be attentive to details. You can make use of apps and software for inventory and budgeting to help you stay organized. Paying attention to details will help you stay organized and prevent minor stuff from slipping through the cracks.


5. Multitasking skills

To become a successful restaurant manager, flexibility is critical. There is no such thing as a quiet day in the office, the day is always hectic, and you need to handle several tasks at the same time. It is always good to plan for your schedule each day.

You may start your day in the office, then head out to greet customers or engage with vendors on the same day. You must be able to balance taking up different roles on the same day and ensuring everything is running perfectly in the restaurant. Also, you need to be able to handle pressure and always remain composed even when things are chaotic. When you are flexible, you become an important asset to your restaurant.


6. Team spirit

As cheesy as it sounds, teamwork makes the dream work. Working well with others and creating a comfortable working environment is very crucial as a restaurant manager. Leaders should lead by example, and as a restaurant manager, you should strive to create a collaborative environment for your staff.


Working as a team player with your staff helps them see your commitment to the restaurant and to them. In addition, as you work with your staff, you connect and learn more about them and what they do. Given the high turnover rates in the hospitality industry, teamwork can be challenging. Thus, you will have to get used to seeing new faces now and then. However, teamwork is beneficial, especially during busy periods.


7. Adept language skills

Another soft skill that is important for restaurant managers is language skills. If you can learn more languages commonly spoken around your region, you can communicate effectively with people who walk through your restaurant's door and need your service. This will make you be in high demand.

Multilingual professionals are beneficial in the hospitality industry because guests from outside your culture can visit your restaurant. Thus, you are most likely to interact with customers who do not speak English as their first language.


8. Cultural awareness skills

While working in the restaurant business, many customers you will come across or people you will work with will be from different countries. This means you will interact with people from different backgrounds and cultures. Thus, you need to be culturally aware and adapt norms from cultures different from your own.

Your customers or staff will have beliefs, perceptions, and values different from yours, so it is essential to consider this when interacting with customers and staff. Learning about other cultures can help you respond to cultural differences appropriately.

When you understand the value and beliefs of people you encounter, you can craft a customer experience that promotes trust and comfort. Ensure every customer visiting your restaurant and staff is happy regardless of their cultural beliefs and background.


9. Take criticism well

As a restaurant manager, you need to learn how to deal with criticism and learn from feedback. Each time a customer comes to complain to you, you have an opportunity to practice this skill. Even when the complaint feels unfair or unwanted, you can learn from the feedback. This will allow you to improve your restaurant's customer experience and attract more guests.


Do you have the required skills to become a restaurant manager?

True to the saying, great leaders are not born; they are made. You can easily acquire both the soft and hard skills you need to become a restaurant manager.

If you have been working in the hospitality industry for a while, by now you probably have the soft skills needed to become a restaurant manager. But it takes a perfect balance of the above-outlined skills to become a professional restaurant manager.

Written by

Got a story to share? Become an EHL Insights contributor

Learn More


Learn how to run a Food & Beverage business in 5 months
This five-month intense program of 25 masterclasses will help you shape your business project thanks to management modules and the tools EHL developed for entrepreneurs. It will also immerse you in culinary operations, from fine-dining cuisine to freshly prepared takeaway food, catering, oenology and R&D.