February 14, 2022 •

8 min reading

9 Most in-demand soft skills for restaurant management jobs

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Working in the hospitality industry can be incredibly fulfilling, especially if you have an inclination to provide exceptional service and create memorable experiences for guests. As a restaurant manager, you will have the opportunity to oversee the day-to-day activities of the restaurant, ensuring smooth operations and delivering a high standard of service.

Are you passionate about working in the dynamic and rewarding hospitality industry? Do you dream of stepping into a management role in a bustling restaurant? If so, you're likely wondering, "What skills are necessary to become a successful restaurant manager and how can I acquire them?" This article aims to answer all of your questions and set you on the right path to fulfilling your dream career as a Restaurant Manager. 

 

What does a Restaurant Manager do?

A restaurant manager is responsible for the day-to-day activities of the restaurant. Restaurant management is an enriching career for those who like a fast-paced environment and a lot of variety in their job role. The hospitality industry is laden with lots of opportunities that you can grab and use to make a name for yourself.

The Restaurant Manager's duties include:

  • Recruiting, training, and supervising staff.
  • Designing staff schedules, sign-off hours, and overseeing payroll.
  • Ensuring the front bar and the kitchen are well-stocked.
  • Ensuring compliance with licensing, hygiene, and health and safety legislation.
  • Ensuring that the company rules and protocols are followed.
  • Managing budgets and submitting profitability reports.
  • Promoting and marketing the business.
  • Attending meetings and contributing to how to increase the restaurant's profits.
  • Handling customer inquiries and complaints.
  • Taking reservations.
  • Having input on the menu.
  • Greeting and advising customers.
  • Implementing strategies to enhance the overall operations of the business and cultivating the growth and expansion of the restaurant.

Working in the hospitality industry often means that your working hours may be long and irregular, especially if you are employed by a smaller or specialized restaurant. It is common for you to work shifts and also be required to cover additional roles as needed.

How to Become a Restaurant Manager

Breaking into the role of Restaurant Manager directly from education is not the norm. This senior position requires a deep understanding of the entire restaurant operations, which is best gained through hands-on experience in various roles such as serving, working in the kitchen, and tending the bar. By immersing yourself in these interconnected parts of the restaurant business, you'll gain invaluable insights into the challenges and be well-prepared for a management role.

You will also be able to stand-in to cover for any unforeseen staff shortages and you'll be able to train in new staff members independently. To excel as a restaurant manager, you need a mixture of both hard and soft skills and following this trajectory, paired with higher education, is one way to learn those skills land your dream job as a Restaurant Manager.

Education Requirements

You don’t necessarily need a degree to become a restaurant manager, but a qualification in business studies, catering, or hospitality management will most certainly give you an advantage. Especially if you're interested in a position within more complex or high-level restaurant businesses where the opportunity to have more responsibility and earn a higher salary is more likely.

Practical experience is essential in this field. You can gain this through hospitality, catering or customer service work. Alternatively, an internship will also give you an edge when applying to a Restaurant Manager position.

 

Restaurant Manager career outlook

The outlook for Restaurant Managers is fairly positive at the moment as a labor shortage means they are in high demand. Whilst the uncertain economic outlook is putting a squeeze on hospitality businesses in general, they understand the importance of a great manager who can help maximize efficiencies and drive profits.

What's more, those candidates with strong soft skills in addition to the hard skills required to do the job will be highly sought after by restaurant and hospitality bosses in an era of labor and skills shortages.

Restaurant Manager salary

The salary of a Restaurant Manager varies quite drastically depending on a number of factors, chiefly including country and location, the candidate's level of education and experience, and the type and caliber of the restaurant.

Salaries are likely to be higher in capitals and metropolitan cities and in luxury or specialty restaurants, as well as in fine dining or luxury establishments or within 5-star hotels, as opposed to fast food or casual dining restaurants. According to jobs site Indeed, the average salary of a Restaurant Manager in the US is $58,082 per year, they might also benefit from sharing tips and on-shift meals. In Switzerland, the average salary is CHF 91,568 per year, and in Singapore $71,400.

 

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. If you are applying for a restaurant manager position, you may need skills such as food and beverage management, commercial acumen, and human resource management.

Even though you have technical skills for the job, you must have soft skills such as communication know-how, 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.

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What soft skills does a Restaurant Manager need?

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 with their supervisors, they feel a part of the business and are more motivated to work.

Clear communication is essential in a restaurant 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, loss of 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 is 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, and 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.

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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 put you 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 adopt 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 values 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.

 
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