Many restaurant employees I’ve worked with wanted to become managers. They all had similar reasons for it: a bigger paycheck; a desire for authority and recognition; a more stable schedule. But most of them also didn’t understand what it means to be a restaurant manager.
Managers play a crucial role in day-to-day restaurant operations, and in the ultimate success or failure of a restaurant.
Here are the three most common misconceptions many current and aspiring restaurant managers have about being a restaurant manager.
Manager misconception #1
Restaurant management is a job
It may be a job, but it doesn’t have to be.
There are three types of restaurant managers. The most successful ones don't treat their job like a job.
The first type of manager gets through the shift with no particular agenda besides how to make the time go by quicker. There is no purpose behind their actions besides self-servitude. You can’t expect much more from them. They do just enough not to get fired, and get paid just enough not to quit. They are warm bodies kept around until their intentions become clear.
The second type of restaurant manager shows up to work and does their job. They do what they are told to do and go home. No more, no less. They are reliable. They know what their responsibilities are and carry them through. You give them a project, it will get done.
These managers are kept around sometimes for a very long time, because they’re predictable. Employers know what to expect of them. They are a huge step up from the type one manager. But being a type two manager carries with it a danger that is far bigger than the type one.
Type two managers don't progress, and the restaurant they work in doesn't either. They may stay at one job for a while, but the only merit in staying in one spot is stagnation. They are the middle of the road, the average, the mediocre. And they are treated as such.
The type three restaurant manager may have a title, a set schedule and a tome of a job description, but they don't treat their work as a job. They treat it as an opportunity to learn, to grow and to give. To them, getting the most out of their job means giving it more than they want to get out of it. It’s a radically different mindset than showing up to work just to do your job.
These managers take initiative to start projects, and get creative in solving problems. They don't wait to be told what to do, they just do. They are not motivated by their salary and benefits; their main compensation is growth through experience. They go above and beyond and don't stop there. They show up to earn their title every day the same way the owner has to every day earn the opportunity to stay in business.
Restaurant managers with this mindset get promotions, preeminence and permanence in their careers.
Manager misconception #2
The manager's main job is to tell people what to do
It is often assumed that many restaurant managers detach from operational details. They don't have to be in the trenches as much, thus are no longer able to empathize with their employees.
A certain amount of authority comes with the management role, and using authority to get things done will sometimes result in backlash. But the restaurant manager's job isn’t to tell people what to do.
A restaurant manager's role is very comparable to that of an orchestra conductor. Orchestra conductors unify their orchestra performers, set the tempo, and listen critically. He or she controls the pacing and shapes the sound of the music. Their work is in creating a smooth performance that magnifies the musical experience for their listeners.
The restaurant manager’s role is no different. Their role is to unify their front of house and back of house teams. The manager is the best listener, sets the pace and mood in the restaurant. The manager makes sure the entire show runs smoothly to create an exceptional experience for guests.
The most effective restaurant manager floats from one place to another. They notice things that others don't, keeping their finger on the pulse of the restaurant at all times.
A lot different from telling people what to do.
Manager misconception #3
Senior managers know it/do it best
When hiring, restaurants still put experience and seniority first. While experience can be valuable, seniority is falsely associated with experience.
More years of service or a higher rank doesn’t always mean more knowledge or better skills. Seniority hardly means potential to add more value to the business. A manager can stay at a job for decades and still not be able to add as much value as a newcomer counterpart.
The real value of accumulating experience is the evaluated experience.
At work or in life we all experience more than we evaluate. It is not the length of the experience, but the depth of the experience that makes the biggest difference.
This is why some managers stay in one place and never progress. They are working at the same job for decades, merely reliving the same day over and over again.
Experience must turn into insight or it has no real value.
In the same way that maturity doesn’t always come with wisdom, seniority doesn’t always come with more evaluated experience. Often it only comes with some wrinkles and a sense of entitlement.
This article was also featured on Typsy.com