In this article, I’m going to list the 7 characteristics you need to have to be a great leader in your restaurant.
Did you know that the most important leadership role in society is that of being a parent? Just like every parent has goals for his or her family, so should restaurant leaders have goals for their businesses too.
As an aspiring leader in a restaurant, you have to possess special attributes that will ensure the restaurant is successful.
Let’s face it. To be a successful restaurant manager, you must cultivate certain special skills. Becoming a restaurant leader is more than just putting on the restaurant manager attire. As the manager, you are responsible for different operations in the restaurant.
For example, you will be required to coordinate different facets of food production. You will be in charge of the servers, chefs, sous chef de cuisine, cleaners and the maitre d’ among other employees.
That is not all. Leadership in restaurants calls for implementing systems that ensure the smooth running of the business.
This means setting up systems that help with cash flow management, inventory tracking, staff management, training programs and others. That is not all. The systems should generate the appropriate reports which will help with decision making and planning for the future.
Here is what you need to know. How to be a leader in a restaurant is achievable as long as you cultivate the following leadership skills.
7 Leadership skills every restaurant manager must have
As said earlier, to be a restaurant leader, you need to have the following leadership skills:
- Great knowledge of the restaurant business
- Motivate your staff and recognize their achievement
- Set Goals
- Set training programs
- Handle stress
- Delegate wisely
- Be approachable and trustworthy
Here is an in-depth look at the above leadership skills.
1. Great knowledge of the restaurant business
A restaurant is a multi faceted business with different departments. For starters, you have the different facets of food production. The food production department or the kitchen is where ingredients are turned into edible food. In the kitchen, you have the chef, sous chef, dishwashing team and host staff among others.
Majority of restaurants do offer wine selections alongside the ordered meals. To provide customers with their choice of wine, you need sommeliers among your staff. That is not all. Your team also extends to cashiers, service members and other supervisors in your employment.
To be an effective leader, you must coordinate all operations in your restaurant. From food preparation to fulfilling customer orders, all these must be accomplished efficiently. As the restaurant manager, it is important to ensure that your employees respect and appreciate you.
Without these, you are doomed to fail.
As a leader, you need to know that respect and appreciation are earned and not demanded. Respect your employees and they will reciprocate the same. Appreciate their minor and major accomplishments and they will continue to be faithful to you which means they will continue working at your restaurant.
2. Motivate your staff and recognize their achievements
The one mistake past restaurant leaders have made is not motivating their employees. As a result, their employees have lost the will to provide their best when working. Not only that. They have been unable to market the restaurant because they had a bad experience.
If you don’t want to lose your talented chef, sous chef, hosting staff, bartenders, sommeliers and customers, then you need to motivate your employees. So, how does a restaurant leader motivate his or her staff?
For starters, acknowledge your employees accomplishments. To implement this, set up an “Employee of the Month” program. Don’t stop there. Accompany the recognition with a good gift for example a salary increase, trophy, paid day off or even a paid vacation at the end of the year.
You can up the game by offering incentives. A little healthy competition between the employees is highly encouraged. Award employees with gift cards and other gifts. As the manager, you can keep sales stats and offer bonuses to employees who make more sales.
Lastly, organize team building exercises like bowling, rock climbing and paintball. This will help to form strong bonds and improve team work.
3. Set Goals
Goals and objectives help the restaurant leadership and employees to have a sense of direction and purpose. Furthermore, goals help to provide a benchmark for the restaurant to know if it is succeeding or not.
It is important to understand that a business with no goals and objectives is doomed to fail.
How do you set goals and objectives? Use SMART. SMART refers to:
a. S – Specific
Set well defined and clear goals. Avoid generalized goals as they are unhelpful. Make sure that you define precisely what you want your restaurant to be now and in the future.
b. M – Measurable
Your goals need to be measurable. For example if your goal is to increase customers from 100 to 150 daily, what is your time frame? With a time frame beside each goal, success will be much easier to attain.
c. A- Attainable
Never set goals that are not attainable. Doing so will erode your confidence and demoralize you. Also don’t set goals that are easy to achieve. Set realistic goals that help you raise the bar for the restaurant.
d. R- Relevant
What direction do you have for your restaurant? Do you want to remain in the same location for years to come or would you like to franchise and expand not only to other states but to other countries too?
e. T – Time Bound
As said earlier, set your goals with a relevant time frame for example daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annually among others.
4. Set training programs
To be an effective leader and manager, you must inspire your employees. No employee wants to work for a leader who does not inspire and support the staff.
As such, it is important to retain employees who are not only smart but hardworking, diligent and honest. But how do you go about this? Well, the most effective method apart from motivation and appreciation is training.
As a leader, it is important to understand that human capital is a vital resource for any business.
To set an effective training program, start by carrying out training needs assessment. Training needs assessment helps you understand what training programs are perfect for your employees not only on a short term basis but for long term basis too.
You can work with established training institutions to develop training materials and courses for your employees. The materials need to be updated as time goes by and disseminated to employees via available digital platforms.
5. Handle stress
Stress is a common phenomenon in any work place. It is even worse at the restaurant where staff have to cope with different orders and demands from customers, supervisors and fellow employees.
As a manager, you have to deal with employee conflicts, cash flow management and inventory management among others.
If you are unable to deal with stress effectively, you will not run the restaurant smoothly.
Furthermore, your stress will stream to your employees through bursts of anger, use of abusive words and even physical harm. According to the American Psychological Association, the following factors are the main causes of stress at the workplace:
- Excessive workloads
- Low salaries and wages
- Lack of social support
- Fewer growth opportunities
- Poor working conditions
Stress management is an effective restaurant leadership style and it can be accomplished in the following ways.
- Step One – start by tracking the causes. It is important to keep a journal that will help identify what creates the most stress.
- Step Two – develop a healthy response. This means using healthy choices to alleviate stress levels. Some of the best methods include yoga, rock climbing or playing games.
- Step Three – implement relaxation techniques like meditation and deep breathing exercises.
6. Delegate wisely
Did you know that it’s a habit of highly effective leaders to delegate tasks to their employees? Well, now you know. When leaders delegate tasks, they provide their employees with an opportunity of stretching their wings and carrying out their orders.
This allows the staff to implement the knowledge and skills they learned or acquired during training. One thing you ought to know is that delegation is not all about barking orders.
Here are steps that will ensure you are able to delegate wisely.
- Start by planning the different tasks your employees are required to accomplish. During planning, make sure that the tasks are clear and concise. This will ensure that your employees’ creativity and initiative increases.
- Secondly, grant the specific employee with the authority to carry out the tasks on your behalf. This means making the necessary resources available to the employee.
- Thirdly, consult with the employees to know if they have any questions before embarking on their duties. Doing this before work commences helps to eliminate bottlenecks and other problems.
- Lastly, monitor your employees’ progress. As the manager, it is important to monitor the progress of your employees. This motivates the employees and helps you note any problems. If an employee is slacking in the workplace, you will be able to know just like how you will know about employees who are making more sales.
7. Be approachable and trustworthy
To become a good leader, it is important to ensure that you are approachable. You don’t want to build a wall between you and your employees. Remember, your employees come into contact with the customers and thus they have useful insights which can help to increase sales, improve the restaurant and attract more customers.
To be approachable, start by smiling every time you interact with your employees. This will make your employees feel welcomed. If an employee asks a question, take a deep breath before responding. This will give you time to find the most appropriate response. Always be sincere. This ensures that you are an encouraging beacon to the employees.
Listening is another important skill that makes you approachable. Avoid brushing off any suggestions or questions that employees ask. Furthermore, you should avoid interrupting your employees when they are sharing ideas or asking questions.
Finally, learn to tell the truth and keep all promises. Why? Credibility is very important and it helps to create a sense of trust.
The above 7 characteristics of an effective restaurant manager leader are just the beginning. What you need to know is that the list of skills needed to be an effective restaurant leader is extensive. You need to continue investing in training and leadership courses.
There are several training institutions that have specialized programs and they can be instrumental in modeling you to become a great leader. The courses offered will impart invaluable knowledge and skills that will ensure the efficient running of your restaurant. You can also consider looking for a mentor who will provide the much needed guidance as you move up the career ladder.
The best thing about investing in leadership training is that you get to develop your own style of leadership which is instrumental in driving your restaurant business to new heights.
I hope the information above is invaluable to you.
Comments are welcome and you can share this vital knowledge with family, friends and colleagues.