Running a restaurant takes a specific type of person, and a restaurant manager needs to be able to perform many tasks to be successful - from managing staff to preparing good food. Your restaurant manager is the face of the business, the person that will deal with customer complaints and ensure that the kitchen and dining areas work in the way that they are supposed to.
If you are hiring for a restaurant manager, whether that is for a dining establishment or a restaurant that is part of another business like a hotel, it is imperative that you choose the right candidate. Restaurants and the wider service industry tend to suffer from a high turnover of staff, so choosing the right people in the first place can reduce not only the cost per hire, but the risk of staff leaving quickly once hired.
This article looks at the skills and abilities a restaurant manager needs to have to be successful, along with the ways that you could test for these to ensure that you choose the right applicant.
What should a restaurant manager be able to do?
A restaurant manager will complete several different tasks throughout their working week, and these combine efficient running of the kitchen and the dining area, safety and quality of food preparation, and supervising staff members throughout.
In terms of managing people, a restaurant manager needs to be able to hire new staff and deal with those already in position. This means maintaining a rota, deciding who is working in what area, and dealing with staffing issues like holidays, training, and other problems.
The right restaurant manager will be confident in dealing with the administration side of the business, from monitoring inventories to selecting new menu items. They will need to keep an eye on budgets and payroll records, count money and make bank deposits, and ensure that the POS and other systems are working and being used effectively. They will need to keep good records for Health and Safety requirements, from temperature checks to cleaning schedules, and arrange for deliveries and removal of waste.
Customer service should begin and end with the restaurant manager; they are the person that is responsible overall for the happiness of the diners while they are in the premises. They will need to ensure that the menu is right for the customers, the food is cooked and presented to the right standards, and that staff are behaving in the required way. The restaurant manager will also be responsible for investigating and dealing with any complaints that are received so that the clients leave happy at the end of their meal - and hopefully come back.
Skills to look for in a restaurant manager
As the tasks that a restaurant manager will have to complete are so varied, there are a number of skills that you should be looking for during the hiring process. Restaurant manager skills combine both soft skills (like communication and leadership) with more technical skills (such as knowledge of POS software and the ability to cook).
Some of the skills that you should look for in a restaurant manager include:
- Software knowledge: if you have specific, bespoke software that you use for your restaurant, you may have to train your manager on using the system. However, some knowledge of how POS software works and the use of different accounting software like Xero or even Microsoft Excel will help.
- Management of people: management is a crucial part of this role, and managing people is a skill that not everyone possesses. Restaurant managers need to be good leaders and team players, but they also need to be able to manage the expectations and enjoyment of customers, too.
- Time management: restaurant managers are responsible for managing their own time, but they also need to be able to manage other people's time through rotas and clear delegation of tasks.
- Decision making: although this skill is not just relevant to the management of a restaurant, good critical thinking, judgement, and decision-making skills are needed to ensure that the right food is delivered to the right customer. This includes deciding on the best dishes to serve, how they will look, and how much to charge for them.
- Active listening: listening is a part of communication that takes real skill to do well, and restaurant managers need to be able to demonstrate that they are capable of active listening to be able to deal with the day-to-day running of the kitchen and wider restaurant, as well as to solve any problems that the customers might have.
Useful abilities for a restaurant manager
Restaurant managers need to have certain abilities and aptitudes to be successful. A person that doesn't thrive in a busy environment will not feel comfortable running a fast-paced kitchen, and those who lack leadership and communication skills will not be able to build a good team or deal with customer complaints.
There are some abilities that you should look out for when hiring a restaurant manager, including:
- Oral comprehension and expression: the best restaurant managers are able to listen and understand the things that their staff, suppliers, and customers are saying - and they can also express themselves in the right way. Understanding others and being able to express themselves makes for a great restaurant manager.
- Communication: communication can take many forms, from speaking to staff and customers to creating descriptions of dishes and emailing suppliers. Restaurant managers should be comfortable communicating with executives, clients, suppliers and staff when needed.
- Logical reasoning: with judgement and decision making, restaurant managers need to be able to think logically to assess a problem and come up with the right solutions when necessary. The ability to reason logically will help restaurant managers make better decisions.
- Leadership: an essential aptitude for a restaurant manager is the ability to lead other people. They will be responsible for every staff member, including chefs and waiting staff. The restaurant manager will need to be able to work with their staff to solve issues and ensure a good experience for the customers.
Which soft skills tests could I use to hire a restaurant manager?
As a restaurant manager needs several different soft skills, choosing the right candidates based on their CV or experience might not be an effective way to ensure they have the right level of skill. Using a soft skills test will allow the candidate to demonstrate how their skills compare to the role and what you are looking for.
Below are some examples of soft skills tests that are particularly useful for a restaurant manager:
- Leadership: The leadership soft skills test asks questions relating to leadership scenarios to see how the candidate would react, with multiple actions that could be taken. These fictional scenarios are based on realistic situations that a restaurant manager might face in the role that they have applied for.
- Communication: this essential soft skill is tested using scenario-based questions to ensure that the candidate can confidently communicate in the right way, based on the situation that they are in. Multiple-choice options are given that the candidate must choose from, based on how they would respond.
- Adaptability: working in a fast-paced environment means needing to be able to respond to changing situations quickly. The adaptability test uses scenarios with different courses of action to choose from to demonstrate how adaptable the restaurant manager candidate is.
- Decision Making: the decision making assessment works with simple scenarios and allows the candidate to demonstrate their judgement by choosing the right course of action from multiple options.
- Teamwork: although nominally in a management position, the right restaurant manager will be able to work effectively as part of a team and be able to 'get stuck in' when needed with food preparation or dealing with customers. The teamwork assessment uses scenarios that put working as a part of the team into focus, needing the candidate to choose the most appropriate course of action to solve the problem.
Which technical or aptitude tests could I use to hire a restaurant manager?
Technical and aptitude skills need to be tested so that you as the recruiter can be certain that the applicants you take forward to the next stage of the hiring process have the right level of skill to be successful as a restaurant manager.
There are several different aptitudes and technical tests that could be used to assess candidates, including:
- Verbal reasoning: the verbal reasoning assessment presents a candidate with a paragraph of text followed by a multiple-choice question. The candidate needs to be able to read, understand and analyse the information that is presented to answer the questions in the given time limit.
- Numerical reasoning: restaurant managers will need to work with numbers confidently, ordering stock or calculating prices. The numerical reasoning test presents candidates with numerical data in the form of tables, graphs and charts, with a question that has multiple choice answers. To answer the question correctly, the candidate will need to perform a calculation, using basic mathematical operations as well as percentages, fractions, and ratios.
- Logical reasoning: logical reasoning tests put candidates under timed pressure to work out the answer to a question using logic. The questions have multiple choice answers, and to find the right answer they need to be able to think through the problem, spot patterns, and apply given rules.
- Error checking: a good eye for detail could be the difference between a beautiful well-received meal and a customer complaint - so the error checking test allows a candidate to demonstrate that they can spot a mistake. The candidate is presented with two seemingly identical portions of data, and they need to highlight the differences in the information.
Our recommended test battery for a restaurant manager
With all this in mind, hiring a restaurant manager means choosing the right combination of tests to highlight the skills, abilities, and aptitudes that a candidate has which will make them an ideal choice for recruitment as a restaurant manager.
The battery of tests that we would recommend include:
- Logical reasoning: an important skill for restaurant managers is the ability to make logical decisions using good judgement and critical thinking.
- Leadership:leadership is an essential skill to manage a good team and effective service during peak hours of a restaurant.
- Communication: restaurant managers need to be able to show that they can communicate and listen well in order to succeed within a team.
- Adaptability: they will need to be able to adapt to a fast moving environment and ensure smooth operation of the kitchen and dining areas of the business, leading staff and ensuring good teamwork.
These tests will give the candidate the opportunity to demonstrate that they have the right level of skills and aptitudes that are essential for a successful restaurant manager.
Here at Picked, we have provided a specific job knowledge test designed for a restaurant manager, which is an efficient and effective way of narrowing a candidate pool and getting quantifiable data for your hiring process.