How to become a Restaurant Manager. Read through our comprehensive job guide to learn more about this career.
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What does a Restaurant Manager do?
Restaurant and catering managers are responsible for making sure customers are satisfied with the quality of food and service provided in a range of eating places.
As a restaurant manager, you could work in hotels, small independent restaurants, eateries that are part of a large chain, and fast-food outlets. You would be front of house, welcoming customers to the restaurant and showing them to their table.
As a catering manager you would work in larger catering operations, such as business or factory canteens, hospitals or schools. You would have less contact with customers than a restaurant manager, and spend more time behind the scenes.
Your duties as a restaurant or catering manager would include:
- planning menus
- advertising vacancies and recruiting staff
- making sure all staff are fully trained
- keeping staff motivated to provide the highest standard of service
- organising shift patterns and rotas
- managing stock control and budgets
- running the business in line with strict hygiene, health and safety guidelines.
As a restaurant manager, your working hours would typically include evenings, weekends and public holidays. Shift work and split shifts (working mornings and evenings, with time off in the afternoon) are also common.
As a catering manager, you are more likely to work regular daytime hours.
You may have the opportunity to work overtime during the lead up to important events.
How much does a Restaurant Manager earn?
Salary and pay information:
- Starting salaries for trainee restaurant or catering managers can be between £17,000 and £23,000 a year.
- With experience, this could rise to between £28,000 and £42,000.
Figures are intended as a guideline only.
To apply for a trainee manager post, you will usually need a good general standard of education plus relevant experience.
Another way you could get into a management position would be to work your way up. For example, you could start as a waiter/waitress and with experience and qualifications (such as an NVQ Level 2 in Food and Drink Service), you could take on more responsibilities, supervising less experienced colleagues. You would then be in a good position to apply for a trainee management post.
Many hotel chains run management trainee schemes that can lead to restaurant or catering management. You will usually need a qualification such as a foundation degree, BTEC HNC/HND or degree, although some employers will accept you with A levels or a BTEC National award. Subjects like hospitality business management, and culinary arts management would be particularly useful. Check the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) website for a list of course providers. You will also need to check with individual institutions for details on for entry requirements.
- Universities and Colleges Admissions Service
Fast-food chains, catering companies and large restaurants may also run management trainee schemes.
Training and Development
As a manager or trainee manager, you will usually receive on-the-job training. You could support this by working towards a qualification such as a foundation degree, for example in hospitality management.
If you are a graduate with a degree not related to hospitality, you could take a one-year BA (Hons) conversion degree course in Service Sector Management. If your degree is in a relevant subject, you could go on to take a postgraduate diploma or Masters in hospitality management.
As a restaurant manager, you may be encouraged to apply for a personal licence for the sale of alcohol. In England and Wales, restaurants serving alcohol need a premises licence and a named personal licence holder (usually the manager). To apply for a personal licence, you need to meet four criteria. You must:
- be at least age 18
- not, within the last five years, have had a personal licence forfeited
- have an accredited licensing qualification (or be a ‘person of prescribed description’).
You will also need to agree to a Criminal Records Bureau check.
- Criminal Records Bureau
Four awarding bodies offer the Level 2 National Certificate for Personal Licence Holders qualification; the British Institute of Innkeeping (BIIAB), EDI, HABC and NCFE (check the websites for more details about the qualification and where to study).
Skills and Knowledge
- a tactful and diplomatic manner
- the ability to motivate and manage staff
- strong customer service skills
- good communication skills
- the ability to keep calm under pressure
- good teamworking skills
- the ability to work accurately with figures and manage a budget
- a well organised and methodical approach.
Many restaurants in the UK are owner-managed or run by the owner in partnership with a manager. With experience and financial backing, you could set-up and run your own restaurant.
As a catering manager, you would find job opportunities in business, industry, education, the NHS and the Armed Forces. With experience you could start up your own contract catering business.
Your experience as a manager could lead to a regional management post, and opportunities in related areas such as hotel management.