Tips and Techniques for Being a Confident and Capable Restaurant Manager

What does the word “Management” mean? Look around the Internet and you’ll find many varying definitions. Here’s three examples of what some have said:

โ€ข “The activity of getting things done with the aid of people and other resources.”

โ€ข “Effective utilization and coordination of resources such as capital, materials, and labor to achieve defined objectives with maximum efficiency.”

โ€ข “The process of getting activities completed efficiently with and through other people including the process of setting and achieving goals through the execution of five basic management functions: planning, organizing, staffing, directing, and controlling; that utilize human, financial, and material resources.”

When you boil these three definitions down and summarize, as a Brazilian BBQ restaurant manager you simply must produce results and get the work done! We have a proven, three-step process of helping managers enjoy results as detailed below:

STEP ONE – YOU MUST GAIN CONTROL OVER YOUR OWN TIME AND ACTIVITIES FIRST

A study conducted several years ago found that the average restaurant manager has 64 unplanned interruptions during the course of a day. This doesn’t surprise any seasoned restaurant manager, but if you’re new to the industry or a first-time manager, this means that early in the game of management, you’ll need to take firm reins over your valuable time!

Your FIRST responsibility as a competent and capable restaurant manager is to hold yourself accountable for your own time and I had to learn this lesson the hard way.

As a young manager many years ago, I was to attend a meeting with my General Manager, Dave Dalmadge, at 4PM on a day that I was scheduled off. When that day arrived, I was many miles away from the restaurant, enjoying my day off. About 4:15, I received a call from Dave and he simply said to me, “We had a meeting scheduled for 4PM today and you’re not here. I allocated my time for you, so get here as soon as you can” and he hung up.

An hour later, I walked into his office and after profusely apologizing, I said, “Dave, I’ve always tried to remember every meeting and it’s pretty rare that I forget commitments. How do you seem to remember everything?” He responded by pulling out a little bound book from his pocket. On the cover of the little book were the words, “Day Timer” and he then showed me that he wrote his schedule and every schedule commitment he had made in the book. He said to me, “Kevin, get this system, use it every day, and you’ll never forget anything that’s important.” I eagerly ordered the 12 little monthly booklets and immediately found after using it just a short time that I:

1. … was never late for another meeting.
2. … never forgot anyone’s birthday (because I plugged them in for the entire year in the 12 little calendars).
3. … had less stress because I could see what events were coming up and I had plenty of time to prepare.
4. … had a written record of what had happened and what I accomplished.
5. … could integrate my personal and professional scheduled activities into one convenient spot.
6. … was no longer embarrassed by my own lack of accountability.
7. … started producing real results both at work and in my own personal life!

I’ll always be thankful to Dave for the singular most important restaurant, and life lesson he taught me – how to hold myself accountable and how to control my own schedule. Suddenly and with very little work on my own, I began doing the right thing at the right time!

Even though this event happened over 35 years ago, I still use a calendar. The one I use now is a small, 12-month, “At-a-Glance” calendar that accompanies me wherever I go. Maybe a little old school compared to using a phone or Outlook calendar, but it’s a system that works for me, especially because I can put tickets and other paperwork into that calendar. Whatever system you decide to use, you simply must take the responsibility for being personally accountable for your own time management because THIS is where good management skills begin. Good managers do the right thing at the right time, the right way

STEP TWO – LEARN AND USE THE 10 CHARACTERISTICS OF TODAY’S MODERN RESTAURANT MANAGERS

The second step of learning how to be a confident and capable restaurant manager means that you know and learn what the characteristics of top-performing managers are! Below are 10 top factors that will directly impact your ability to be a top performer!

1. BE ACCOUNTABLE. Unless you take responsibility for being on time, completing tasks and never being late, you’ll never be accountable. Use a good calendar system and you’ll find that you’ll instantly be more accountable!

2. LEAD BY EXAMPLE. If a napkin falls on the floor, pick it up. Dress the part – be sharp, groomed and clean. Don’t chew gum. Don’t yell. Don’t embarrass others publicly. Just know that all eyes are on you and whatever YOU do will be acceptable in the eyes of your employees. Hold yourself to a high standard and set the pace and keep high standards.

3. INSURE THAT YOUR PEOPLE SUCCEED. Today’s leaders don’t tell their employees to “Jump.” They jump WITH their employees, creating a mentality of working, “side by side” with them.

4. BE COMPETENT. Your ability to do everything in the restaurant builds your confidence. You as a manager should be able to jump in and temporarily help in any area that gets slammed. You should aspire to know as much or more than your employees about how every job is done. If you don’t know how to do something, learn it! Competence builds confidence. You will quickly find that confidence inspires trust from your team, so don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty!

5. LEAD OTHERS TO A MUTUAL ATTAINABLE GOAL. Every person wants to know what direction the team is headed and what their role is. Articulate the goal, the roles, the standards, benchmarks and key achievements and keep everyone informed! This process helps to promote and develop a sense of transparency in your management style which is another desirable trait of a good leader.

6. CONSTANTLY TRAIN. Norman Brinker, the founder of many restaurant concepts including Chili’s had a saying that’s always stuck with me and I’ve seen it proven over the years. “You are paid on your profits and promoted by your people.” This means that people development (this means training) needs to take place all the time. Every shift you work is 100% training time for everyone on your team and every moment is a training opportunity.

7. LISTEN AND COMMUNICATE. There’s a school of thought that says that if you listen well, you are a good conversationalist! Work on your ability to clearly communicate clearly, listen closely and don’t tolerate rumors.

8. BE FAIR AND BE EVEN WITH EVERYONE AND DON’T FRATERNIZE. In order to treat your employees fairly and evenly across the board, this means you can’t find yourself in compromising situations. Don’t find yourself out late at night with people you’re responsible for managing on a daily basis because you’ll quickly find that your ability to manage them will be compromised unnecessarily.

9. EXPRESS EMPATHY AND BE WARM & APPROACHABLE. If you want to be an effective manager, you better understand what perspective your employees are coming from when they want to talk with you. If you’re a good listener, are warm and approachable, and try to really understand what’s being said, these qualities will take you far in your management journey.

10. BE MATURE. This means be honest and trustworthy, don’t spread secrets or rumors, don’t divulge confidential information, don’t speak negatively of others and don’t ever find yourself in a suspicious situation. Integrity in this business means everything.

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