Career Development

What Does a Front of House Manager Do?

Find out what a Front of House Manager does, how to get this job, salary information, and what it takes to succeed as a Front of House Manager.

The Front of House Manager plays an integral role in ensuring that dining establishments offer an exceptional experience to their guests, from the moment they step in until their departure. This position involves a blend of leadership and coordination, overseeing the seamless operation of service areas including reception, dining, and any associated customer service functions. By managing staff, refining service protocols, and addressing customer feedback, the Front of House Manager ensures that the establishment’s atmosphere and service meet the highest standards of quality and hospitality. Their efforts directly influence the establishment’s reputation, customer satisfaction, and repeat business, making their role essential in the day-to-day operations and long-term success of the venue.

Front of House Manager Job Duties

  • Oversee daily operations of the front of house, including managing staff schedules, ensuring all shifts are covered, and adjusting as necessary for unexpected absences or peak times.
  • Train new front of house staff on restaurant policies, customer service expectations, and the use of point of sale (POS) systems.
  • Monitor and maintain the dining area’s cleanliness and ambiance, ensuring it meets health regulations and creates a welcoming environment for guests.
  • Handle customer complaints and issues, resolving them in a manner that maintains the restaurant’s reputation and ensures customer satisfaction.
  • Coordinate with the back of house manager to ensure timely and accurate communication between the kitchen and front of house staff, facilitating smooth service operations.
  • Implement and manage a reservations system, including taking reservations, planning for special events, and managing waitlists during peak dining times.
  • Oversee the financial transactions at the front of house, including managing cash flow, preparing bank deposits, and ensuring all transactions are accurately recorded.
  • Develop and implement marketing and promotional strategies to attract new customers, including managing social media presence, coordinating with local businesses for cross-promotion, and organizing special events or theme nights.

Front of House Manager Salary & Outlook

Factors affecting a Front of House Manager’s salary include the size and prestige of the establishment, years of experience in hospitality management, specific skills in customer service and staff leadership, and the ability to handle high-volume, high-pressure environments. Performance in maintaining high customer satisfaction ratings also significantly influences salary.

  • Median Annual Salary: $56,175 ($27.01/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $73,500 ($35.34/hour)

The employment of front of house managers is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade.

This growth is driven by the expanding hospitality industry, including restaurants and hotels, which require skilled managers to oversee customer service, manage staff, and ensure operational efficiency. The demand for enhanced dining and lodging experiences further fuels the need for proficient Front of House Managers.

Front of House Manager Job Requirements

Education: A Front of House Manager typically holds a high school diploma, with many having pursued some college courses. Ideal educational backgrounds include hospitality management, business administration, or related fields. Courses in customer service, communication, and management are beneficial. While a specific major is not mandatory, studies that enhance understanding of the hospitality industry, leadership, and operational skills can provide a solid foundation for this role.

Experience: Front of House Managers typically emerge from a blend of on-the-job training and formal training programs, honing skills in customer service, staff management, and operational logistics. Experience often includes roles that involve direct interaction with customers, leading teams, and managing the day-to-day operations of a dining establishment. Successful candidates usually have a background that combines practical, hands-on experience with structured learning, developing a keen understanding of both the hospitality industry’s standards and the nuances of creating exceptional guest experiences.

Certifications & Licenses: Certifications and licenses are not typically required for the position of Front of House Manager.

Front of House Manager Skills

Customer Service Management: Balancing empathy, problem-solving, and communication, Front of House Managers ensure patrons leave with a positive impression. Tailoring responses to meet and exceed the unique needs and expectations of guests is central to this role, requiring a nuanced approach to every interaction.

Reservation Systems: Familiarity with various software platforms is necessary for managing bookings and seating arrangements efficiently. By accommodating guests according to their preferences and the restaurant’s capacity, Front of House Managers optimize dining room flow, minimize wait times, and enhance customer satisfaction.

Staff Training: Providing team members with the knowledge and tools for exceptional service, these managers conduct regular training sessions, role-playing scenarios, and offer constructive feedback. Their efforts aim to ensure staff proficiency in menu knowledge, order accuracy, and hospitality etiquette, fostering a culture of continuous improvement.

Menu Knowledge: An in-depth understanding of the restaurant’s menu, including ingredients, preparation methods, and potential allergens, is crucial. This expertise allows Front of House Managers to address customer inquiries effectively, make informed recommendations, and manage dietary restrictions with confidence.

Conflict Resolution: Handling disagreements requires a balance of empathy, firmness, and quick thinking. By efficiently resolving conflicts between staff and customers or among team members, Front of House Managers maintain a harmonious dining experience and uphold the establishment’s service reputation.

Beverage Service Management: Coordinating the selection, procurement, and presentation of beverages, these managers ensure drink offerings complement the dining experience while also contributing to profit margins. Awareness of market trends and customer preferences is combined with training staff on proper serving techniques and up-selling strategies.

Front of House Manager Work Environment

A Front of House Manager operates in a dynamic environment where the ambiance and customer satisfaction are paramount. Their workspace is not confined to a desk; it spans the entire dining area, including the entrance, seating areas, and sometimes even extends to outdoor spaces. This role demands constant mobility, overseeing operations, and ensuring everything runs smoothly.

Tools of the trade include reservation systems, point of sale (POS) systems, and communication devices to stay connected with the kitchen and other staff. Work hours can extend beyond the typical 9-5, covering weekends and holidays, reflecting the hospitality industry’s rhythm. Dress code leans towards smart-casual or formal, mirroring the establishment’s atmosphere.

The social environment is fast-paced, requiring a high level of interaction with both staff and patrons. This necessitates a calm demeanor and effective communication skills. Health and safety are also crucial, with a focus on maintaining a clean and safe environment for both guests and staff. The role is technology-driven, utilizing various software to streamline operations and enhance the dining experience.

Advancement Prospects

A Front of House Manager can advance to higher managerial roles within the hospitality industry, such as General Manager or Operations Manager, overseeing multiple venues or the entire hospitality operations. Progression often involves gaining experience in various aspects of service, including fine dining, event management, and customer service excellence.

To accomplish these advancements, a Front of House Manager should focus on mastering budget management, staff training, and development, as well as enhancing the customer experience. Demonstrating leadership in crisis management and showing innovation in service delivery are also crucial.

Specializing in a niche, such as luxury hospitality or event planning, can open doors to targeted career paths like Hotel Manager or Director of Guest Services. Success in these roles requires a deep understanding of market trends and customer preferences within the specific niche.


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