Career Development

What Does a Restaurant Operations Manager Do?

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

The Restaurant Operations Manager plays an integral role in ensuring that the day-to-day operations of a restaurant run smoothly, from overseeing staff and managing budgets to ensuring customer satisfaction and maintaining quality standards. This position requires a blend of leadership skills and industry knowledge, as the manager must effectively coordinate between different departments, including the kitchen and dining room, to deliver a seamless dining experience. Balancing the operational needs with financial constraints, the manager also works on strategies for cost control, revenue growth, and implementing policies that uphold the restaurant’s reputation and compliance with health and safety regulations. Through a combination of strategic planning and hands-on management, the Restaurant Operations Manager ensures the establishment’s profitability and longevity, making it a central figure in the restaurant’s success and the satisfaction of its patrons.

Restaurant Operations Manager Job Duties

  • Oversee daily restaurant operations, ensuring all staff adhere to set service standards and operational procedures.
  • Manage financial activities, including budgeting, forecasting, and controlling expenses to maximize profitability.
  • Recruit, train, and mentor restaurant staff, focusing on developing a cohesive team that delivers exceptional customer service.
  • Implement and maintain quality control measures to ensure high standards of food safety and cleanliness throughout the restaurant.
  • Coordinate with the kitchen staff to develop menus, manage inventory, and ensure the timely preparation and presentation of dishes.
  • Handle customer complaints and feedback, taking appropriate actions to resolve issues and improve the dining experience.
  • Negotiate contracts with suppliers and vendors to secure the best prices for goods and services without compromising quality.
  • Develop and execute marketing and promotional strategies to increase brand awareness and attract new customers to the restaurant.

Restaurant Operations Manager Salary & Outlook

Factors affecting a Restaurant Operations Manager’s salary include the size and profitability of the restaurant, the manager’s experience and track record in the industry, the complexity of operations they oversee, and the performance metrics they achieve, such as customer satisfaction, cost reduction, and revenue growth.

  • Median Annual Salary: $63,525 ($30.54/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $122,000 ($58.65/hour)

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

This growth is driven by the expanding food service industry, requiring skilled managers to oversee operations, enhance customer satisfaction, and ensure compliance with health and safety regulations. Additionally, the rise in fast-casual dining and global cuisine trends necessitates adept leadership in managing diverse restaurant concepts.

Restaurant Operations Manager Job Requirements

Education: A Restaurant Operations Manager typically holds a high school diploma, with many having pursued some college courses. Relevant education paths include hospitality management, business administration, or culinary arts. These programs cover essential topics like food service management, accounting, and customer service, equipping candidates with the knowledge needed for effective restaurant management. Advanced positions may favor individuals with a bachelor’s degree in related fields, emphasizing leadership and operational skills.

Experience: Restaurant Operations Managers typically emerge from a blend of direct industry experience and structured on-the-job training. Candidates often start in entry-level positions, gaining hands-on experience in customer service, kitchen operations, and staff management. Progression into management roles is usually supported by internal training programs that cover operational procedures, financial management, and leadership skills. Experience in handling day-to-day restaurant challenges, such as inventory management and customer relations, is crucial. Continuous learning through workshops and seminars on the latest industry trends and technologies also plays a key role in their development.

Certifications & Licenses: Certifications and licenses for a Restaurant Operations Manager may include a Food Safety Manager Certification, such as ServSafe Manager Certification, and a local or state-specific Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) license if overseeing alcohol service. Other certifications, like a Certified Food and Beverage Executive (CFBE) by the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute, can be beneficial but are not universally required.

Restaurant Operations Manager Skills

Inventory Management: Balancing stock levels to align with customer demand while avoiding excess requires attention to detail and an analytical mindset. Regular inventory audits, forecasting based on historical data and trends, and negotiating favorable terms with suppliers are crucial for maximizing profitability and minimizing waste.

Staff Scheduling: Allocating shifts efficiently to ensure smooth restaurant operations without overstaffing or understaffing takes a deep understanding of peak times, staff availability, and individual capabilities. By optimizing labor costs and maintaining high service standards, the operations manager plays a significant role in enhancing the establishment’s profitability and customer satisfaction.

Quality Control: Maintaining the restaurant’s high standards for taste, presentation, and health safety in every dish is critical for customer satisfaction and repeat business. A meticulous eye for detail and a proactive stance on staff training and procedure implementation are necessary to uphold food quality excellence.

Customer Service Excellence: Handling complaints, queries, and suggestions with grace and efficiency is essential for ensuring a positive dining experience for every guest. Training staff to deliver service that exceeds customer expectations creates a hospitable environment that encourages repeat visits.

Financial Reporting: Producing accurate and detailed profit and loss statements, along with forecasting future financial trends, supports informed decision-making and strategic planning. This responsibility is crucial for maintaining the establishment’s financial health and profitability.

Compliance Management: Regular updates to policies, staff training sessions, and coordination of inspections are necessary to ensure adherence to local, state, and federal regulations, including health, safety, and labor laws. Maintaining licenses and certifications protects the establishment’s reputation and operational continuity.

Restaurant Operations Manager Work Environment

A Restaurant Operations Manager typically finds themselves in a dynamic environment where the pace can shift rapidly, especially during peak dining hours. Their workspace is not confined to an office; it extends throughout the dining area, kitchen, and even the administrative areas, requiring them to be mobile and adaptable. They utilize various tools and equipment, from reservation systems to kitchen appliances, ensuring smooth operations.

Work hours for this role often extend beyond the typical nine-to-five, including weekends and holidays, to align with the restaurant’s operational hours. Dress code usually mirrors the establishment’s ambiance, ranging from formal wear in upscale restaurants to more casual attire in laid-back settings.

The role demands high levels of interaction with both staff and customers, fostering a culture of teamwork and customer service excellence. Health and safety are paramount, with strict adherence to hygiene standards and regulations. Despite the demanding nature of the job, it offers opportunities for professional growth within the hospitality industry, making it a fulfilling career for those passionate about service and culinary arts.

Advancement Prospects

A Restaurant Operations Manager can ascend to higher managerial roles, such as a Regional Manager or Director of Operations, overseeing multiple locations. This progression requires a deep understanding of business operations, financial acumen, and a track record of improving restaurant performance.

To achieve these advancements, gaining experience in various restaurant settings, including fine dining and fast casual, is crucial. This diversification enhances problem-solving skills and adaptability. Specializing in areas like supply chain management or customer service excellence can also distinguish a candidate for upper management roles.

Engaging in industry-specific challenges, such as turning around underperforming locations, can further showcase a manager’s capabilities to potential employers or investors, opening doors to entrepreneurial opportunities within the hospitality sector.


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