What’s the Career Path of a Restaurant Manager?

THIS ARTICLE WAS FIRST PUBLISHED ON SIRVO.COM.


If you like being the host (or life) of the party or if you enjoy bringing people together for a good time, then you’ll enjoy working as a manager in the service industry. The hours can be long, but the rewards are worth it. You’ll form close friendships with your employees and with your patrons. Some of these connections will last a lifetime.

You know, we would never tell someone they don’t have to go to college to be successful. But with the internet bringing the world closer together and with the world changing rapidly, the fact is A) success is being measured differently and B) there are other ways to achieve success.

In 2017, restaurant and foodservice jobs make up 11% of employment in the state of Colorado. The National Restaurant Association predicts that number to grow by 12.3% by the year 2027. Here are more stats illustrating why pursuing a management career in the service industry is a viable option.

Within the industry, there are just a few steps to becoming your own (or THE) boss, but each step requires a complete grasp of the level before. Most managers work within the industry, either starting out as a bartender or server, but it’s increasingly common that employees from the Back of the House become heads of restaurants, too.

Whether you pursue a career by learning the business as you go or by working in the business while going to school, this is pretty much the path a manager takes.

1. Host/Server, Prep Cook/Dishwasher

If you’re in the front of the house, you’ll start out as a host or server. If you’re in the back of the house, you’ll start out as a prep cook or dishwasher.

Managers must always know how every aspect of their restaurant functions. Starting out at the bottom is a great way to learn how a foodservice establishment operates. Knowing exactly what your employees go through on a shift to shift basis is a great way to earn their respect.

Also, there will be times when you have to jump in and help out. You’ll want to know what you’re doing. If you’re hired into a company as a management trainee, it’s very likely their training program will have you working in every position of the restaurant at some point.

2. Bar or Service Manager

After learning the restaurant positions and functions, you’ll be able to move to higher level positions such as the Bar Manager or Service Manager.

In these positions, you’re given the responsibility of managing small teams of employees, mentoring and training, and handling opening and closing duties to ensure the restaurant functions at its highest level.

3. Assistant General Manager

After Bar/Service Manager, the next step is taking the reins as Assistant General Manager. At this level, it’s common to be paid a salary instead of on an hourly basis. This level of management is also typically offered benefits.

The trade off is, the hours are loooong. You’ll be the first to arrive in the mornings or the last to leave at night. But, you’re also learning the upper-level management skills needed to someday run your own restaurant.

4. General Manager/Owner

This is typically the highest position in the restaurant. You have final say in all business decisions. You’re in charge of making sure the business is a success. You’re responsible for all employees. If you’re working for a corporation, you can still progress higher than GM. If you’re working for a small company, this could be the highest you can get before you move to the next step of owning your own business.

If you decide to go the corporate route, other possible positions to achieve could be:

  • Area Manager
  • Regional Manager
  • Division Executive

Rest assured, the service industry as a career choice is here to stay. Taste trends are changing faster than ever, which means more new restaurants are on the horizon. An added benefit of a career in the service industry is it’s very easy to travel, so keep that in mind as your think about your future. Restaurants and bars are everywhere!


Visit Sirvo.com and Serviceableonline.com for more service industry job advice and to begin your career today.


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