Many of us have been presented the opportunity to move up to management in a restaurant. Some seek it out, while others seem to kinda just stumble into it. Regardless, the reality is that the opportunity does exist for those who wish to pursue it further. Every restaurant has their own process, some being more formal/professional than others. Here are a few pointers for anyone who is working in a restaurant and has entertained the idea of becoming a manager.

Use your voice

Restaurant management is constantly looking at their staff to identify who should be approached about a leadership role. If you are wanting to move up the ladder, then that should be communicated at the very beginning. Have a conversation, be it in the interview process or at some point during training. It also helps if you communicate it to the right person, i.e. the GM, Chef or Owner. Don’t worry if you seek a management role later in your tenure, just don’t expect anyone to be able to read your mind.

Take every opportunity to refine your talents and expand on your skill-set.

Become a trainer

Trainers are the staff leaders of the restaurant and are usually the people that are the most knowledgeable about product and service. They are also who the management team goes to for feedback and suggestions. If you are wanting to be taken seriously as a true leader within the restaurant, this is a role you must obtain and perform well in. Being able to work with new staff not only helps them learn, but it also allows you to develop your skills as a teacher. Think of trainers as the “elders” of the tribe, they are the ones that pass on the traditions and culture of the company. 

Lead by example

Nobody likes someone who is a know-it-all or is bossy, so don’t be that person. A true leader leads by example and sets a positive tone for others to follow. Whether you notice it or not, people are looking at you to see how you react in different situations. Keep a calm and cool demeanor during high-stress moments and lend a helping hand when needed. You don’t have to be everyone’s friend, but they have to know they can count on you when the going gets tough. If you cannot be recognized as a leader amongst your peers, don’t expect it later when and if you enter a management role.

Think of trainers as the “elders” of the tribe, they are the ones that pass on the traditions and culture of the company.

Develop professionally

Take every opportunity to refine your talents and expand on your skill-set. Being a leader is difficult, even for those who have “natural” ability. A lot of companies will offer training throughout the year or will even pay for classes or certifications that help you grow professionally. Often being the boss just means you have been deemed the one responsible for everything, which is a heavy burden to bare. In order to make a real impact, you must bring more to the table. How’s your wine knowledge?  What areas of the restaurant are you most unfamiliar with? Identify where you can improve and seek out ways to do so.

Obviously, there are multiple ways to move up the ladder and many different routes can be taken. These are just a few methods we suggest utilizing to move up the ranks. It is a totally different scenario for one to be hired into a management role as opposed to someone working their way up. For people without management experience, working your way up is the best option. Head to our job board to see what entry-level opportunities await you or if you already have a management background click here


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