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The 6 Key Skills of a Restaurant Leader

Whether you’re a worker looking to apply for a restaurant managerial position or are an employer looking for a highly qualified individual to fulfill the role, there are several critical skills that restaurant leaders need to have to perform their job successfully. These skills can significantly impact the leader’s restaurant management style, which will, in turn, influence the restaurant’s performance and the performance of its other employees overall. Before applying for a restaurant manager position or hiring one to take over the reins, make sure you understand the following six essential leadership skills and the critical role that each of them plays in helping to ensure that a restaurant is being run as safely and effectively as possible. And if you’d like to find out additional information regarding the essential elements of running a successful restaurant, take a look at some of the quality resources offered by ARROW UP today.

Related: Training a Restaurant Manager in 2021

Skill 1: Have Great Knowledge and Understanding of the Restaurant Industry

A restaurant leader taking the order of two seated guests to make up for limited wait staff.

Managers must understand that restaurants are multifaceted businesses that include several different departments and several rules and regulations regarding how those departments need to be run to protect customer and employee safety. For a restaurant manager to be an effective leader, they need to understand the intricacies of these departments and coordinate all of the operations within them appropriately. They should also know enough about each department to be able to step in and lend a hand in the event of shift staffing issues.

Skill 2: Develop Thorough and Effective Training Programs 

One of the essential elements of managing a restaurant successfully involves training, instructing, and inspiring employees to perform their jobs effectively. Managers will need to develop effective training programs and materials to teach these employees. They must also ensure that these resources are made widely available to all parties who require them. Additionally, restaurant managers will need to continually update these materials over time and help to promote an environment of continuous learning and growth.

Related: Workplace Safety for Restaurants, Bars, and Cafes

Skill 3: Motivate & Recognize the Achievements of Their Staff

Keeping employees motivated and engaged in their jobs is a critical element of managing a restaurant successfully. One effective way to accomplish this motivation and engagement is to acknowledge and reward employees for their achievements and accomplishments. This can be done through several different methods, such as implementing an employee of the month program, salary increases, end-of-year bonuses, earned paid vacation days, and more. Offering rewards and incentives while also encouraging healthy competition between employees is a great way to keep morale up. In addition, team-building exercises should also be incorporated to help employees form solid bonds and improve their effectiveness as a cohesive unit.

Are you the owner of a business that’s searching for quality resources and training for employee safety and compliance? Check out the stellar services offered by ARROW UP today, or reach out to them at to learn more.

Skill 4: Set Goals and Delegate Employees Effectively 

A restaurant and bar manager helping to work the front counter to ensure all guests are served promptly.

One of the key responsibilities of leaders within any industry is setting goals and ensuring employees are meeting them as time goes on. Setting goals provides workers with a sense of direction and purpose while also indicating whether a business is running smoothly and on target. The best way to set goals and objectives is to ensure that they are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. These five characteristics (which can be remembered with the acronym SMART) are crucial for pushing a business forward. However, they must also be paired with the effective delegation of employees. Restaurant managers must know when, where, how, and by who specific operations are supposed to be handled. This effective delegation of tasks can be implemented through thorough task planning, granting authority to hard-working and trusted employees, employee progress monitoring, and consultations. Without both established goals and proper employee delegation, a restaurant (or any business, for that matter) is unlikely to perform well or stay open for long.

Skill 5: Be Approachable, Trustworthy, and Fair

It is vital that all employees feel comfortable coming to their manager with concerns, questions, issues, and complaints to work effectively. Because of this, restaurant managers and leaders, in general, need to be perceived as approachable and trustworthy, and employees need to know that they will approach any potential problems with fair and reasonable judgment. Suppose an employee doesn’t feel safe or comfortable enough to go to their manager with potential issues and concerns. In that case, the employee is unlikely to be able to fulfill their duties effectively. With time, they may even decide that it would be best to quit and go work somewhere else where their voice will be respected, and their concerns are taken into consideration.

Related: Ending Sexual Harassment in Restaurants Means Changing Service Culture

Skill 6: Operate Well Under Stress and be Able to De-Escalate Problems

Being a manager or leader in any business environment is already hectic and demanding, but this can especially be the case when managing a restaurant, where stressful situations and problems can quickly develop. For restaurant leaders to be effective at their jobs, they need to perform well and remain calm in the face of stress while also de-escalating tense or problematic situations before they boil over. Some of the most frequently encountered sources of stress that restaurant leaders must know how to contend with include poor working conditions, excessive workloads, understaffing, a lack of social support or support from higher management, limited growth opportunities, and more. By being able to remain calm, manage stress, and help other employees to do the same, restaurant leaders can facilitate a more effective, cooperative work environment where people can feel safe and secure. This ability allows them to work diligently and better reach established company goals. 

Are you looking for practical, top-quality employee training courses for safety, accident prevention, and prevention of sexual harassment in the workplace? Check out the services offered by ARROW UP or contact them at today to learn more about how they can help.