It’s 10:55 pm, five minutes from closing. Yet, there’s still so much for you – the restaurant owner – to do.
Someone must count the money, close the register, leave exactly $500 in ones, tens, twenties and change. Someone must check the kitchen, lock the doors, lock the freezers. Someone must look at the bathrooms and the tables…those tables…why are those tables still dirty?
You need more time, you need more hands, you need more employees. Wait, no, you need a general manager.
If you’ve worked in a restaurant before, you know the value of a good general manager. From handling revenues and costs, to staffing your restaurant, to organizing the daily operations, a good general manager will make any restaurant run smoothly.
So if you want to hire a general manager, keep these tips in mind.
Know Your General Manager’s Job Description
First, know what you’re looking for. Typically, general managers do the following:
- Decide all hiring and termination of employees.
- Control cash flow and receipts.
- Ensure all food is prepared within the guidelines and quality of the restaurant.
- Welcome customers and gives friendly and helpful responses to all inquires.
- Understand and follow the policies and procedures of the restaurant.
- Discipline employees who fail to uphold the policies and values of the restaurant.
- Ensure the restaurant is clean and follows all sanitary policies.
- Open and close the restaurant.
In addition to these tasks, you want someone with a strong, confident character, someone who can think and act under the pressures of time and space. You’ll want someone who can create a steady flow of food from the kitchen. You’ll want someone who can answer question after question without falling apart. When it’s Friday night, when all your tables are full and your restaurant has a 45-minute wait, you’ll want a good general manager in control.
Look Within the Restaurant Before Looking Outside
Before you begin searching for a general manager from outside your restaurant, consider promoting a current employee. If someone shows management skills, is the unacknowledged leader when you’re away, the one who’s been with the restaurant the longest, knows the ropes, and can train new employees, this is your man (or woman).
General managers hired from within stay longer. They not only know how the restaurant operates, but also who works at the restaurant and the regulars who come often.
Value Restaurant Experience
Yes, he may have managed a retail store for 10 years, but that doesn’t mean he can manage your restaurant. Managerial skills are important. But so is experience. The best general managers have mastered every role in the restaurant, from hosting and waiting to cooking and cleaning. A general manager with these experiences can better anticipate problems and prevent them from happening.
Remember, your general manager will regulate the daily operations of your restaurant. You don’t want to hire someone who knows nothing of the restaurant’s rhythms.
Interview Candidates with Conflict Management Scenarios
General managers must not only know how a restaurant works, but also how to make it work. And, more importantly, they must know how to make it work when it doesn’t.
Conflicts are common in restaurants: rarely does the restaurant run without something happening. Thus, when interviewing a candidate, create conflict scenarios and test your candidate’s ability to respond. What does one do when waiters fight over tips? When your waiter forgot to tell the cook that table 19 was gluten-free? When, overnight, the power failed and all the meat is now bad? When table 3 waited longer than expected for its drinks?
A general manager must be ready and willing. They must be well-versed in conflict management scenarios. Interviews, then, must test their aptness, their quickness, their decision-making skills.
Find Someone Local
Before relocating a general manager from two states over, look for talent in your local area. More than likely, you’ll find a highly talented person near your restaurant.
Locals have local knowledge. That’s their advantage. And as general managers, locals are experts of their areas. They know their cities, know the businesses, know the people and culture. They can give directions easier. They know musicians, artists, entertainers, all of whom they can invite to your restaurant. Plus, locals trust locals. The more familiar your general manager, the easier he can handle conflict.
Create Online Job Posts
Lastly, you’ll definitely want to create an online job application. In this era, creating an online job application broadens your search field, helping you to attract top talent.
But, you may ask, how can you find a local general manager over the Internet? The Internet, it seems, would advertise the vacant job to people from all over the country. How do you attract local talent over the web?