Effectively managing a restaurant is no easy feat. While some people are born leaders, leadership traits are only one asset required to run a restaurant.

The best restaurant managers are also adept at resolving conflict, can perform precise financial and inventory management, and aren’t scared to take on every role in the business. A trained restaurant manager is a jack of all trades and an accountable leader, an asset to any restaurant business owner.

The most successful restaurants seek leaders who have proven restaurant management training. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics points out that restaurant managers with experience and formal training or certification tend to land the best opportunities because they are in high demand.

The National Restaurant Association reports that 90% of restaurant managers started at an entry level, which means training and experience molded them into the successful leaders they are today. Learn more about restaurant management training, what it offers, and why it’s essential to your restaurant business.

What Does it Take to Manage a Restaurant?

Nearly anyone can be a restaurant manager in the short-term, but their ability to learn, challenge themselves, and build rapport with staff, vendors, and customers is the real mark of a born leader. Management candidates should be:

  • Humble
  • Approachable
  • Eager to learn
  • Comfortable resolving conflict
  • Quick thinking
  • Multitaskers
  • Process-focused

While this isn’t an inclusive list, these traitsand others have been identified as the most valuable for current and prospective restaurant managers.

What Does Restaurant Management Training Offer?

Managing a restaurant is difficult. A well-rounded manager must be able to multitask, think quickly, and consistently maintain a calm demeanor despite “putting out fires” or dealing with difficult people. Additionally, restaurant managers need to be fluent in all aspects of restaurant operations, including front and back of house functions. Restaurant management training offers formal instruction and practical exercises designed to enhance a leader’s hard and soft skills.

Types of Restaurant Management Training

Leaders can obtain formal restaurant management training in a classroom setting, through coursework and certifications, or via e-learning curriculums. The type of program you choose will depend on your leadership’s current skill set and your goals for training.

Restaurant Management Certifications & Courses
Restaurant management certifications offer courses designed to teach new and developing management staff about revenue, forecasting, administrative tasks, and leadership skills needed to run a restaurant. Course examples include:

  • Restaurant Revenue Management
  • Utilizing Operational Data
  • Service Cycles and Pricing
  • Legal Aspects and Insurance
  • Sales and Marketing Strategies
  • Menu Planning and Development
  • Talent Management

Some of the most distinguished schools that offer restaurant management programs include Penn Foster Career School, Cornell University, The Institute of Culinary Education, Culinary Institute of America, and various state universities that offer degrees in hospitality management. The National Restaurant Association’s management curriculum, called ManageFirst, is also an option for current and prospective managers. This program is available in more than 300 universities nationwide.

E-Learning Opportunities

Because the world of commerce is fast-paced, and many experienced professionals pursue education after the workday is complete, e-learning opportunities offer the flexibility to improve skills without a structured schedule.

The ServSafe Manager course is one option that offers an online curriculum in addition to self-study and instructor-led classes. Cornell University’s online certification hub, eCornell, also provides a restaurant management certification program for busy professionals.

Restaurant owners with the resources to do so may also choose to implement brand-specific e-learning courses that can be used to train new hires, shift leaders, and managers on processes specific to their business. The use of in-house e-learning is gaining popularity for its affordability and convenience.

Culinary vs. Restaurant Management

In many marketplaces, you may struggle to find programs specifically designed to offer restaurant management training. Instead, you might see culinary or hospitality management programs provided by community, state, or private institutions. Culinary and hospitality management programs may exclude some critical features found in restaurant management training programs.

For example, culinary management training often includes a focus on food preparation, culinary imagination, and food and wine pairings. In comparison, a restaurant management training program incorporates the many administrative and leadership tasks required of managers, including restaurant finances, marketing, advertising, and employee management.

SEE ALSO: How to Manage a Restaurant Business

Continuing Education for Restaurant Managers

In addition to formal restaurant management training, continuing education empowers managers to refine their skills and stay up-to-date with the latest trends and requirements affecting restaurant operations. Continuing education programs may also include coursework in soft skills, such as effective communication, training implementation, and complaint resolution.

Continuing education is critical because:

  1. Restaurant management is responsible for the initial and ongoing training of employees. In a fast-paced environment, training employees require patience and skill. Managers must be personable and able to effectively communicate ideas in a way that aligns with an employee’s learning style.
  2. Managers need to be competent team builders. One of the biggest morale-killers is internal staff conflict. Instead of working as a team, staff can become hostile and refuse to help each other. The impact of this is felt by the customer most of all. A restaurant manager must lead by example and motivate team members to work together.
  3. Customer satisfaction must stay at the forefront of a manager’s daily goals. Knowing how to approach customers appropriately and professionally handle complaints is not necessarily a skill acquired in a classroom. Instead, most managers (particularly those who started at an entry level) learn over time how to build positive customer relationships from experience. Displaying this skill for staff is crucial to the dissemination of a customer-first culture.
  4. Managers must be fluent in the use of restaurant management technology to enhance business operations and outcomes. POS systems like ShopKeep offer features designed to keep business moving and tables filled, but also offer advanced back-end features that help managers make crucial decisions about menu items, staffing, and restaurant trends. Utilize manager guides for your restaurant’s technology to equip management with the tools needed to optimize revenue.
  5. Industry events and mentors can help managers keep their skills sharp. It’s easy to overlook the importance of community when you already have the weight of a restaurant, staff, and sales goals on your shoulders. However, encouraging your managers to participate in industry events, conferences, and mentorship programs can make a world of difference in the success of your restaurant. When leadership feels supported, leadership supports others in return.


Defining Restaurant Management Goals

If you’re looking for restaurant management training opportunities for current leadership staff, it’s important to create long and short-term goals for management. What is it you want your current leaders to take away from their training experience? How will formal management training benefit your business? What skills need to be sharpened? Are these soft or hard skills?

Examples of Short-Term Goals
Short-term goals may include skill sets that will improve a leader’s ability to manage a restaurant and are aligned with long-term goals effectively. Short-term goals may consist of:

  • Improve communication skills
  • Enhance problem-solving skills
  • Become an expert in sales and inventory management
  • Learn about advanced restaurant finances
  • Refine team building and staff leadership skills

Examples of Long-Term Goals
Long-term goals should reflect the desired outcome from attaining short-term goals. Examples may include:

  • Improve customer satisfaction
  • Increase repeat business
  • Gain brand awareness locally and online
  • Improve staff morale and satisfaction
  • Effectively resolve customer issues

Creating goals for management helps leaders stay on task, focus on specific skills, and offers a blueprint for ongoing growth.

Find an Effective Restaurant Management Training

Depending on your restaurant’s niche, leaders’ current skill level, and desired outcomes, you may not be interested in an extensive restaurant management training program. Fortunately, restaurant management training programs are not one-size-fits-all for a good reason: everyone’s needs are different. When you’re looking for a training program, keep your management goals firmly in mind before deciding.

SEE ALSO: Which Employee Management Tool is Right for Your Restaurant?

Ryan Gilmore is a writer at ShopKeep.

Ryan Gilmore

As Inbound Content Marketing Manager at ShopKeep, a leading iPad Point of Sale System, Ryan Gilmore uses his extensive experience in small business technology to create educational content that helps merchants run and grow their businesses more effectively.