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Restaurant managers are critical to a restaurant’s success, from ensuring operations are running smoothly to keeping customers happy. With the right skills and tools, effective management can take your restaurant’s profits and customer satisfaction to the next level.

So what are the skills needed to successfully operate and manage a restaurant?

Let’s take a look at the top 4 traits a restaurant manager should encompass:

Interpersonal Skills

Having excellent interpersonal skills is a necessity in the hospitality business. Not only is this skill exercised when communicating to customers, but also when interacting with staff members. Restaurant managers have to find a balance that keeps both their staff and customers happy.

This means they need to keep kitchen and wait staff stress levels to a minimum with authoritative and sometimes-sympathetic communication. When an issue arises with customers, managers have to find a way to mediate the issue while protecting their staff, which means occasionally taking responsibility for a server’s mistake.

For customer interactions, management has to be able to think quickly in unpredictable situations, as they will have to deal with strict dietary restrictions, last minute reservations, and late-night diners during any given shift. They need to know how to navigate these situations with tact to keep customers happy while at the same time not overloading their staff.


The key to a great restaurant is consistency. When customers come in and have a great experience, they come back expecting the same quality of service and food. Restaurant managers have to maintain this consistency in the customers’ experience by maintaining consistency with their staff.

Consistent internal communication and setting expectations can encourage staff loyalty and retention. It’s also important to maintain the same level of consequences for all employees. This may mark the manager as the “bad guy” at first, but the staff will respect them more in the long run.

Proactive Planning

Successful leaders should also be able to plan proactively. This skill is necessary for ensuring restaurant operations are running smoothly and consistently. For example, daily plans should be built defining what they’re going to accomplish each day in respect to inventory, ordering, scheduling, and special tasks.

Before busy shifts, inventory should be accounted for to make sure popular menu items or drinks will not run out before closing. Be sure to include take-out containers, cleaning supplies, and other miscellaneous items that will be needed throughout the shift.

Restaurant management should also create staff schedules ahead of time to ensure there are enough people on the floor during busy times of year. Employees will likely appreciate having their schedules in advance to help them prepare for the week ahead.


Managers have to be multi-taskers while on the restaurant floor. Problems happen, and they need to problem solve quickly in order to remedy situations like dissatisfied customers and inventory shortages in a timely manner.

This is especially necessary when there is only one manager on the floor as it can feel like they’re needed everywhere at once. In order to accomplish all of their daily tasks, they need to delegate duties among staff members and find a balance between behind-the-scenes tasks, like ordering and reporting, and time spent on the floor interacting with guests.

Final Thoughts

Managing a restaurant is no easy feat. Yet, strong leadership with the right skills can help restaurants deliver better, more consistent dining experiences that keep customers coming back again and again. When a 5% increase in customer retention can increase profits by up to 75%, restaurants can seriously benefit from a manager with the right skills and tools.

Learn how CAKE’s All-In-One POS system can make your restaurant manager’s life easier.

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