When hiring a manager you will first need to establish what work qualifications you require for the management position. Work experience is obviously important. It should correspond with the type restaurant that you are hiring this person to manage, be it fast food, fast casual or fine dining. A management candidate with franchise restaurant experience will be familiar with franchise style operating systems which will benefit your restaurant.
Equally important to experience are the personalities of your manager candidate. It is essential that managers be pleasant, knowledgeable, and flexible, regardless of restaurant concept, because they will be dealing with staff as well as customers.
In hiring a manager, make sure the person you choose has successfully demonstrated reliability and trustworthiness in their prior employments—watch for these traits on their resumes. Work history can be obtained by checking references with previous employers. Many employers may be reluctant to give you more information other than dates of employment. Try to talk directly to department supervisors on a personal level. Tell them you are fully aware that they must be diplomatic about volunteering information because of potential liability issues, and then ask if they could just answer “yes” or “no” to your pertinent questions.
Equally important as the reference check is how you perceive your new manager. I have my own perspective; to me, a good manager is akin to a good athletic coach. Do they have an aura of leadership and can they communicate well? Are they enthusiastic about their profession and confident in their abilities? Can they put together and lead a winning team? In my case, the answer had to be a resounding yes to each question, or I wouldn’t hire them.
The restaurant business is really a people business—bottom line. A manager must demonstrate a personality of leadership by not only being outgoing and accommodating to customers, but by being able to communicate well with staff.
A leader who is a true professional teaches by example as well as training employees with skill and patience. If service is important to the GM, it will become important to the staff. If cleanliness is a priority to the manager, it will become so with the staff. An old saying in the industry is, “If you go into a restaurant and see a lot of long-faced employees, look for the one with the longest face: that will be the general manager.” In my fifty years in the restaurant business, I have never seen a successful restaurant with a bad general manager. As with any other business, success or failure begins and ends with good management.
When interviewing a management prospect, keep in mind that a skilled interviewee may not equate to becoming a skilled manager. Ask questions about how they would handle a specific problem. Ask them to tell you what they believe is the best management philosophy. In other words try and probe beneath the surface for in-depth answers to your questions rather than just the standard company line of what you might expect to hear.
The General Manager of your restaurant is the most important person in your organization. In a very short time their performance of their duties can significantly affect your restaurant, positively or negatively. If you lack the necessary experience of hiring a GM, consider hiring a restaurant consultant for that purpose. Restaurant consulting companies can provide you the services needed to assure that you are hiring the person who will have the best chance of being a successful manager for you.
Call W&W Restaurant Consulting Group at 303-941-8884 or Contact Us by email for more information.