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Leadership Skills for Managing a Restaurant

Guest Author: David

Leadership Skills for Managing a Restaurant

Whether you are an owner or a general manager of a restaurant, leadership skills are of primary importance in having a successful enterprise. Running a business is mostly about leadership. But when it comes to running a successful restaurant, the need for good leadership becomes amplified. Anyone who has ever worked at a restaurant knows this to be true as well.

Challenge of Leadership in the Food Service Industry

The big challenge for leading in the restaurant space is that most of the people aren’t paid very well. That means they generally have low incentive to follow you.

This explains the high level of turnover in this industry. I’ve known people who have worked at various restaurants in my city. Most of them don’t stay at a particular place for more than a couple of years.

That is why leading restaurant workers is very difficult. Most restaurants can’t afford to pay their employees the big bucks that will give them the incentive to be team players.

That being said, leaders in the restaurant industry must find other ways to motive their staff. This is the biggest challenge for anyone who owns or manages a restaurant.

You can have great food, great marketing and a great location. But if you’re employees are not motivated to offer the best service, your restaurant will not succeed. Remember, people going out to eat is looking for an experience. They aren’t just looking for food to sustain their lives. They can do that at the grocery store.

Leadership is the Limitation for Your Restaurant

No matter what type of organization you are in, it is the leader who is going to be the lid. My second in command cannot by definition lead beyond me. I am the lid.

That means the better leader you are, the better leaders you will attract. Good leaders will not follow a bad leader. If they do, it won’t be for long.

Ways to Motivate Your Staff

Remember, you can’t motive with just money. Any restaurant in your city can offer that. They may even be able to offer more than you. So then how do you attract the best talent in your industry?

That’s easy. Focus on what motivates us fundamentally as human beings. Here are some tips.

Treat Them as Human Beings

Restaurant workers are often treated like commodities. If you look at it in an economic sense, they essentially are. But they are fundamentally human beings. If you treat them like commodities, they will act like commodities. If you treat them like human being, they will act like human beings.

I know that seems super simple, but if you own or manage a restaurant, you know how easy it is to treat your staff as a commodity instead of as human beings.

That means you care about them as people before you care about them as your employees. Again, that is easier said than done. But if your staff know and believe that you really care about them as people, then they will perform for you. They will go the extra mile.

Remember, we are designed as human beings to please those in authority. Even though our culture doesn’t celebrate that, it is still true. We all have an innate desire to please our boss and we enjoy it. But if we hate our boss, that doesn’t work.

Help Them Develop Professionally

We all want to get better at our trade. That is also something that is innate in us. People look to improve, even if they don’t think they’ll get a monetary return from it. But often they do get a return.

If you take interest in your staff and make a concerted effort to develop them, they will perform at a much higher level. That is because you are tapping into something in them that is natural to us as human beings.

About the Author

David is the digital marketing manager for Kalloop is an online employee scheduling software company. They specialize in providing scheduling solutions for restaurants, caterers, churches and more.

Image courtesy of (Sicha Pongjivanich) from

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