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Restaurant owners are the backbone of restaurants. Food is of primary importance, but restaurant owners must ensure that food is served in a welcoming environment. A restaurant owner must also make sure that a restaurant gets noticed, both through advertising and reviews. A restaurant owner may delegate any number of tasks to staff, but ultimately, it is his name behind the establishment.
A restaurant owner bears primary responsibility for all financial matters concerning the restaurant. If an owner is starting a restaurant, money may come from that owner's own financial investments, or it may come from loans procured by the owner. There may be co-owners who each have a financial stake in the restaurant as well. All debts and profits alike are the responsibility of the restaurant owner or owners. Profit-sharing exceptions may be made depending on contractual agreements with key staff members.
A restaurant owner may hire any number of staff members that she finds necessary for delegation of duties. These may include an accountant, a general manager, a head chef, a head bartender and a maitre d'hotel. How the management hierarchy is structured is completely up to the restaurant owner unless partners are involved. If a restaurant owner is a very hands-on person, he may choose to do one or more of these jobs himself. Payroll is the responsibility of the restaurant owner as well unless she hires an accountant or a payroll service to handle that duty.
A restaurant owner may or may not have culinary talent in the kitchen. Culinary skills are nice but not prerequisites as long as a restaurant owner has talent at hiring a skilled chef to make his restaurant vision come true. The degree of oversight an owner has over the kitchen is largely at the owner's discretion. Some owners may prefer to be very hands-off, instead letting the kitchen run itself if the owner and chef have a strong and trust-based working relationship. Regardless of what level of autonomy the kitchen has, a restaurant owner should keep in mind that she bears responsibility for all financial decisions regarding the restaurant.
Dining Room Oversight
From small mom-and-pop shops to Michelin-starred restaurants, every restaurant has some staff in the dining room. Even places that only do take-out still must have someone up front to handle the cash register (or computer) and the phones. A restaurant owner is responsible for this department as well. While a restaurant's food and kitchen are of primary importance, the dining room is the front line for customers. A restaurant owner may choose to delegate in this area as well, if he does not feel that it is an area of professional strength. However, especially in smaller restaurants, many owners who do not have culinary skills work in the dining room (or “front of house,” as it is often called) instead.
All things considered, a restaurant owner's job can be as large or as small as a restaurant owner wants it to be. A restaurant owner bears a huge responsibility for the success or failure of a restaurant, even if she has partners in co-ownership. Therefore, a restaurant owner needs to critically assess where her professional strengths lie. She can then decide whether or not to do certain jobs herself, or hire other people to do them for her. Even if a restaurant owner is multitalented, he needs to know when it is possible to do things and when to ask for help. Time, unlike chores, is a finite thing.
- "The Professional Chef (Eighth Edition)"; Culinary Institute of America; 2006
Amrita Chuasiriporn is a professional cook, baker and writer who has written for several online publications, including Chef's Blade, CraftyCrafty and others. Additionally, Chuasiriporn is a regular contributor to online automotive enthusiast publication CarEnvy.ca. Chuasiriporn holds an A.A.S. in culinary arts, as well as a B.A. in Spanish language and literature.