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Key Qualities in a Chef Manager

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A chef manager, also called a kitchen manager or foodservice manager, is in charge of the daily operations of a restaurant kitchen and its staff. He is responsible for interviewing and hiring chefs and other kitchen staff, monitoring food preparation, overseeing inventory, and ordering food, beverages and supplies. He also ensures a restaurant and its staff comply with food safety regulations. In addition, a chef manager is responsible for keeping employee records, preparing payroll documents, and completing paperwork related to taxes, unemployment compensation and licensing. An effective chef manager must be customer oriented and detailed oriented, possess leadership and management skills and be well organized.

Customer Service Skills

A successful restaurant survives with repeat customers and strong word of mouth. No matter how good the food is, a patron’s customer service experience can make or break the overall dining experience. A chef manager must be able to train his staff to provide exceptional customer service. This includes ensuring that meals are prepared properly and efficiently. Satisfying customers, quickly resolving issues and exceeding expectations ensures customer loyalty and repeat visits.

Attention to Detail

Chef managers must be able to multitask. During the course of a workday they might have to help prepare food, deal with customers, manage staff and ensure that meals are of the highest quality. They might also have administrative duties that include maintaining employment records, monitoring the supply of food and beverages, and ensuring that the restaurant and kitchen meet state health and safety regulations.

Problem-solving Skills

A chef manager will face a number of problems on the job, from disgruntled employees to dissatisfied customers. Managers must be able to resolve issues as they happen in an efficient way. They need to be able to quickly assess a situation, propose resolutions and implement a solution.

Cost Conscious

A chef manager must oversee the production of high quality food while also keeping costs in line. He must monitor the kitchen to ensure that dishes are being proportioned properly and that the right amount of staff is on the clock. He must also look for ways to save money on the purchase of food and other items. A chef manager should be aware of how to properly price meals so the restaurant makes the right margins and profits.

Communication Skills

A chef manger needs to be able to share his or her thoughts in clear, concise ways. Whether it’s resolving an issue, relating important information about scheduling or speaking with staff or customers, a successful manager explains information in a way that people will easily understand.


Laura La Bella has worked as a marketing communications writer and editor in the fields of advertising, development and higher education for more than 15 years. She has authored more than two dozen nonfiction books for young adults, covering biographies of socially relevant people, timely social issues and career paths.

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