At its core, the managing partner of a restaurant has two roles -- make sure the silent or corporate partners make money while balancing the day-to-day operations of the restaurant. While his job description varies from restaurant to restaurant, profitability is the key driving force. Salaries for managing partners are the same as restaurant general managers, averaging $73,080 nationally, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, the managing partner may earn more through profit-sharing and by having an equity position in the business, if the restaurant is successful.
Skill Set: Two Feet On the Ground, Facing the Future
A managing partner has the long view in mind as he deals with the fast-paced daily activities of the restaurant. Simultaneously managing people and crunching numbers are vital skills for a managing partner. Being able to come up with solutions when these two parts of the business don't agree is another. Larger restaurants or corporate groups of restaurants may have more than one managing partner or a general manager who focuses on the day-to-day operations. This allows the managing partner more time for promoting the brand, future growth, and partnerships, though the managing partner must always keep rooted in the daily operations to ensure repeat customer visits.
Analyzing systems efficiency, negotiating vendor pricing and contracts, minding waste in all areas of the business, and making swift decisions are an especially important part of the managing partner's responsibilities. A seemingly small line item in the budget, like linens for example, can add up quickly with one to three meal services a day, seven days a week. Keeping front of house and kitchen managers focused on cost efficiency and helping them to empower the staff to do so as well, creates a team instead of an us-them mentality between upper management and crew. A good managing partner must walk that line.
Reporting to the Shareholders
A managing partner must answer to the shareholders of the corporation, whether it's one silent partner or a national investment group, and he must back up his work and the restaurant's financial picture with profit-and-loss statements and other reports on labor, food cost and operation costs. Being able to communicate, analyze data and create reports is essential for success. Many managing partners have business degrees or at least some schooling in financial management or a restaurant management program like the National Restaurant Association's ManageFirst Certification. Managing partners for a national chain, like Outback, receive training and benefits from the corporation, but are responsible as proprietor of their location.
A Typical Partner Profile
A typical profile of a managing partner is someone who worked in restaurants for years while in college and then entered a management training program at a national chain. After the program, she managed two different restaurants for five years. Enjoying the financial side of the restaurant business, she went back to school for a business accounting certification. A brief stint in the dry, daily life of accounting made helped her decide to return to running a restaurant and earning a ServSafe Management certification. After five years of running the restaurant, she became a managing partner at a national chain.