Not all managers are the same in the restaurant industry. In fact, restaurant managers are specialized and often not interchangeable. Though smaller restaurants might ask their managers to take on duties outside of their specialty, for the most part, restaurant managers fill a specific role.
The general manager can be the owner or an employee. This position oversees all other management and non-management positions within the establishment. A good general manager can delegate, lead and keep his staff organized before, during and after service. He oversees all daily operations and ensures food is prepared on time and according to food safety regulations. He is also responsible for ensuring customers are satisfied and he can field any customer complaints or concerns before bringing them to the owner. If the general manager is not the owner, he typically is required to have a bachelor’s degree. Certification as a Foodservice Management Professional is also beneficial, but not required by all establishments. To become a Foodservice Management Professional, a general manager must meet educational and experience requirements set by the National Restaurant Association and also pass a national exam.
The assistant manager helps the general manager oversee day-to-day operations. She must also be ready to fill other management positions -- including general manager -- if a person is ill or absent. Having the ability to cook is important, since the assistant manager may have to fill in for kitchen staff during absences. The assistant manager must have a thorough understanding of the general manager’s job, food safety and sanitation and previous experience in kitchen or restaurant management. Although an assistant manager doesn’t require a formal education, postsecondary training in restaurant management can be beneficial in performing her duties.
The executive chef is considered the back of the house manager. He oversees the kitchen staff and ensures food is prepared according to recipe and food safety/sanitation regulations. The executive chef is in charge of inventory, ordering, preparing the restaurant menus and handling all food purchase budgets. He monitors, trains and hires all kitchen staff and helps develop new recipes in accordance with the establishment’s dining style. Although a formal education isn’t required, most restaurant owners prefer an executive chef who has formal training through a culinary institute or apprenticeship program. An executive chef who is certified through the American Culinary Federation as a Certified Executive Chef has met specific educational, continuing education and experience requirements, and has passed a national exam.
The Maitre’De manages the front of the house. She is responsible for overseeing all wait staff and assistant host or hostesses. She manages seating arrangements to ensure wait staff have an equal number of patrons and she promotes teamwork between wait staff and kitchen staff. The Maitre’De is typically the first person a customer sees when he enters the door, so she must have exemplary customer service skills. A high school degree or equivalent and previous experience working as a waiter or hostess is typically all that is required for a Maitre’De position. Being energetic and having the ability to stand for long periods of time are important for this position.