National Restaurant Consultants are experts in hiring and training general managers for restaurants.
When it comes to restaurant staffing, every role is important and essential. However, certain roles are more tone-setting than others—especially the general manager (GM) position. An ideal general manager can navigate both big picture goals and small details. They understand every employee’s role, and they know how to lead a staff with grace and by example. They are always ready to be customer-facing, knowledgeable and accommodating, while carefully keeping operations running smoothly. The general manager role is crucial and a major undertaking, and so it is important to hire and train this individual for preparedness and longevity.
According to this Nation’s Restaurant News (NRN) article, this is more true than ever due to the labor climate. “At a time when the industry is facing a challenging labor environment, the ability of a GM to create a culture that makes people want to perform well is essential, said Victor Fernandez, VP of insight and knowledge at Black Box Intelligence. ‘We are firm believers that the general manager is the critical role within any restaurant company,’ he said. ‘There are many reasons for that, but first of all, what a good manager does — and we see this in the results — is engage their workforce and create higher levels of retention.’”
With a labor crisis sustained over the last couple of years, the GM bears more responsibility, not only to their own tenure, but to lead in a way that encourages other staff members to stay on. ““We continue to believe that the manager who is there for a while, who is engaged in their work, who cares about the brand and the restaurant itself, will create a culture and an environment in which employees will want to stay longer and be better,” reads the NRN article.
According to NRN, there are a few key points to look for in a strong GM candidate, qualities that will yield this commitment and leadership.
- A positive attitude: While a cheery disposition isn’t always sustainable, a focus on positivity is manageable, even in difficult situations. Look for candidates who are looking to elevate their staffs and cheerfully meet customers’ needs.
- Compensation matters: The old adage “you get what you pay for” rings true here. A great GM is invaluable, and they should feel that in their compensation. While profit margins are important, you shouldn’t cut corners when it comes to your GM. A well-compensated manager will be motivated to work well and to hang on to their job.
- Work/life balance takes precedence: Maybe it seems counterintuitive, but your best GM candidate is not the one willing to run themselves ragged across multiple shifts. A healthy manager is a good manager. They come to work ready to work instead of being distracted with life, and they work well because they aren’t burnt out. This also sets a great example and a tone of understanding for the other staff members, improving upon morale and company culture.
- Career development is a bonus: Treat your managers like leaders on a career path. They aren’t just passing through—you want them to stick around, so assist them in developing their skills and career paths.
At National Restaurant Consults (NRC), we are experts in interviewing, hiring, and training staff with this long-term relationship in mind. We have placed many successful GMs that have led to great success at their restaurants. Many of our best tips and values lie in those listed in the NRN article, and CEO and principal of NRC, Richard Weil, adds this advice:
“The tone at the top with the General Manager is more important today than ever. The General Manager is the reflection of the brand, and becomes the ambassador for success when presented with the right resources and achievable goals that motivates.”
You want the best possible staff for your restaurant to create a great environment for your team and customers alike. This healthy climate and strong leadership will ultimately steer your restaurant business to success.