According to YourDictionary.com, the definition of "level up" is:
"To progress to the next level of player character stats and abilities, often by acquiring experience points in role-playing games."
Granted, this definition is in the context of leveling up in a video game, but we thought the sentiment had a place in the restaurant industry as well - especially when it comes to expanding the restaurant manager duties of your staff.
Restaurant managers are an extension of restaurant owners. Therefore, to bring out the best in your managers, you need to level up their duties. Increasing responsibility and raising expectations means that your best managers stay engaged and your new managers continue to grow on the job.
But how and when do you choose to increase their responsibilities?
We outlined the best tips and tools to boost the managerial duties at your restaurant or café. Implement these ideas, and watch your best staff members rise above the challenges presented at your restaurant every day.
1. Create Transparency
There’s a right and a wrong way to increase managerial responsibilities. If you’re not transparent with your managers about the new expectations you have from them, you’re not setting up your business to succeed.
Instead, give current employees advanced notice of any changes to their daily duties.
Take the time to hear their feedback and concerns, both one-on-one and within larger meetings. In an ideal situation, these managers actually contribute to upping their own job duties, identifying the areas where they can grow and have a bigger influence.
Start by asking managers to make individual lists of potential changes to bring to their next one-on-one meeting with you. No two lists should be exactly alike, as they should reflect the unique interests and strengths of your managers.
Next, incorporate these leveled-up duties into the job description for both current managers and any new hires. Distribute new documentation to everyone a before the implemented changes take place, which should happen at the start of a new month or quarter. Incorporate these new expectations into hiring protocol by using them as a template to create additional interview questions for potential managers.
2. Add Professional Development Requirements
Even the best managers still have room for growth. So, when you want to level up your restaurant manager’s duties, start by encouraging — or even requiring — managers to partake in regular professional development. By boosting their skillset, you create a strong foundation for continued contributions to your business.
In particular, managers benefit from indicating their own preferences for professional development. It should be a collaborative experience that helps them continue along their chosen career path with the support of their employer. For example, if a bar manager at a fine-dining establishment shows an interest in wine, the business owner could recommend — and pay for — the manager to take the sommelier exam. With this simple gesture, the restaurant strengthens the performance of the manager by deepening skills of value to the restaurant. It also strengthens the sense of positive connection between the employer and their managers.
Not every professional development activity needs to be an in-person training, course, or test either. With affordable, easy-to-use tools like Lynda.com and Skillshare, managers can fulfill professional development requirements on their own terms. Plus, this kind of added requirements can actually increase engagement and the longevity of a manager’s tenure at a company.
3. Increase Scheduling Responsibilities
Shift scheduling is one of the most frustrating aspects of running a restaurant. A lot of managers try to duck out of this responsibility because it’s rife with conflict and personnel challenges. Business owners end up picking up the slack, which pulls them away from more important business activities. By specifically designating scheduling responsibilities and giving the manager the tools to lead, business owners can empower their entire team.
Scheduling software like When I Work creates a seamless, mobile system for planning and communicating scheduling. Employees list their availability, text managers through the app, and easily trade shifts with fellow employees. This scheduling software makes it easy for managers to undertake extra responsibility — it shrinks the amount of time spent on an otherwise trying process while increasing transparency for managers and employees alike.
4. Ask Managers to Lead Recruitment and Onboarding
One of the ideal skill sets for a manager is to learn how to recruit and onboard employees. Rather than take on the burden yourself, train managers to pick up the responsibility. As consultant Roberta Matuson (pictured) summarized, “The people who are responsible for managing [new employees] are the ones who should be doing the hiring...otherwise, it’s like picking your kids’ friends.”
Slowly shift responsibility to managers, asking them to identify the key characteristics of both a successful employee and a top-notch onboarding program. Develop workshops that help managers to contribute to both process. First, teach them scan resumes for the most qualified candidates and lead interviews with confidence. Next, help them to design an onboarding process that integrates new employees into the business.
The next time you interview a new candidate, ask a manager to either attend the interview or meet separately with the prospective employee at the end of your conversation. By taking the helm of this important process, managers strengthen their own role as a leader at your business.
5. Incorporate Inventory Tracking
Restaurants operate with slim margins — one way to increase profits and managerial responsibility is to turn an eye to inventory. Often times, restaurants fail to create clear processes for ordering, tracking, and accounting for their inventory. Make these tasks the responsibility of managers and empower them to transform your current system.
Instead of relying on complicated spreadsheets, use Restaurant 365’s software. Their mobile app gives managers the option to track inventory from their phones, while calculating both the approximate costs of recipes and the restaurant’s waste. With the proper tools, managers can bring efficiency to a restaurant’s accounting and inventory systems, while increasing their product knowledge. On the whole, this extra awareness makes managers better able to understand each aspect of running a restaurant.
6. Make Customer Service A Priority
Customer service is, arguably, the most important part of a manager’s duties. When someone is unhappy with their meal, the manager is on the front line attempting to resolve the issue. In fact, managers have the greatest potential to make a palpable change in the customer experience.
Rather than sending up major issues to the business owner, ask the manager to serve as the primary point of contact for customer every service issue. With this increased responsibility comes an increase in their freedom and your trust that they can solve problems. For example, business owners need to give their managers the bandwidth to make decisions that affect revenue, such as covering a bill or sending out additional food.
Only a limited number of situations need to filter up to business owners, such as a large scale issue across multiple tables or an unsatisfied VIP. By giving more responsibility to managers for overseeing the details of the restaurant, business owners free themselves up to focus on the big picture.
Level Up Your Restaurant
These six tips level up your restaurant manager’s duties, encouraging them to grow past their comfort zone and take on additional leadership opportunities. For the greatest impact, share these ideas with the managers on your staff. Ask them for additional recommendations to add based on your business model and needs. By incorporating their input, you set your business up for a successful change.
How do you empower your managers on staff? Share your tips with your fellow readers below!