The Role of a Restaurant Manager

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If you ever feel like you have managers on your team that are not getting the job done for you, its likely because there is some confusion regarding the real role of a restaurant manager. What should they be doing every day in your restaurant to help it improve, make more money, and create more satisfied customers?

We’re going to address that right now.

To learn more please either watch the video above, read the transcript or listen to the podcast below.

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Read the Video Transcript by Clicking Here...
What’s the role of a restaurant manager? What should they be doing every day in your restaurant to help it improve, make more money, and have more satisfied customers? We’re going to address that right now.

Hey everybody, my name is Ryan Gromfin. I’m an author, speaker, chef, and the founder of as well as

Restaurant Management is Totally Misunderstood Today

Today we’re going to talk about a subject that I’m just crazy passionate about. Anyone who’s seen any of my videos, has ever talked to me on the phone or has been through any of my courses knows that I harp on this management thing because I think it’s totally misunderstood..

I think managers today are actually a little bit lazy. I don’t think they really understand it. I don’t think leaders or owners of restaurants really understand exactly what a manager is and what they should be doing in your restaurant. So I want to cut right to the chase here and tell you what a restaurant manager really is, what they should be doing and what the real role of a restaurant manager is.

Let’s start off by seeing a quick definition of how I define management.

“The responsibility of controlling or administering all or part of a company, person, event, department or project. Day-by-day. Task-by-task.”

I think it’s that day-by-day, task-by-task part that’s most important. Management is sometimes boring. Management is babysitting. Management isn’t sexy, it’s not always fun, it’s dull. Its management, it’s doing the same thing over and over again. It’s making sure that you’re getting the results.

The Role of a Restaurant Manager

When I think of management, I think back to a hundred years ago in a factory. When parts are rolling down the assembly line and the manager is walking around with a checklist, making sure that each person is exactly where they’re supposed to be. Making sure they’re doing their job on time.

Today, restaurant managers like to walk around, greet customers and talk with them, you know kibbitz a little bit and have fun.  That’s all great! But really the role of a restaurant manager is to make sure that things are completed, day by day task by task. That means that they have checklist and they have prep sheets. They have responsibilities. They know when people are supposed to come in and when they’re supposed to leave. There checking measurements and metrics and asking questions like..

  • Where are we at in sales right now?
  • How much staff do we have on the floor?
  • What’s going on in the kitchen?
  • What’s going on in table 14?
  • How come table 13 doesn’t have water?
  • Have you done your side work?
  • It’s time for you to go home we’re slowing down a little bit!

Restaurant Managers are Babysitters

One of the things that I can’t stand is when managers or owners say to me that they’re sick and tired of babysitting their employees.

Restaurant Mangers are Babysitters….deal with it!

I hate to say it. Managers are babysitters. How many times have you asked your children if they brushed their teeth before you tuck them into bed. Thousands of times probably?  Will there ever be a day that your you tuck your children in and you don’t ask, “did you brush your teeth tonight?” If they say no, it doesn’t mean you don’t love them. It doesn’t mean you’re going to fire them. “Oh this kid’s a bad kid. He didn’t brush his teeth and I’ve told them three hundred times. I’m firing him!”

No. You ask over and over again because you love your children. You’re interested in their success. You’re interested in their teeth. So you ask. “Did you brush your teeth” over and over again.

Management is no different. If you have a no cell phone policy that states when your employees come into work they’re supposed to put their cell phones in a locker, then you can’t just assume that they did it. Every time you see an employee and they check in for the day that should be one of the things on a sign in sheet. When they come and they check in with their manager, the manager checks to make sure they’re in uniform.

The manager should also say, “Do you have your cell phone on you? Or have you put in your locker?”

It’s just what your restaurant manager need to do.  How many times will they can say “oh no, I forgot.” Then they have to walk back and put it in their locker.

Remember the role of a restaurant manager is to help ensure success actively, not to be passive and wait for mistakes to get people in trouble.

Not to say like, “oh well, you didn’t put your phone away so you’re in trouble today.”

No… it’s just a reminder, we’re managers after all.

What do your Restaurant Managers Need to Provide for your Employees

So I want to quickly give you four things that your employees need out of your restaurant managers.

  1. ORGANIZATION AND STRUCTURE. They need to know what’s going on and when it’s going to happen.
  2. THEY NEED TO KNOW THE RULES TO THE GAME.  Employees need to know that the rules are not going to change and that they’re being enforced equally with everybody. That’s where systems, checklist, prep list really come into play.
  3. THE TOOLS TO DO THEIR JOB PROPERLY. They need to know that they’ve got checklists, prep sheets and that the equipment’s working. That your managers are there to ensure their success.
  4. COMMITMENT TO THEIR SUCCESS.  Employees need to know managers are there to help them succeed, not just get them trouble.  They need to feel like criticism is constructive.

Restaurant Management is Active NOT Passive

Finally, I want to end with a quick analogy about comparing a manager to a conductor. You know when you look at an orchestra and the conductor has their little white stick that they wave around. WHY?

Everybody in the orchestra knows the music. They’ve all rehearsed it. They know how to play the violin and they’re great at their job. So why do they even have a conductor there?

The conductor is there pointing their little white stick because the conductor is hearing what the audience is hearing. Just like your restaurant manager should be walking on the floor. The conductor is using the stick to say we need more violin, drums get ready,  bass were coming up in a second. The conductor is a little bit ahead of the orchestra. He’s organizing it. He’s letting his people know what’s going on, just like your manager should be.

Your manager should be walking the floor and know what’s going on in the entire restaurant. Like I said earlier, “how come this table doesn’t have water”, “what’s going on with the food here”, “how come table 14 looks angry”, “Can we speed up table 15 a little bit?”

If your managers are not active on the floor doing their checklist, doing their prep sheets, making sure your staff has the tools they need to succeed, making sure the rules to the game are followed, making sure that everybody’s on the same page and that they’re committed to their success then It’s time to sit down and have a coaching session with your manager. Maybe you need to give them some more tools. Maybe you need to help them develop those checklist to make sure that they can do their job properly. Then in turn your employees can do their job properly and your restaurant will have the success that you want and your employees deserve.

Your Next Step

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