Duties of a Restaurant Manager

Illustration showing the duties of a restaurant manager with salary estimates

© The Balance, 2018 

The manager plays a pivotal role in any restaurant. Sometimes an owner acts as a restaurant’s general manager. In other cases, the manager is hired as an employee. In either case, restaurant managers have a number of responsibilities in the day-to-day business of running a restaurant.

Qualifications required to be a restaurant manager include basics such as people skills and organization. However, depending on the size and concept of a restaurant, candidates may also need a degree in business or hospitality.

Here are some of the key aspects of a typical restaurant manager job description.

Hiring and Firing

A restaurant manager may be in charge of hiring new staff and terminating underperformers, especially for the front of house. Kitchen positions may be filled by the head chef, rather than the general manager. The process of interviewing, conducting performance reviews, and disciplining employees can take up a significant part of the manager's time.

Ordering Inventory

Ordering inventory is another major component of the restaurant manager's job. This is usually focused on front-of-house items such as paper napkins, cleaning supplies, and restaurant dishware. General managers may also be in charge of liquor, beer, and wine for a restaurant bar. More often, though, this duty will fall to a bar manager or head bartender. The head chef or cook should be in charge of ordering food for the restaurant since they do a bulk of the cooking and menu planning. No matter who is in charge of the food or liquor ordering, a restaurant manager should sign off on the order to ensure it's within the budget.

Staff Scheduling

A restaurant manager is in charge of creating the weekly schedule and making sure all the shifts are covered. They also need to approve requests for days off and decide which team members will work the busy or slow shifts.

Event Planning

If a restaurant provides catering services, then a general manager may be in charge of scheduling the events, room bookings, and staff to work them. If a catering operation is large, a restaurant owner may opt to hire a catering manager instead.

Customer Service

First and foremost, a restaurant manager should excel at customer service. They should be able to train staff in superb hospitality and make sure that customers leave the restaurant happy. It's critical that the manager not let their other job duties get in the way of this responsibility.

Marketing and Advertising

Depending on their skill set, a restaurant manager might also take care of the advertising and marketing campaigns. They can oversee the budget, place ads, and update social networks, such as Facebook or Twitter. They can also create restaurant promotional ideas, from happy hour specials to two-for-one deals.


Restaurant managers conduct reviews of the daily business and make sure that the daily and nightly deposits are taken care of. However, it's a good idea to have a separate person track and reconcile the checking account and other bank accounts. Unfortunately, employee theft does happen, and keeping a second set of eyes on the books keeps everyone honest.

Salary Expectations

Most restaurant managers receive a salary, rather than hourly wages. Their annual income varies greatly with the size, concept, and location of a restaurant. Managing a small, locally owned restaurant in a college town will net you about $30,000 a year (without benefits). Managing a five-star restaurant in New York City can bring in as much as six figures. Managing a chain restaurant, such as Applebee’s or Chili’s, offers around $50,000 a year, with benefits.

Managers are an integral part of a successful restaurant. Their job description could easily be "jack of all trades." They help with the day-to-day functions of running a dining room and the behind-the-scenes happenings in the restaurant kitchen. To be a successful restaurant manager, you need to be organized, communicate effectively, and know how to handle problems quickly and efficiently.