10 Critical Restaurant Manager Responsibilities

Running a restaurant is a team effort, but a great restaurant manager is your MVP. Beyond keeping the doors open, a reliable manager helps with running the business day-to-day, fostering customer loyalty, creating a positive work environment and helping your restaurant stand out from the crowd. Taking up tasks from front to back-of-house; staff management to food safety regulation, managers play a key role in your restaurant’s success. New to the restaurant scene or looking to strengthen your leadership team? This guide outlines 10 critical responsibilities of a restaurant manager to help you identify the right person to take your restaurant to the next level. 

1. Delivering a positive dining experience

It’s true what people say in the restaurant business, “Customer is king” for restaurant managers, this means creating a great experience for everyone who comes through the doors. Happy customers are returning customers so the captain of the ship at your restaurant is first and foremost responsible for making sure the food is delicious, the service is efficient, and the atmosphere is inviting.  That can involve various things, from checking in with tables to making sure that servers are being helpful. When unexpected problems arise, managers are the ones who would have to jump in to fix them. A valued restaurant manager pays close attention to details that make a good dining experience a great one. 

2. Hiring and training staff

Hiring great restaurant staff is tough as it is. With the proposed changes to immigration policies coming up, it might get even trickier.  Finding the right people is a key ingredient to your restaurant’s success, and your manager is at the helm of this tall order. A restaurant manager’s job includes hiring and training the staff that keeps the restaurant running.  Once a team is on board, the manager trains them on everything they need to know. For new hires, a comprehensive training program is critical. It should cover basics like taking orders and food safety, as well as any company procedures or policies.  If the team is larger, a manager might consider pairing new hires with experienced staff to delegate some of the training tasks. Staff mentors can show new team members the ropes, like  getting the hang of table plans and handling customers with confidence. 

3. Promoting teamwork and collaboration

We don’t have to tell you restaurants get crazy busy, especially during rush hours. To keep things running smoothly, a restaurant manager is tasked to clearly define roles and responsibilities for each position. This helps everyone on the team understand their role and how they can contribute to a smooth running service.  Quick meetings before shifts help everyone stay on the same page and ready for anything. It also creates a supportive work environment where everyone feels comfortable asking for help.  Managers themselves need to be team players too. During a rush, great managers won’t hesitate to help serve tables, refill water glasses, or even assist in the kitchen with simple tasks like plating desserts. It shows everyone that teamwork matters, no matter their role. 

4. Managing inventory and food waste

Food costs can eat into profits faster than you think, which is why inventory management and minimising waste is important for profitability.  Restaurant managers are also responsible for organising your inventory. A popular strategy is  the “first-in, first-out method”, for instance, putting new milk cartons behind the older ones. That way, the older stuff gets used first, keeping everything fresh and delicious. But remember, freezer space is like gold — so don’t buy more than you can store or things will go bad before you can use them.  Some customers might love a plate that overflows but most of the time, that often leads to food waste. Using standardised measuring tools keeps portions consistent, preventing food waste and unnecessary leftovers.

5. Streamlining operations (with the help of tech!)

Restaurant managers are constantly juggling tasks to keep things running. Smart businesses now turn to tech to ease the strain, especially in the midst of labour shortages and economic shifts. Manual inventory checks can be time consuming. Having an inventory management system (IMS) helps your manager keep track of stock in real time. No more running out of key ingredients or having to store excessive ingredients that might expire.  POS systems are one of the must-haves for restaurants in the dine-in business. Servers can take orders, send them to the kitchen, and easily split bills through a single device. This means shorter wait times, fewer mistakes, and happier staff.  Another helpful tool is an online reservation system like Now Book It. Staff can easily handle bookings, send reminders, and upsell menu items during reservations. This not only frees up your staff to focus on other things, but also gives you a better idea of the crowd to expect.  6. Planning menus, pricing and maintaining food quality

A successful restaurant menu is a delicate balance between delicious food and healthy profits. The first step is to identify your ideal customer. A good manager will help craft a menu that hits the spot for your target audience.

Additionally, your manager should also have an eye on what similar dishes cost at other places. They should also consider what your ingredients cost, your desired profit margin and craft a menu that keeps your business healthy in the long run.

To keep your food quality top-notch, your manager will also be responsible for regular taste tests and kitchen checks. Bonus: they can keep things fresh by using seasonal ingredients, like summer berries or winter root vegetables – a win for your customers and your menu!


7. Ensuring a clean environment

Maintaining a clean and sanitary environment goes beyond aesthetics for restaurants. It’s a critical aspect of food safety and directly impacts customer satisfaction. To achieve this, your restaurant manager should focus on cleanliness in several ways.

To ensure clear communication and consistent cleaning, managers should set detailed cleaning procedures. This includes dining areas, restrooms, kitchens, and storage spaces. 

Proper hygiene and sanitation training is vital. Your manager should train all staff on effective cleaning methods, proper handwashing techniques, and how to report any spills or sanitation concerns.

Your manager should schedule routine inspections to identify potential issues. This includes checking for broken equipment, leaky pipes, or areas that might need a more thorough cleaning. It’s also important to schedule professional pest control services to keep unwanted visitors at bay.

8. Prioritising compliance and safety

Running a restaurant is a big job, and keeping everyone safe is a key part. Your ideal restaurant manager should know all about food handling and prioritise maintaining a clean and sanitary environment throughout the restaurant.


Food safety laws and requirements differ across the states and territories of Australia and New Zealand. To ensure your restaurant remains compliant, your manager should be familiar with the specific food safety regulations and clearly communicate these requirements to your staff members. 


Food safety aside, they should also enforce any compliances required within the restaurant. When it comes to serving alcohol for example, your restaurant manager takes care of ID checking, serving responsibly and limits on alcohol sales. 

9. Handling restaurant finances

Restaurant managers are the financial backbones of the establishment. Setting budgets and monitoring expenses aside, managers would also have to take care of the little things. This includes tasks like shift closings, deposits, and petty cash control. 

Your ideal manager should be comfortable analysing reports to identify areas where you can cut costs or make more money. This means understanding trends in things like food waste, unpopular menu items, and even how efficiently your staff is working. With this data, they can recommend smart changes to improve your profitability.

10. Planning customer outreach and marketing strategies

Restaurant managers juggle more than just the front and back of the house. These days, everyone’s looking for restaurants online. A user-friendly website and active social media presence are essentials for restaurants today. 

Look for someone who thinks of creative ways to connect with guests, like loyalty programs, personalised touches, and special offers. They might even have ideas for partnerships with local businesses or events to expand your reach.

Marketing your restaurant can feel like a juggling act, especially when your managers are busy managing everything else. Now Book It integrates with restaurant marketing tools, so they can do more with less effort. Win back lost customers, reward loyal ones, and boost bookings – all on autopilot with Now Book It today.

The Key to a Thriving Restaurant? A Skilled Manager

It’s undeniable that restaurant managers can make or break your business. They are the ones that make sure customers are happy, service is smooth and operations are in order. With curveballs like staff shortages and new technology in the mix, hiring the right person for the job can be a challenge. Make sure you look out for a manager who has the experience for these responsibilities and equip them with the right tools for the job. 

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