Voice of the Restaurant Industry
Not every restaurant manager starts their first manager’s job fresh out of secondary education. Not every manager attends college or university to prepare them to manage a restaurant. No single, standard career path leads by all professionals follow to their first manager’s job. There are many ways to get move up the career ladder to land your first manager’s position.
Do Your Job Well
No one will promote you if you cannot do your current job well. There are life skills and problem solving techniques that can only be learned on the job. Act like a manager in your current position. Take initiative. Solve problems. Take courses. In short – prepare. There is an old saying that states that you can prepare for a situation and not need the opportunity to move forward. However, if you do not prepare then it is certain that you will not go anywhere.
One way to move up is to take on more responsibility and volunteer to help do manager’s jobs. On the job, training can be more powerful than any found in books. This does not mean that you do not need to educate yourself. One of the most successful professionals I ever met has not had a formal education. She covered the gap by going to college bookstores and buying the same textbooks the students used.
Task Oriented vs People Oriented
One of the biggest mistakes first time mangers make is being task oriented instead of people oriented. It is more important to learn how to read people, influence them, motivate them, solve their problems, teach them. The manager needs to be able to develop the skills needed to motivate people to perform no matter how bad their day, what problems they face in their lives, and how to listen. The manager in today’s restaurants is part life coach, part motivational speaker, and part career-development consultant. Each person wants something and the manager learns how to give it to them in a way that moves their goals and plan forward.
Once the people are taken care of, the tasks take care of themselves.
Learn and Prepare
If you want to land your first restaurant management position then you need to learn to delegate. This goes ‘hand in hand’ with managing up. Managers need to be able to create a balance between what the restaurant staff care about as well as what upper management cares about. The manager who only focuses on their narrow job description will not last long in the restaurant industry.
Many career coaches tell their clients to be vocal. Tell upper management that you want to train as a manager. Unfortunately, too often these confessions are met with blank stares and confused, ambiguous comments, ‘okay’ or ‘good for you.’ The problem is that there is no foundation to support the claims.
There are several ways to prepare the foundation for your career move.