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The organizational structure of a restaurant can vary somewhat, depending on the needs of a particular location, though the general structure begins with the owner. A restaurant’s owner has ultimate say in the management and business of a restaurant, and he or she may act as the manager or hire a manager to handle daily tasks. This manager is typically a department manager or head, such as an executive chef or head chef, a head waiter or waitress, or a house manager. These different managers are all part of the organizational structure of a restaurant and have individual chefs, waiters and waitresses, hosts and hostesses, and other staff “under” them.
A restaurant owner is at the top of the organizational structure of a restaurant. He or she is the person who actually owns the restaurant and is ultimately responsible for everything that happens within it, though various types of authority and responsibility are often delegated to other employees. The overall structure of a restaurant can typically be broken down into two major categories, which are the kitchen and the “front of house” or dining room.
In a restaurant, the kitchen is where food is prepared by a group of chefs and cooks. A kitchen manager can be hired by a restaurant owner to run the kitchen, though this responsibility can also fall to a head or executive chef, who is responsible for overseeing all food coming out of the kitchen as well as the organization and preparation of that food. The head chef also cooks food, but is assisted by one or more other chefs and cooks who prepare and plate food.
If the head chef is the owner of a restaurant, then he or she usually hires an operations manager, general manager, or dining room manager to handle the other half of the restaurant. The exact responsibilities of this second manager, who may be the owner in other situations, can vary quite a bit. In general, it is up to him or her to ensure diners at a restaurant are served properly and have an enjoyable experience. Chefs cannot typically deal with issues in the dining room, also called the “front of house” while the kitchen is the “back,” so servers and other people in the dining room handle such issues.
The waiters and waitresses within the dining room usually answer to the dining room or general manager. A head waiter or waitress can also be utilized to act as a liaison between various servers and managers, and this is most common in large restaurants. The rest of the organizational structure of a restaurant is made up of servers, dishwashers, and other employees who typically make up the lowest level of authority within a restaurant. A host or hostess can also be utilized to greet diners and organize seating rotations for servers, though a dining room manager or owner may take on this responsibility.
I worked as a server and bartender for years, and found the organizational structure of a restaurant greatly depended on whether or not the establishment was private or corporate. Privately-owned establishments often featured very little structure, while corporate establishments were regimented in ways that often did not benefit those who were not management. I have even worked at bars with no manager!
My tips for optimal management include treating the servers, chefs, bartenders, hostesses, bus people well! A happy staff is a staff who is going to go the extra proverbial mile, while managers who scream at their staff... well, let's just say it's not a great motivator!
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