Depending on the size and scope of the operation, a restaurant managers wears many different hats throughout the day. Some of these responsibilities may be delegated to assistant managers or trusted staff members, but the manager position still carries a significant number of duties and obligations. It is not unusual for a person with this role in a large commercial restaurant to work at least 60 hours a week or more.
For customers and vendors, a restaurant manager is essentially the "face" of the business. Any complaints concerning food quality, customer service or maintenance are usually addressed by him or her. Food vendors and service providers routinely deal with the manager to acknowledge receipt of goods and services, or to implement any changes to future orders. The manager often conducts inventories of current supplies and calculates the next food and supply orders accordingly.
There are also a number of administrative duties associated with being a restaurant manager. Employees need to be scheduled to make sure the restaurant has enough staff members available at peak times. It also falls on this person to schedule breaks and vacations in order to avoid paying overtime wages or under-scheduling good employees. Payroll may be handled by an outside source, but the manager may still have to inspect employee time cards to ensure their accuracy. He or she may also have to hire new employees periodically or, in some cases, dismiss employees who violate rules or provide substandard work.
Although a restaurant manager may have to dedicate many hours of his or her time to the company, there are some benefits to the job. Meals are generally provided free, since these employees rarely have time to leave the premises during working hours. Managers can also receive decent benefit packages, including health insurance, 401k retirement plans, stock options, and paid vacations. They may even share directly in the restaurant's profits, which can be quite an incentive to work harder and improve the overall operation.
While much of what a restaurant manager does is behind the scenes, he or she may be called upon to perform the duties of absent or dismissed employees. This means a good manager needs to understand each station of the business and demonstrate a level of competence at all of them. Often, a manager is promoted from within, so he or she may already be quite familiar with the kitchen, sanitation or customer service departments. Sometimes, the person will be hired from outside because of his or her administrative or accounting skills, but most of the time a restaurant's owner will promote promising employees out of the trenches and into supervisory positions. The ultimate reward for an employee's hard work and dedication is often a promotion to management.