Did you know that a chef or a restaurant manager is a true multi-talent, playing many different roles every day? In fact, the key to success in the restaurant industry requires very different qualities. Some of them can be achieved through distinctive habits. We took a look at what the secrets to success in the restaurant business are and what talents a hospitality leader in this field combines. And we can attest – managers in other industries can take a leaf out of this (cook) book!
To be successful as a chef or restaurant manager, it is not enough to be able to cook particularly well or to be an excellent host. The restaurant industry is more than just a workplace. Here, office work and field service come together, plus a lot of organizational talent and creativity, and last but not least: show talent, because in a way, a restaurant is also like a stage in front of an audience. Successful restaurateurs know all the tricks of the trade and could certainly excel in other industries as well. Because they are:
As strong in leadership as a soccer coach
“Teamwork is what makes the dream work.” This is just as true in the national team as it is in the restaurant kitchen. It is not one person who wins the victory or is the star, but always the entire team. This requires a strong leader who has mastered two things above all: training and motivation. Consistently high quality is only possible through continuous training. Talent must be recognized, encouraged and built up. Each of us needs role models, so always set a good example.
And even if time is tight in day-to-day business and the tone is often rough, never let motivation fall by the wayside. Take time for objective criticism and, very important, praise. Of course, at the end of the shift, everyone wants to go home quickly. Nevertheless, get into the habit of gathering everyone together for another ten minutes. Review the evening, pat each other on the back and say thank you!
As communicative as a talk show host
“Silence is golden.” That may be true in many areas, but it’s certainly not true in the kitchen and restaurant. Both in the kitchen and in service, a great deal of communication is required. And of the clear kind. Precise instructions, straightforward announcements, honest words. A true hospitality leader has the ability to promote communication among each other so that he and his team remain in constant exchange. Here, a lot happens on cue, and it has to be on target. In conflict situations, he must mediate and ensure calm. And last but not least, he has to communicate with his audience, namely his guests. And like a good talk show host, he not only talks, but also listens and asks the right questions at the right time.
Organizationally as strong as a project manager
Everyday work in the catering industry is fast and hectic. If you’re not well organized, you’ll get lost. Order is more than half the battle here. A good mise en place is second nature to every cook. The same should apply to processes. Which department needs to have what information at what time? When is the best time to discuss menus, to order and deliver goods? What work is done on a rotational basis, and what comes up irregularly or spontaneously? These are all things that a good boss organizes in advance and thus has under control. Surprises still happen though, so it is important that the basic framework of organization is secure, leaving you as few things as possible to chance. And not just in your head, but preferably in written form, lying or hanging in a central place. This way, every member in the brigade can also get an overview themselves, and the team is able to act even in the event of sudden absences.
As precise as a pilot
Reliability is the end-all be-all in the restaurant business. Because here, quality means that the guest comes back – and not the food. To achieve this, hospitality leaders have to place the greatest value on precision. Every plate must look the same (unless, of course, the guests had special requests). Every piece of meat, fish or vegetable must be cooked to perfection. In your kitchen and in your service, everything must run like a well-oiled machine, even if it is olive oil here instead of machine oil.
Achieving this precision requires a high level of discipline and presence. Yes, it is exhausting to work 10+ hours in a highly concentrated manner, but always remember – you are selling more than food and beverages. You’re selling a way of life and memorable experiences. And you have a responsibility. Like a pilot who is responsible for his passengers and crew, you have the same role for your guests and your brigade.
As imaginative as an artist
Creativity is part of success! And not only in the creation of new dishes, but also in the work processes. Especially in gastronomy, improvisation is often necessary. An ingredient is unexpectedly out of stock? Then the menu has to be changed. Someone has called in sick? Then the processes have to be organized differently. A good manager is flexible and can react quickly to changes without compromising quality. There’s no such thing as can’t.
What is also required is openness to innovation. Anyone in the restaurant business who still says, “We’ve always done it that way,” is exposing themselves as yesterday’s news. Why not try something new? Why not use digital tools that make life easier? If your brain has to rack its brains less about problems, it has more time for creative thoughts!
Unfortunately, we don’t yet have a remedy for sudden staff shortages. But we do have a remedy for ingredients that are unexpectedly out of stock! With Storate, you always have your inventory under control. We even warn you about expiring best-before dates, so there are no nasty surprises.