Operations managers are often the glue that holds an organisation together. An operations manager offers professionals in the food service industry an opportunity for an exciting and fast-paced career that requires many skills, talents, and knowledge. With so many different areas of the business / brand, an operations manager, whether for an individual restaurant or a national chain of restaurants, must be prepared to handle everything from facilities management to customer service.
So, what does an Operations Manager do?
Working with Employees: An operations manager controls the overall operations of a restaurant, hotel, pub or bar and will be a part of every decision that is made, affecting each and every employee of the business. Operations managers in this industry are likely to work closely with kitchen staff, dishwashing team, service members, bartenders, and waiting staff. This includes getting involved in cooking, seating and serving alongside staff when necessary. This also enables managers of operations to role model best practices and behaviours for employees throughout a restaurant. A large part of an operations manager’s position is also in training new employees. Training also includes on-going training, and this requires a manager to identify opportunities and situations where this is required.
Working with Customers: An operations manager in hospitality will also work closely with guests on a daily basis. This position requires the handling of all guest complaints, working with the staff to ensure that guests have an enjoyable experience, and working the floor during meal hours in order to greet and interact with guests. An operations manager in food service will also take suggestions from guests and analyse trends in preferences for making changes or improvements to a particular area of the establishment.
Handling Business Operations: An operations manager might work for a small, single establishment or a large brand in the hospitality industry that owns several sites throughout a region or the nation. For whatever size operations, an operations manager will likely be responsible for the overall business functions. These tasks include ordering, financial planning, supervising employees, maintaining sanitation standards in public areas and kitchen or beverage preparation areas, and monitoring safety. Much of the job role also requires the ability to handle human resources and accounting processes such as hiring and payroll. Other tasks include monitoring adherence to all laws and safety guidelines along with analysing and evaluating costs.
Becoming an Operations Manager for a Restaurant: Although not required, a four-year degree in hospitality, business administration, or a related field is often preferred. Professional certifications can also be helpful. More information on these can be found at the National Restaurant Association website. Additionally, to be successful in this type of position, having previous work experience in all areas of a restaurant is helpful. Because an operations manager needs to be able to perform every job function in a restaurant, previous experience in everything from dishwashing to hosting is beneficial.
The hospitality industry is a rewarding and challenging career field to pursue, offering benefits such as flexibility in scheduling to meeting new challenges every day. Management in this field requires a diverse set of skills, experience, and education. With the right combination, individuals can often find a position as an operations manager and be a part of everything from the human resources responsibilities to the daily functions of cooking, serving, and managing.