If you have ever been a manager in a restaurant, then you need to take 3 minutes to read this post!
You were 20 years old and had started a restaurant job because you had a friend working at the cool spot in town, you didn't know what you "wanted to be when you grew up," and you heard that people in restaurants made pretty good money, so what did you do??? You got a job as a server working with your friend until you either went back to school or decided what "career" you were going to pursue. How close am I? Pretty close I bet...
You worked split shifts, late nights, and "clopen" shifts. The people you worked with became like a family, you worked with them, travelled with them, socialized with them, lived with them and probably even dated or married one of them! I did!
Does this sound familiar to you?
This is where the majority of restaurant managers start their career, with no intention of getting into management, and all the while as they go through their time serving guests day to day they are learning lessons that very few schools teach. Skills such as multi-tasking, organization, customer service, problem solving, work ethic, stress management... All of these are happening daily right under their nose as they work through the endless number of curve balls that are thrown at them.
Then, if you were a server or bartender who didn't make very many mistakes, showed up on time, took good care of guests and didn't do anything "stupid," then there was a good chance someone was going to ask you to "get into management." Several thoughts went through your mind... Long hours, later nights, limited vacation time, managing your friends, and worst of all... a pay cut! Is this really something I should do?
If you are anything like me, you made the leap into management for a few reasons.
1) The opportunity to learn how to run the restaurant
2) Paid vacation.
4) The bank will like that I am on salary.
But what I didn't realize was what I was ACTUALLY going to learn. I didn't have any clue that over the course of my restaurant management career, I would become very well educated in everything from HR to Building maintenance, Networking to People development, and Crisis management to Sales and profit management. I didn't realize how many transferable skills I would learn, or how this "job" would set me up to be a successful business person in the future.
People don't always perceive hospitality jobs as "real jobs," but if you have ever worked in a restaurant, bar, hotel, pub, or cafe you understand how real they are. You understand all of the hats that you wear on a daily basis and you understand the skills that are required to be successful. All of which are fully transferable to life and other business. As I have moved on from direct roles in hospitality and into a business that aims to support the education and skill development of these people, I realize every day how valuable the lessons I learned during my time as a "restaurant manager" are, and how I use them every day as I work with clients no matter what industry they are in.
Restaurant managers are some of the most resilient, hard working, and highly skilled people I know. Their dedication to guest satisfaction, staff morale, and standards all while attempting to serve hundreds if not thousands of customers per year in a business that is essentially 24/7 is nothing to take lightly and is definitely a "real job."
Hospitality is an essential part of our economy, culture, and social life... and if you ask me, or any other person who has had a job or career in "the industry" it is an essential part of the education for thousands of people around the world.
Cheers to the "restaurant manager"