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Hotel Restaurant Managers

The Job

The efficient and profitable management of a hotel restaurant falls on the shoulders of its restaurant manager. In a hotel or motel, the restaurant manager oversees the many duties involving food service—the restaurants or cafes housed inside the hotel, the cocktail lounges, and, sometimes, the room service department. In larger hotels and motels, the restaurant manager may receive help from one or more assistant managers and executive chefs. Assistant restaurant managers supervise the dining rooms and other areas of food management, as needed. Executive chefs oversee operations in the kitchen, from food preparation to final presentation. Bookkeepers are sometimes hired to help with administrative details. Assistant managers, executive chefs, and bookkeepers report to the restaurant manager. However, especially in smaller lodging establishments, the restaurant manager is expected to perform with very little support.

A very important duty of the restaurant manager is ordering and receiving supplies. On a daily basis, the restaurant manager must check and monitor food consumption, and then place orders with different vendors as needed. Perishables, such as fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats, need to be ordered many times during the week. Deliveries need to consistently meet the hotel’s standard of quality. Supplies of linens, tableware, cooking and serving utensils, and cleaning supplies as well as larger items, such as furniture and fixtures, are kept in order by the manager.

No food establishment would succeed without competent, hardworking servers, cooks, dining room attendants, and hosts. Interviewing, hiring, training, and even firing these workers are also the responsibility of the restaurant manager. Weekly work schedules are made to ensure coverage during peak dining times, while giving all employees equal and fair hours of work.

Administrative work is another primary obligation of the restaurant manager. Accurate hourly work records, wages, and taxes are some examples of paperwork needed to prepare payrolls. Managers must also keep tallies of supplies and equipment ordered and received. Computers have eased the workload tremendously in the past few years. Software such as point-of-service (POS) systems allow restaurant managers to keep track of employee productivity as well as sale progress of menu items. Using a POS system, the waiter or waitress inputs the diner’s menu order and it is immediately sent to the kitchen for preparation. The same information is used by the computer to total food and beverage orders into the final check. If the customer is paying with a credit card, a POS system can immediately verify the card number. Many managers use a POS system’s daily tallies of food and drinks ordered to keep inventory supplies well stocked and current. Sometimes, additional supplies are ordered from specific vendors using this system.

Supervision of the dining rooms and kitchen is not as simple as it sounds. Food must be prepared, presented, and served correctly—in a timely manner. The kitchen staff must meet government regulations on sanitary standards of food preparation. Managers may meet with the chef regularly to analyze recipes for ingredients, portion size, labor, and overhead costs in order to assign a menu price. Menus need to be updated from time to time, and additional supplies must be ordered ahead of time for new menu items.

Not all duties of the restaurant manager are exciting or pleasant. They also receive and professionally resolve customer complaints, even if the criticisms come at the busiest and most inopportune times. Managers must be versatile enough to be able to pitch in where help is needed most: seating guests, serving food, clearing tables, or taking food orders. Restaurant managers are among the first to arrive at the hotel restaurant and most often do not leave until all sales receipts are tallied, equipment is shut down, lights are dimmed, and alarm systems are started.