Becoming A Restaurant General Manager

Do you have what it takes to get a job as General Manager of a restaurant?

Restaurants are big business, and to open one requires a huge investment of time and money from the owners. Because of this, there is not a more important job than that of the General Manager.

Often, the restaurant owner will act as the General Manager himself, but in many cases, the owner doesn’t necessarily want or have time for hands on operations of the restaurant. In these cases, they have to hire someone to handle all operations of the restaurant on a daily basis.

This is where the General Manager comes in. A General Manager (GM), if not the owner, acts as the owner if the owner is not available. They run the entire establishment from front to back, and are responsible for hiring top positions such as the Executive Chef and Operations Manager if necessary.

Duties and Responsibilities of a Restaurant GM (General Manager)

To be a GM, you must wear many hats; you must have knowledge of business, food, and marketing. You must know all aspects of what it takes to run a restaurant, and be able to perform those duties at a moments notice if necessary.

In addition:

  • You must be organized. You’ll likely be handling many projects at once, and the ability to do so is crucial.
  • You must know the restaurant industry inside and out.
  • You must be a good judge of character. You will probably be a big part of the hiring process for top jobs in your restaurant; these are jobs you don’t want to have to hire again.
  • You must be professional and personable
  • Having many industry contacts is a plus
  • Have a good work ethic
  • Be willing to work long hours, often on your feet. Very few restaurant positions  are 9-5 jobs.

It is also extremely important to be highly motivated. The success of the restaurant falls on the shoulders of GM and often pay is structured just so. Many GM’s have modest salaries but make up for it in bonuses.

Steps to becoming a Restaurant General Manager

Probably the most important factor to becoming a General Manager is experience, but how do you get that experience?

A college education is a good start. Degrees are available in subjects from restaurant management to hospitality, and even a business degree is useful.

Many restaurant mangers don’t start out wanting to be managers and don’t always have that education. This is okay as well, as there are many ways to gain necessary experience.

First, work in the industry. Any job will help you, even the lowest paying jobs such as dishwashers and busboys. Many successful GM’s pride themselves on the long road they took and feel accomplished by working from the ground up. Look for jobs in top restaurants (or the type of restaurant you want to work in), and take what comes along. If you are hardworking and motivated, it can be easy to move your way up. If you have any management experience at all (even in another industry), apply for assistant management jobs that you find available.

Make sure your people skills are up to par. You’ll be working with everyone from employees to managers, and even dealing with customers. You want to be able to relate to them in a professional and friendly way.

Even if you don’t have time or desire to complete a full fledged college degree, taking management or business classes at your local community college can be an inexpensive and effective investment in your career.

A General Manager job is not an easy job to get, but it can be a rewarding career for those with the desire and knowledge to make their mark in the restaurant industry.

For more information on General Management restaurant jobs, check out these references:

Food Service Management Information:

Restaurant General Manager Salary and Pay and Wage Information:,_Restaurant/Salary

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