How To Find The Best Restaurant Manager In Competitive Markets

Posted on March 30th, 2018 by Breck Hapner

There are so many moving parts to the process of finding and hiring the ideal employees for your restaurant. You need people who uphold your values and reflect the “mood” of your establishment, from casual to high-end.

You need reliable employees who will show up on time and be able to work individually and as a team. And ideally, you need to be able to get along with them, and they need to be able to get along with one another.

All of those factors are even more important when looking for a manager – which can be especially challenging if you are located in a competitive market. So how do you go about finding an experienced and capable manager when your competitors are vying for the same person?

Evaluate Your Needs 

Before you begin looking for a manager, take the time to truly evaluate your needs. What sets your restaurant apart from your competitors? What kind of leadership role do you need your manager to take on – will he or she be the “face” of the restaurant, checking on customers to ensure they are having a good experience, or will it be more of a back-of-house position that requires monitoring employees and stepping in to help when necessary? A clear understanding of your needs will prove invaluable as you begin the hiring process.

How To Find The Best Candidates

If you want to home in on the best managerial candidates, you need to do more than posting a “Now Hiring” sign in your window. Job search websites like and or Greenhouse recruiting software can help you begin separating the wheat from the chaff. You can include an exact description of what you are looking for in your listing, and as interested individuals apply, you can easily weed out the ones who don’t have the right qualifications.

If you’re really serious about finding an ideal candidate, you might also consider going through a recruiting agency. They will discuss what you are looking for with you and take the “hunting” part of the process off of your plate. You will then be presented with a list of top candidates from whom you can select.

The Interview Process

Once you have narrowed down the candidates you wish to interview, come up with a list of questions you want to ask and topics you want to cover. Of course, you will likely deviate from that list during the interviews, but it’s best to know which questions you absolutely want to ask.

During interviews, ask candidates concrete questions about their previous experience, how they’ve resolved specific difficult situations in the past and why they believe they would be a good fit for your restaurant. In a competitive market, you need to know that they are truly interested in – and will invest themselves in – your business. To that end, you should also consider asking them about their loyalty to their previous employers and why they are currently looking for a new position.

Contact Their References

Ask candidates for references and then follow up by contacting them. You should have a standard set of questions to ask, including why the candidate left, would they rehire him or her and what were his or her greatest strengths and weaknesses.

Consider Promoting From Within

Promoting from within is often one of the best options in a competitive market, for several reasons. For one thing, you yourself will have an understanding of the individual’s work ethic, leadership skills and ability to work well with your existing staff.

For another thing, he or she will have proven their loyalty to your business, and offering a promotion is likely to bolster that loyalty. Just be certain that you are promoting from within because a given employee truly has the qualities you need in a manager – not just because it’s easier than going through the search process. 

Your Online Presence Needs A Manager Too

Hiring an experienced and professional restaurant manager will help you provide the best possible customer experience at your restaurant. And DineEngine® can help you toward that end. Our technology services for restaurants can help to manage your restaurant, and our dashboards & business intelligence for restaurants provide insight and data to help manage the online experience you offer.

From server monitoring to performance tuning to cloud server management for restaurants, we can help ensure your customers have a seamless experience, whether using your mobile app or self-service kiosk. We would love to learn more about your business and we’ll create a strategy fully customized for your needs.