top of page

4 Essential Skills Every Successful Restaurant and Bar Manager Needs

Image of a waiter typing an order into a POS system.

The demands of managing a flourishing restaurant or bar are diverse and challenging, requiring a blend of skills that allow managers to navigate the high tides of this dynamic industry. Research shows that the right set of skills can transform a good manager into a great one, promoting business growth and enhancing customer satisfaction.

According to the National Restaurant Association, the restaurant industry was projected to generate $997 billion in sales in 2023, representing a critical component of the American economy. Successful management is key to claiming a share of this burgeoning market. There are currently over 130,000 restaurant managers in the US, here are the 4 essential skills every successful restaurant and bar manager needs:

1. Hard Skills

Aka they need to know how to do the job. Our industry is not some cushy office job or sales role where schmoozing your way through middle management secures a long tenure. Leaders in the industry are born from the ground up. A successful manager will have time or experience in every role they cover. 8 out of every 10 restaurant managers began as entry level employees; a good manager will have spent that time learning every role they wish to manage. An employee missing their shift is not going to sink service and that comes from a manager being able to step in and delegate when necessary.

2. Customer Service Orientation

No matter if you are the head chef or the bar manager, guest satisfaction is the #1 most important part of running a restaurant. If your customers are happy and returning then you are in business. Everything, from the mise en place, to the way the bill is presented should be done with the customer in mind.

3. Financial Acumen

Understanding cash flow, cost control, inventory, and profit margins is crucial. The Restaurant Report highlighted that approximately 60% of restaurants fail within the first year. A comprehensive understanding of financials can significantly reduce this risk. Every manager needs to know how to read a P&L, period. If you cannot understand where the business is bleeding money, or where your section needs improvement you have no business being in management.

4. Staff Management and Development

Good managers don't just hire well—they also nurture their teams, fostering a positive and productive environment. Only 38% of managers are focused on engaging their team through professional development and training. Developing the industry leaders of tomorrow needs to be the #1 priority when working with your team.

In the contemporary landscape, staffing services such as Clock'd can play a vital role in easing the process of candidate management and recruitment. Clock'd offers an in-house Applicant Tracking System (ATS) tailored for the hospitality industry. It can help streamline the recruitment process, track applicants efficiently, and identify top talent quickly. Managers who utilize such tools can gain an edge in the competitive restaurant and bar industry.


To conclude, it's not just about mastering these essential skills but also remaining open to learning and growth. Managers must continually refine these skills, committed to providing the best experience for both staff and customers alike.

Stay tuned for more invaluable insights from the realm of restaurant recruitment. We're here to help those eager for success in the industry.


Head shot of Marc Lapierre, founder and CEO of Clock'd

Marc LaPierre is a 10-year veteran of the food and hospitality industry, Certified Staffing Professional, and CEO/Founder of Clock’d + SEEN. From cooking in James Beard award-winning kitchens to opening and managing a nightclub in Mexico, he worked every job in the industry. Today he connects professionals looking to advance their careers with clients eager to find an all-star team.


bottom of page