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Where have all the restaurant floor managers gone?

This blog isn’t based on a scientific study it is just an observation but where have all the restaurant floor managers gone? I very rarely see restaurant managers in the dining room managing the meal period anymore.

I try to look for managers every time I go out to eat from a curiosity perspective. I, as all restaurant people do, judge every restaurant that I eat in and will for the rest of my life. I see managers, but they are almost always in the window expediting.

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When I was a manager at a high volume full-service restaurant, we would staff at least 2 FOH managers for every weekday meal period and three on weekends. One of us would work in the window expediting meals, and the others would manage the FOH.

Expediting is very important job, ensuring that the food going to the table is cooked correctly, and the right meals are getting to the guests in a timely manner, matters. Let’s also be honest with ourselves, expediting is easier than managing the floor and is more fun because you’re not having to be on and in front of guests. You can shoot the shit and make jokes with the kitchen guys while you’re putting orders together.

In my opinion there needs to be at least one restaurant manager on the floor managing guest service. Even in a lower volume restaurant there are things that the manager can be doing to positively affect the guests experience, help servers/buss staff, and speed up table turns.

Am I wrong? Please comment and tell me the deal. I would hate to think that in my early 40’s that I’m completely over the hill on this matter.

Written by

I've been in the restaurant industry for most of my adult life. I have a BSBA from University of Denver Hotel Restaurant school and an MBA from the same. When I wasn't working in restaurants I was either doing stand-up comedy, for 10 years, or large enterprise software consulting. I'm currently the Managing Director of OpsAnalitica and our Inspector platform was originally conceived when I worked for one of the largest sandwich franchisors in the country. You can reach out to me through LinkedIn.

3 Comments Published

by Jeffrey Summers , post on 5 March 2015 | Reply

Absolutely critical point! Coaching at the point of experience. Nothing impacts the guest experience more than a leader leading from the front. There’s a world of difference in the level of success of operators who understand that we’re in the business of creating experiences and not just food.

by michael hopkins , post on 7 March 2015 | Reply

Hi. in answer to the question where have all the floor managers gone ,is this nowadays they are covering other departments ie conference and banquetting
and doing duty manager shifts that they have hardly or no time to do it and bogged down with paper work, scheduling rota”s for staff etc and they find it
very difficult to do.

by Bruno Hilgart , post on 8 March 2015 | Reply

There is more and more work with less and less people. Labor is a % on the P/L so let’s say that based on sales, the labor we can spend for this specific time frame is 50$. When average wages were 7$ an hour, you could schedule 7 hourly people. Now, with wages near 10$ an hour, we can schedule 5. Guest will never expect less and want to pay more. The only chance operaters have is to increase productivity of each labor hour scheduled. The sales per man hour today is approaching 50!
This leaves managers having to fill the void. They have “S’s” on their chests, capes on their backs, playing super employee/managers.
They are multi tasking more than ever. They simply don’t have the time to do the travel paths that should include guest interaction at the front of the house. 25 years ago, you could be an average operator at an average location and make money. Today, you could be at “A” location with A operations and possibly not make it.

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