In addition to being a culinary entrepreneur and business founder, Paul is a master of restaurant management.
Recently, he shared his thoughts on the must-have skills you should possess if you hope to thrive in a restaurant management role. The skills he believes are of utmost importance include:
Emotional intelligence refers to a person’s ability to understand, use, and positively manage their own emotions. Additionally, emotional intelligence involves the ability to communicate effectively, defuse conflicts, overcome challenges, and empathize with others.
According to Bulau, “High emotional intelligence is the compass that guides restaurant managers through the chaotic kitchen environment while empowering them to defuse the big personalities that are often present in successful restaurants.” In other words, emotional intelligence helps restaurant leaders show empathy and tap into the full potential of their teams.
Hospitality expertise was another essential restaurant manager skill Bulau spoke about. He said, “The hospitality industry is about making patrons feel special and ensuring their needs are met, but doing it at scale.”
Bulau’s insights illustrate the balance that restaurant managers must strike between efficiency and personalized service. Interactions with patrons should never feel rushed, but managers have to be purposeful in all they do.
As highlighted by Paul Bulau, a key component of a restaurant manager’s role is financial acumen. Understanding the nuances of budgeting, cost control, and financial planning is crucial. This skill set involves analyzing profit and loss statements, managing labor costs, and making strategic decisions regarding pricing and promotions.
A manager’s ability to balance meeting financial objectives and maintaining high-quality service is vital for the restaurant’s success. Bulau elaborated on the importance of business acumen, stating, “Managers have to look past the dollars and cents of individual transactions and examine the big picture, accounting for obvious costs like supplies, and obscure ones, such as hiring and training.”
Effective leadership is the backbone of successful restaurant management. But leadership is about more than divvying out tasks and telling employees what to do. True leaders get in the trenches with their teams, roll up their sleeves when things get hectic, and keep everyone focused on their unified goal.
The best restaurant managers lead by example, encouraging a culture of teamwork and positivity. They should be adept at conflict resolution, offer constructive feedback, and celebrate team wins, big or small.
Are You Ready for a Restaurant Management Position?
Just like Paul Bulau, your journey into restaurant management must begin with a single step. Whether you have gained some leadership experience or are new to the hospitality industry, remember that no chef starts with the most complex dish or recipe.
Instead, they lay the foundation for their development by learning basic skills like efficient chopping or safe food handling. Only then can they build on that foundation, gradually trying new things and facing increasingly difficult challenges.
Likewise, you should focus on sharpening basic skills like conflict resolution, communication, and business management. Over time, you’ll develop the base needed to thrive as a restaurant manager and lead an establishment to financial success.
About Paul Bulau
After earning a degree in Culinary Arts and Restaurant Management from the Scottsdale Culinary Institute, Paul launched, grew, and sold his first business. For the past 25 years, Paul has served in several management roles with a premier, on-site restaurant company.