“Book Review: The New Restaurant Manager”
Reviewed by Joe Walters
An informative guidebook for assistant managers to increase their knowledge of the restaurant industry and advance in their career
The New Restaurant Manager: How to get ahead, avoid rookie mistakes, and still have a life by John T. Self comes with a big promise. Restaurant managers have a tendency to put in 60+ hours of work per week to stay and arrive in the good graces of their boss. Sometimes, it even feels like the restaurant needs that type of commitment. So how can you seem promotable without sacrificing all of those hours?
This book informs assistant managers who are hopeful of a promotion that it’s not the hours that will get you ahead—but the insight into the general manager mindset. It’s an intriguing and hopeful concept for all those hopeful managers who want to get ahead in their restaurant chain without losing their personal lives.
Clear in its audience and directive, The New Restaurant Manager speaks directly to those who want to advance rather than those who are just trying out the assistant manager position.
The book illustrates that if you want to be a great restaurant manager, it’s about more than just a single shift. It covers a variety of long-term topics of managing a restaurant effectively, including how to manage good & bad employees, how to talk to your boss, and how to recognize how you’re performing (especially in the eyes of your GM).
The truth is—if you’re looking for advancement, this is going to be a helpful book for you. It includes plenty of personal experience as well as the essential information you’re going to have to know in order to demonstrate that you would be a great general manager.
And the proof is in the profit & loss statements. You may know how to run the floor, the host stand, and motivate your servers, but you won’t be considered a strong candidate for promotion until you understand the actual position you want to have. This book provides practical tips on understanding a profit and loss statement and recognizing that the key to promotion is in those numbers.
With all of the information provided here, assistant managers—no matter how high of a level—are going to get new and useful tips inside The New Restaurant Manager. And that, in its bare bones, is why this is a book worth reading.
But the book does fall a bit short in a couple areas for me as well. Particularly, it’s related to that big promise of earlier. We are able to recognize that our extra time isn’t our primary promotable trait in these pages, but we never really discuss the in-moment pressures of staying beyond a required work time. How is it that we can leave in the middle of a busy shift? How do we get to go home without getting blamed for a bad night?
Also, the tips can feel a bit too hopeful and perfect sometimes. They might seem like obvious goals, like “do a great job every day, regardless of what happens in your personal life,” but it doesn’t always acknowledge the truth that real life plays a part in our work lives whether we want them to or not.
However, don’t let these quibbles fool you. This one is still worth a try for the right audience. There is plenty of direct, actionable information that you can take away from it. Soon, you can understand more of how the business is run and what makes your GM tick with The New Restaurant Manager.
Genre: Nonfiction / Hospitality
Print Length: 226 pages
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