Whether you're an employee, a customer or an aspiring manager, you may think that all managers are the same. Those wearing a collared shirt or chef coat can seem interchangeable. However, the position of restaurant manager is quite specialized, even in smaller establishments where supervisors have to multi-task.
A general manager oversees the entire establishment. An efficient GM will know how to delegate and assign responsibility properly. Though she doesn't necessarily have to establish a cult of personality, she must set an example with her work and her attitude, because ultimately the restaurant will be a reflection of her. Good morale starts with the general manager. In addition, all of the financial numbers -- from labor costs to inventory percentages -- are her responsibility.
A kitchen manager is in charge of the day-to-day operation of the kitchen. He sets the tone for the back of the house, and he should inspire confidence in his cooks and chefs. A timid restaurant kitchen staff is a vulnerable one, likely to get frustrated during hectic rush periods. A kitchen manager also oversees the ordering of food and managing food costs.
Front of the House Manager
The specialty of a front of the house manager usually centers around customer service. She should be adept at ensuring a smooth customer flow. Like all managers, a front of the house supervisor needs to be able to tackle many tasks at once. She may have a frustrated customer to talk to, a new employee to train and a backed-up kitchen to deal with all at once. It's essential that she not get frustrated easily; in fact, it's her job to ease frustration and to be the calming influence.
The assistant manager's job essentially is to make the general manager's job easier. The typical assistant manager has to be ready to fill any role at any time. Ideally, he should be able to cook as well as the kitchen manager and be just as customer service savvy as the front of the house manager. Also, he should have a keen understanding of the general manager's job in the event the GM goes on vacation or falls ill.