What Is a Restaurant Team Leader?
A restaurant is a dynamic business that requires coordination between the many facets of food production and the intricate choreography of serving customers and creating memorable dining experiences. Restaurant managers are responsible for creating and implementing systems, but managers are not always present on the floor, observing the flow of orders and food. Restaurant team leaders are responsible for operations during specific shifts, playing a hands-on role by keeping an eye on the big picture, setting priorities and troubleshooting problems.
A restaurant team leader takes charge of operations by overseeing inventory levels of ingredients, packaging supplies and other essential items such as cleaning materials. She must also have a working knowledge of equipment such as coolers, mixers and stoves, and should be able to assess whether a problem can be fixed in house or whether it will require repair by an outside technician. She must also be able to gauge the urgency of addressing equipment malfunctions, taking immediate steps to address breakdowns that will interfere with food production and service.
A restaurant team leader coordinates the actions of kitchen, wait staff and cleaning personnel. This responsibility involves understanding the strengths and weaknesses of each employee, and drawing on each worker's skills as a situation warrants. For example, serving a VIP table requires finesse, while handling a long line of customers waiting to eat requires speed and focus. An effective team leader will draw on his staff's respective skills in ways that are appropriate to the circumstances. He will also motivate cooks, servers and dishwashers, bringing out the best in each individual.
A restaurant team leader takes ultimate responsibility for addressing customers' needs and concerns. When a party makes a special request, such as a special item to celebrate a special occasion, or a request to accommodate a food allergy, the team leader must be aware of these situations and ensure that these needs are met. Team leaders are also responsible for making amends to dissatisfied customers, listening to their feedback, correcting problems, and offering refunds or free menu items as compensation.
A restaurant team leader is responsible for financial accounting at the end of each shift. This might involve counting and reconciling register totals, and preparing sums for deposit. These financial responsibilities usually require paperwork or basic bookkeeping to track data such as sales totals and number of customers served for accounting purposes. When staff share tips, team leaders might also be in charge of equitably dividing these funds.