Interview with a fast food restaurant General Manager

in Indoor Jobs, Restaurant, Salaried Jobs

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What do you do for a living?

I’m the General Manager for a fast food restaurant. I handle all the day-to-day operations for two restaurants. Anything from employee staffing to quality control, to products, to paying bills, everything.

What does your work entail?

In the hospitality industry, every day is a different day, every day is another challenge. There are really good times in this industry, and there are really bad times. You learn to take full advantage of when things are really good, it makes things not quite so bad when you’re understaffed or you’ve got too much workload or you’ve booked too many orders for one particular time.

How did you get started?

I got into Slims about a month and a half before they opened in January of 2003. Just through word of mouth.

I would say that the most rewarding part is interacting with my customers…for the most part I’m just giving them something good to eat, that’s all they want from me. I’m not making open ended promises I can’t keep. I’m not asking them to give me a lot of money I think I might be able to invest for them. Nothing like that. I’m giving you a good meal for seven to ten bucks and 20 minutes of your time.

I had a little bit of restaurant experience and I heard about what these guys were doing up here and it was just mind boggling. I thought it was a brilliant idea from the beginning and decided to take a job.

What do you like about what you do?

I think that the most enjoying factor of my job is getting to please people on a daily basis. In my line of work I have roughly 20 minutes with a customer. It’s a business where people expect instant gratification and nine times out of 10 if not higher, people are satisfied. They’re happy when they leave, they just want something good to eat. I give them food, and my employees take care of them, and they’re good to go. I enjoy that.

What do you dislike?

What I dislike probably the most about what I do would be dealing with the personnel issues within the restaurant. Staffing, hiring, working out the little conflicts of interest between the employees and making people from all walks of life work together, and work very close together in a heated, hot, fast-paced environment. It’s hard to do that.

How do you make money/or how are you compensated?

I get paid on salary and on a yearly basis, and this is where it gets tricky because my job is a hybrid.

Dedication is really important…If the management doesn’t care or doesn’t fully apply themselves, there’s no way you can talk the staff into doing it, and the end result comes out in the product. Management will sink a restaurant so fast. I don’t know what the exact statistics are off the top of my head, but there are some amazing new restaurants that go out of business in the first six months.

I’m not just a General Manager and I’m not just the Director of Operations for a multi-faceted restaurant chain. I would say that the norm for the industry probably starts around $40,000 for my job and goes goes anywhere from $60,000 to $65,000.

How much money do you make?

I make over $50,000.

What education or skills are needed to do this?

I don’t know if there really are any certain acquired skills and or levels of formal education that you would need. For the most part, to have the ability to do this job, you just inherently have to be a hard worker. You just have to be really well rounded. I do deal with a lot of math, but as far as formal education, I don’t necessarily know that there is one.

What is most challenging about what you do?

I can have anywhere from 150 to 200 people come in in an hour and a half and we attempt to deliver them all their food in five minutes or less, all while keeping it fresh from the moment they walk in the door. That’s definitely the most challenging part.

What is most rewarding?

I would say that the most rewarding part is interacting with my customers. I like talking to people, I like being in front of people, I like interacting with people. And for the most part I’m just giving them something good to eat, that’s all they want from me. I’m not making open ended promises I can’t keep. I’m not asking them to give me a lot of money, I think I might be able to invest for them. Nothing like that, I’m giving you a good meal, for seven to ten bucks and 20 minutes of your time.

What advice would you offer someone considering this career?

I would say it’s a rewarding job. I enjoy most everything that I do, of course no job is perfect. That’s why we get paid every two weeks to do it. Dedication is really important, management can sink a restaurant like that(snaps fingers). If the management doesn’t care or doesn’t fully apply themselves, there’s no way you can talk the staff into doing it, and the end result comes out in the product. Management will sink a restaurant so fast. I don’t know what the exact statistics are off the top of my head, but there are some amazing new restaurants that go out of business in the first six months.

How much time off do you get/take?

Well, it kind of comes and goes. You have busy seasons, and you have non-busy seasons. When it’s busier, obviously you’re working more hours, longer days, more days. In the down times, such as the dead of summer, you can kind of pick and choose. We’re starting to get back into our very busy season with school back in, football, holidays right around the corner. So it really just depends, it’s a need-based type of work environment.

What is a common misconception people have about what you do?

I think in the restaurant industry it’s understanding the difference between cash flow and profitability. You’ve got money coming in every single day which is cash flow. Profitability is different. It’s pretty much done on a 30 day, or three-month basis. It’s very important to always keep in mind every dollar going out is as important as every dollar coming in.

What are your goals/dreams for the future?

To expand our company nationwide. We’d like to have several hundred units both corporately owned and franchised, and then possibly get into other facets of the restaurant business; franchising, acquiring assets, etc.

What else would you like people to know about what you do?

I would say the biggest part is to be 100 percent involved, that means you can’t do it from the hip, you really got to show up every day. When I walk through the door at eight o’clock in the morning if I’m not on my game I can’t expect the other team members to be walking in behind me calling me their fearless leader and wanting to work for me if I’m not on my game. That’s why every day you got to hit the floor running.

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