Manager, director or administrator?
Many times, people who have been successful in administration In business, they tend to believe that they can perform with equal results in the restaurant business. I have certainly seen professionals who migrate from other sectors to that of services, and very particularly to that of gastronomy, see their dreams frustrated and begin to question their skills and abilities in order to obtain the best results. In fact, I have seen how these professionals have made the organizations in which they have worked successful and, in turn, the restaurants they have managed fail.
You may wonder: Do restaurants require more? Do they require special management skills?
They argue that once administrative skills are formed, any work environment will be easy to manage, a criterion with which I totally disagree. If a few years ago I had had the opportunity to run a gastronomic business, perhaps today I could not be writing about this topic, because the truth is that in order to take responsibility in a sector as fickle as this, you have to know it, and as well as knowing it, you have to live it to be able to face the different states of nature that can arise to take the strategic
Actually, not all activities are the same, nor are all competencies and skills displayed in a similar way in the business
. Each one has its particularity, which makes it demand specific, own skills, which may be planted at school, but which must be watered with daily contact in order to obtain the necessary fruits.
In this sense, I will address the basic skills for administration
in any of the performance activities and, in turn, I will be particularizing those that the restoration activity demands, so that the essence of what I present can be understood. They do not follow a consecutive order, this means that what for one administrator comes first, not necessarily for another has to be, they will only be exposed for your knowledge; But if they are interrelated and therefore, understanding them will be essential, if we hope that our business flourishes.
I am of the opinion that there are general, practical skills for any company, but, as I said earlier, each activity has its characteristics, which makes them different and therefore, in this sense, I will treat them in a general way, particularizing, from my point of view of view, how they can manifest themselves in the gastronomic business.
Let's start by defining that Efficient
it is any action aimed at obtaining results from the mobilization of means and resources, whatever their nature, and is composed of four specialized actions or primary components, which interact permanently in any direction of the action.
And that those components are: plan, organize, drive y control
So, to particularize, you can define that Efficient Food and Beverage
, is nothing other than managing the human, material and financial resources necessary so that the different preparations, whether food and / or beverages, can reach their final destination, which is consumption, and consequently generate wealth for the supplier and a satisfaction for the plaintiff.
Given this, we are able to point out, among many, the set of competencies
and necessary skills so that every process of management
GENERAL SKILLS AND SKILLS
See the company as a system
Consistently interpret the organization's relationships with the macro and micro environment, based on the knowledge that it has of its customers (needs, desires and demands), as well as the behavior of its suppliers, the changes that occur demographically, the political framework - legal sector or activity in which it operates, it is essential if the company is to survive in the market.
Every restaurant manager, manager and / or administrator, and I never tire of saying it, must understand that they work in an organization that is based on the same general management principles as any other company and, therefore, must understand that it is a system and not the sum of several areas with different functions.
Therefore, and to give an example, the area of human resources plays an equally important role as that of services; as well as that of services is not more important than that of economy, nor the latter than that of sanitation. In conclusion, each area that makes up the restaurant organization must be seen at the same level, because the failure of one, indisputably, will have an impact on another and finally on the final result.
In the restaurant, which generally must be a customer-focused organization, where it seeks to satisfy a need or a requirement, where people with different habits and customs and levels of wealth attend, if the selection process by the resource area human, is not adequate, the service, no matter how much emphasis is placed on the design of the processes and quality, cannot be completed as expected, because the selected personnel may not meet the demands of the organization, which among others they can be:
Communication and sales skills.
Ability to withstand long hours of work, generally standing.
Skills for the manipulation of equipment, technologies and supplies and the preparation of certain elaborations.
Likewise, if the human resources department develops a selection process according to what the organization aspires in correspondence with the vision that exists on how to stay competitive in the market and generate value; but the finance department does not guarantee the necessary resources so that those qualities, skills and competences of the personnel can be put into practice; For example, the organization's budget does not ensure that the necessary supplies are purchased as a complement to the service, or maintenance and continuous improvement actions are not planned, what we know as Trade offs are produced.1.
For example, the public of our restaurant is the high segment, therefore it requires means that complement the consumption it carries out. Generally, senior executives celebrate their business by consuming a good wine or enjoying a tobacco. Imagine that your staff is the most qualified; But what is the use of having the desired knowledge and skills if the necessary purchases were not made, due to a poor projection of the budgets to carry out the ritual of tobacco or wine.
Similarly, and to conclude with the example, the vision of the organization by its managers, as a system, ensures that there are no confrontations between the areas, leading to poor results. Each area fulfills a special function, but pays another, therefore, they must be seen individually, but the role of the manager is that the setting of plans and programs that ensure the achievement of short and long-term objectives, must be focused on the role of each subsystem and the way in which they contribute to these objectives, so that these conflicts do not occur.
Efficiently manage and distribute available resources
In this sense, the manager's sharpness to break down each of the problems that arise, knowing how to analyze them and making use of the knowledge he has, will allow him to identify the causes that originate it, the impact it may have within the organization and how to be able to face it, making decisions based on the priorities of the organization.
Thus, for example, the administrator must be able to identify why changes occur in customer preferences and how to redirect towards those changes. In this sense, understanding and identifying the causes that may be associated with changes in habits and / or customs; population growth, decrease, aging and / or mobility or due to the extinction of one of the suppliers; emergence of new fads or technologies; customer availability of a substitute product; among others and based on them define what to prioritize y how to reorganize and distribute available resources.
But not only can external aspects cause changes, but inadequate attention to a particular area may have an impact on the rest, such as purchasing or storage capacity, maintenance of infrastructure, replacement of supplies, breakage of teams, the structure of the organization; etc.
Ability to plan
The restaurant manager must know what he aspires to, inventory his possibilities for today to imagine the future. In this way, taking, not as a primary element, but as necessary information, the behavior of the competition, but fundamentally identifying the available human, material and financial resources, to project achievable objectives and goals, to then be able to effectively deploy that resources and capabilities.
I am of the opinion that the analysis of the competition is important, but much more important is the knowledge of the real possibilities that the company has as a basis to be able to set goals. Generally, and I tell my students, competition should not become an obsession. The client is sometimes saturated with the same. He goes to a restaurant and finds something, but he goes to another and finds the same, in fact the customer values the difference, that is what he is looking for. For example, it is not necessarily important for me to acquire a model of the latest coffee maker, because the competition has incorporated it into your business or is in fashion, if my studies show me that the coffee offered by my installation is in demand and this occurs because the The way I prepare it is traditional and not through special equipment.
But in essence, the ability to plan lies in that according to those studies that I do and the identification of the objectives and goals that are imposed, organize the work. Particularly in the activity of gastronomic services, sales explosions are unpredictable; You can carry out the necessary studies to prepare for it, but it is the client who defines when to go and use the services in the restaurant and that is where the manager's ability must be present, when he is able to create the necessary conditions for respond to this demand, with the necessary personnel and the necessary means (technology and service supplies so that bottlenecks do not occur, nor do staff over-exploit)
Planning involves anticipating in advance all possible alternatives to states of nature that may be presented to the organization, in order to respond adequately to them and continue to create value for customers and the organization, obtaining the maximum profit at the lowest cost.
Ability to manage
Essential for the business that the manager knows how to identify, from the different signals that are emitted in the life of the business, in order to reformulate strategies. Managing not only implies planning and organizing, but also being able to adapt to the changes that are taking place and on this basis reorient the work in order to make the proposed objectives a reality, establishing coordination mechanisms and control points that alert in due time to those weak or strong points that can influence these proposed objectives.
From the above the necessary ability to control.
This implies giving follow-up, establishing criteria of measures to the different tasks that have been designed as part of the set of actions that are carried out to achieve the proposed objective and in this way to be able to obtain all the necessary information to be able to make decisions, correcting the various failures that may occur on the way to that goal.
And within the set of these general skills and competences I have left for the end that of the ability to work as a team.
You can master the best and most modern techniques of administration
and business management, correctly interpret each one of the indicators that are offering information on the organization's competitive, economic and financial situation, but if the work is done individually and the team that makes up the restaurant is not involved, it cannot create a commitment among its members that contributes to a better performance at work by achieving the expected results.
It is important for the Administrator to be able to put collective interests before personal ones, in the same way he must know how to decode the messages that the different members of the organization can express gesturally and verbally, so that he can interpret the necessary motivations so that they can coherently and organizationally have a positive effect on the company.
SPECIAL COMPETENCES AND SKILLS
Perhaps, the aforementioned approach serves as a basis to be able to run a restaurant, but it is not enough, from my point of view. A professional graduated from a business school can feel upon graduation capable of facing any type of organization and directing it. And he is right, only that the skills and competences acquired in such a school are not enough.
The restoration activity has its particularities and therefore demand for particular skills and competences.
The manager of a restaurant must be able to:
Know how to serve:
To guide each action according to the business, with command of what it proposes. Many times tasks are planned that are not the most appropriate and far from achieving positive results, they hinder work, discourage staff and slow down the business.
In order to know how employees travel through tasks and where new actions must be taken.
To demonstrate proposed theories. Not only is it enough to say: "This can be done, but I personally verified it."
In order to make decisions that do not affect the business, when it requires it, such as changing the form of service, from a functional to a specialized one.
Know how to interpret:
Not only knowing how to read a balance sheet or an income statement, but correctly interpreting the changes that occur in the environment and their involvement in those results.
To understand the causes that condition an affectation in the costs
and why it is necessary to make a price variation.
To apply methods, techniques or tools that generate information about the changes that must occur in the offer or in the structure of the company.
To know why the productivity of workers decreases, whether it is due to material shortages (inputs) or by demonstration (wages, stimulations, attention or lack of practical skills).
In order to be able, when the moment requires it, to make specifications in purchases, evaluate suppliers and the own competences of the personnel under their command.
Not only in the field of supply, but in the field of worker care.
Identify when a change in services should occur and adopt the appropriate one.
To motivate clients and make them feel that changes are taking place in the organization thinking of them.
To solve a problem, when there are no resources to face it at the moment.
To achieve variety and distinction every day. Do what is different when you have to be different.
To use the resources properly, and not to get rid of them when they can still be exploited.
Ability to unlearn:
Discard old theories that are no longer effective for new ones.
Condition and promote change
Know how to adapt to changes that occur in the environment
In some way, for me, these have been basic competencies of a restaurant administrator, although those that I will mention now, can be located within them or not, it is essential that:
1. Learn about the activity. If not, employees will take advantage of or have to do something that is not within their competence.
2. Know in detail each element of your business. How it is cooked, in what conditions, with what means and in what time.
3. Master the computerized system or means of recording sales, especially their vulnerabilities, in order to identify risks and counter them with appropriate measures.
4. Know in detail each of the inputs that are used, both in the elaboration and in the service. This will allow the moment a purchase request is submitted for approval to make the appropriate decision.
5. Have a basic command of mathematical operations. This will facilitate you to make timely calculations at the right time (a negotiation with a supplier, an estimate of income, costs and expenses, analysis of productivity, among others)
6. Know the political and legal framework in which it operates.
Finally, I want to conclude with the idea, the more the activity is mastered, no matter how many management tools are mastered, the easier it will be to run the business. Seen from the client's angle, services will be offered according to what they really need; seen from the worker's angle; business tasks are being fulfilled and seen from the competition, you are having a rival who knows what you have, what you want and knows how to run the business.