How to be a great restaurant manager

Lessons from Diego Masciaga By Chris Parker
(Author of ‘The Diego Masciaga Way’)

>> Over the last four years I have had the great privilege of getting to know and write about Diego Masciaga, director and general manager of the world-famous
3 Michelin starred restaurant The Waterside Inn. Regarded by many as the greatest restaurant manager alive, Diego holds a Master of Culinary Arts, achieved the Grand Prix de l’Art de la Salle from the l’Academie

Internationale de Gastronomie, and in 2011 was awarded the title of Cavaliere, the Italian equivalent of a knighthood.

Here are 10 of the lessons I learnt from Diego about how to be a great restaurant manager:

1. Have a passion for what you do. Service begins and ends with a genuine,
heart-felt smile, so if  you can’t summon that find a different career.

2. Have a clear vision of what you want to achieve and how to achieve it.

Combine big picture thinking with never-ending attention to detail. No matter how good you are there is always room for improvement.

3. Recruit staff based on their attitude. Technique is teachable, attitude less so. Ensure that you have some lieutenants in your team, senior staff who understand your vision and purpose and who think like you; they are the individuals you can rely on to maintain standards if you are not present.

4. Train your staff endlessly, both formally and informally. Understand that you are always their role model, so set the example. Technique is relatively easy to teach. Train your staff  to multi-task. Teach them to understand and appreciate

your philosophy and approach.

5. Build trust. Leaders cannot lead effectively without the trust of their team.

Get to know everyone you employ. Play a key role in their development.

Earn their trust by giving yours.

6. Guests are people who put their trust in you – be worthy of it every time!

Aim to meet guests’ needs before they ask. Remember that guests visit you for their own reasons and have their own expectations. Treat every table as if it is a separate, independent world.

7. Seek out and respond  to feedback. During service the atmosphere in the restaurant is the most immediate and significant source of feedback. Know what the best atmosphere is and know how create and maintain it.

8. Everyone makes mistakes occasionally; treat any mistake as a great opportunity to create a lifelong friend of your business. Saying ‘Sorry’ does not make up for a mistake, it is only the starting point. Do more. Ensure your guests leave talking about how you responded to the mistake

rather than the error itself.

9. Manage costs. Remember that turnover is not as important as profit.Ensure that guests feel theyare getting value for money. Remember that the quality of your customer service is the key to success and longevity.

10. Endings really, really matter. Your guest should be treated as such until they leave –not until they pay the bill. Make the ending brilliant.