Kaiwhakahaere Toa Kawhe/Wharekai
This job is sometimes referred to by alternative titles
Cafe/restaurant managers are in charge of running cafes, restaurants and fast food outlets. They may also run catering businesses.
Cafe/restaurant duty managers usually earn
$16-$20 per hour
Cafe/restaurant general managers usually earn
$18-$24 per hour
Pay for cafe/restaurant mangers varies depending on experience, responsibility, and the size of the eatery they work for. According to industry sources:
- duty managers usually earn between $16 and $20 an hour
- general mangers usually earn between $18 and $24 an hour.
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the figures and diagrams in our job information)
What you will do
Cafe/restaurant managers may do some or all of the following:
- hire, train, and supervise staff
- ensure customer service is maintained at a high level
- ensure health, safety and liquor licensing regulations are followed
- help serve food and drinks
- take customer bookings
- ensure food is prepared and cooked to set company specifications
- organise supply purchases, and keep stock records
- plan budgets and rosters
- plan menus with cooks or chefs
- undertake marketing and promotion
- organise food and beverage events, promotions and advertising.
Skills and knowledge
Cafe/restaurant managers need to have:
- people management skills
- business management knowledge, including budgeting, accounting, sales and marketing skills
- knowledge of health, safety and food hygiene regulations and procedures
- good understanding of current licensing and employment laws
- knowledge of food and drink preparation and presentation
- ability to plan and organise catering for functions such as weddings or conferences
- ability to set up a menu
- awareness of competitors' prices and services, and market trends.
- often work long hours, including evenings and weekends, but may also do shift work
- work in restaurants, bars, offices and restaurant kitchens
- work in conditions that may be hot, noisy and stressful
- may travel to visit suppliers, other restaurants and local regulatory bodies such as city councils.
What's the job really like?
Can you describe a typical day as a cafe manager?
"A typical day involves managing the staff and bookings. I order the supplies we need delivered, then help prepare the cabinet food for the day. Otherwise I'm serving customers and making sure they’re looked after and having a good experience."
What makes a good cafe manager?
"Well, having people skills is number one. You also need to be able to multitask while keeping calm. To be a good manager you have to be able to delegate and lead by example. If any problems arise be upfront and honest."
What training did you do?
"Hospitality is an industry where you can work your way up. I haven’t done any formal training and I’ve been in the industry for almost 20 years. A piece of paper is great but it doesn't always take you too far when it comes to actually being on the floor."
Any advice for someone wanting to be a cafe manager?
"Work hard. Find people who are great in their area and learn from them, and always strive to be the best. Don’t complain, but if you have to, do it with a smile on your face."
Andrew Waddington talks about what it's like to be a cafe manager - 1.21 mins.
Customer: No, as it comes.
Andrew: Good as gold, that’s great.
Customer: Thanks a lot.
Andrew: Hi, I’m Andrew Waddington, I’m the cafe manager here at Morrison Street Cafe.
A few basic things that I do during the day would be to make sure that the staff interests are held quite highly; rosters, making sure that everyone is on time; customer satisfaction always comes first and looking at a few things to sort of change round the cafe to keep the systems in place.
A few other things to think about is how to problem solve on your feet and make sure you can do things in a cool, calm and collected manner.
A few things that really make my day are when I can see the satisfaction on customers’ faces when they walk in and they go ‘Wow, what a wonderful crew of people you’ve got working here, everyone’s happy and smiling’, and they walk away feeling better than when they walked in.
There are no specific requirements to become a cafe/restaurant manager, but you usually need to have experience working in hospitality, and business management skills or experience.
Relevant on-the-job training, and polytechnic or private courses are available for people wanting to become cafe/restaurant managers. For example, ServiceIQ offers the National Diploma in Hospitality – Operational Management (Level 5).
If the establishment you work at sells alcohol, you also need to:
- be at least 20 years old
- hold a Manager's Certificate and a Licence Controller Qualification (LCQ).
- ServiceIQ website - information on the License Controller Qualification
- ServiceIQ website - information on management and supervision
There are no specific secondary educational requirements, but NCEA Level 2 accounting, economics and food and nutrition are useful.
Cafe/restaurant managers need to be:
- good at managing and leading people
- good at customer service
- good at communicating
- able to work well under pressure
- friendly, patient and helpful
To be a good manager you have to be able to delegate and lead by example.
Useful experience for cafe/restaurant managers includes:
- any work, such as bartending or waiting, at a cafe, fast food outlet or restaurant
- retail, sales and other management work
- administrative work for large events
- staff management experience.
Restaurant managers need to be fit and healthy and have good stamina, as they spend long periods on their feet.
Find out more about training
- 0800 863 693 - www.serviceiq.org.nz
What are the chances of getting a job?
Opportunities for cafe/restaurant managers are good because:
- people tend to stay in the role for a short time, creating regular vacancies
- the occupation is large, and growing
- spending in cafes and restaurants is increasing as New Zealanders are eating out more, and the number of overseas visitors to New Zealand has been rising.
More catered business meetings means more opportunities for cafe/restaurant managers
Demand for managers to work at catering companies is rising because businesses are increasingly outsourcing catering for meetings and events. Cafe/restaurant managers have the skills and experience this job requires.
Types of employers varied
Cafe/restaurant managers may work in any establishment that serves food and drink to the public, including:
- cafes, restaurants and fast food outlets
- catering businesses
- convention and conference centres
- sports arenas.
They may also be self-employed, and run their own establishments.
- Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, '2006-2014 Occupation Data' (prepared for Careers New Zealand), 2016.
- Robertson, B, chief executive officer, Hospitality New Zealand, Careers New Zealand interview, January 2015, (www.hospitalitynz.org.nz).
- Restaurant Association of New Zealand, 'Inside The Mind of the Kiwi Diner', accessed February 2016, (www.restaurantnz.co.nz).
- Statistics New Zealand, 'Food Price Index: January 2016', accessed February 2016, (www.stats.govt.nz).
- Statistics New Zealand, 'Food Price Index Review: 2014', accessed February 2016, (www.stats.govt.nz).
- Statistics New Zealand, 'International Travel and Migration: November 2015', accessed February 2016, (www.stats.govt.nz).
- Valentine, L, marketing adviser, ServiceIQ, Careers New Zealand interview, February 2016, (www.serviceiq.org.nz).
Progression and specialisations
Cafe/restaurant managers may progress to own and operate their own business.
They may also specialise in an area such as:
- Caterers manage and co-ordinate the preparation of food for functions or events.
- Fast Food Manager
- Fast food managers supervise staff and the running of fast food outlets.
- Food and Beverage Manager
- Food and beverage managers are responsible for the operation of all food and beverage outlets and services in a hotel or conference centre.
Last updated 29 May 2017