Kaiwhakahaere Toa Kawhe/Wharekai
Cafe/restaurant managers are in charge of running cafes, restaurants and fast food outlets. They may also run catering businesses.
Cafe/restaurant assistant duty managers usually earn
$21-$22 per hour
Cafe/restaurant general managers usually earn
$22-$34 per hour
Source: Restaurant Assn of NZ and Frontline Hospitality, 2018.
Pay for cafe/restaurant managers varies depending on experience, responsibilities and where they work.
- Duty managers and assistant cafe managers usually earn between minimum wage and $22 an hour.
- Cafe managers usually earn between $22 and $24 an hour.
- Restaurant managers can earn between $22 and $34 an hour.
Sources: Restaurant Association of New Zealand, '2017 Remuneration Survey Results', October 2018; and Frontline Hospitality, 'Frontline Hospitality 2018/2019 Salary Guide', October 2018.
- PAYE.net.nz website - use this calculator to convert pay and salary information
- Employment New Zealand website - information about minimum wage rates
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our pay 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
- take customer bookings and help serve food and drinks
- 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
- 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
- the ability to plan menus and organise catering for functions such as weddings or conferences
- awareness of competitors' prices and services, and market trends.
- often work long hours, including evenings and weekends, and may also do shift work
- work in bars, cafes, catering kitchens, cafeterias, fast food and restaurant kitchens, and offices
- work in conditions that may be hot, noisy and stressful
- may travel locally to visit suppliers and other restaurants.
What's the job really like?
What are the challenges in your role?
"The biggest challenge for managers is employing staff and trying to attract staff to a position. You're always battling it because you just can't pay the high wages. A lot of people in hospitality do it for the passion instead. Making sure you have a good team in place and have a good team culture is important. The culture of the staff reflects on the cafe."
What qualities do you need?
"You need to have positivity. Some training would be advantageous – and customer relations skills if you want to be out the front. The hospitality industry is high stress, high risk, you're working in 40 degrees, and people 'want it now'. I think people really underestimate how hard hospitality is. Everyone is in such a hurry these days."
What are the rewards?
"If it's your passion, it's what you do. You do it for the fun and enjoyment and smiles. For the buzz that you get from people saying, 'That's fantastic', and knowing they want to come back to your restaurant."
Cafe/restaurant manager video
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. However, you usually need to have experience working in hospitality, and business management skills or experience.
A New Zealand Diploma in Hospitality Management (Level 5) may also be useful. The industry training organisation Service IQ oversees hospitality qualifications.
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 about the License Controller Qualification
- ServiceIQ website - information on management and supervision programmes
No specific secondary education is required for this job, but accounting, economics and home economics (food and nutrition) to at least Level 2 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
- motivated and organised.
You need to have quite a thick skin to be able to handle some cafe situations.
Useful experience for cafe/restaurant managers includes:
- any work at a cafe, fast food outlet or restaurant such as bartending or waitering
- retail or sales management
- administrative work for large events
- staff management experience.
Restaurant managers need to be reasonably fit and healthy, and have a good level of stamina as they spend long periods on their feet.
Find out more about training
- Restaurant Association of New Zealand
- (09) 638 8403 - firstname.lastname@example.org - www.restaurantnz.co.nz
- 0800 863 693 - intel@ServiceIQ.org.nz - www.serviceiq.org.nz
What are the chances of getting a job?
Good demand for cafe/restaurant managers
Job opportunities for cafe/restaurant managers are good because low unemployment and an increase in job vacancies means there is a shortage of people available to do this role.
According to the Census, 11,586 cafe/restaurant managers worked in New Zealand in 2018.
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
- bars and hotels
- catering businesses
- convention and conference centres
- sports arenas.
Cafe/restaurant managers may also be self-employed, and run their own establishments.
- Clearwater, M, senior adviser, Service IQ – Workforce Development, careers.govt.nz interview, June 2020.
- Cropp, A, 'More Than 2,700 New Hospitality Outlets Split the Dining Dollar', 2 September, 2018, (www.stuff.co.nz).
- Hospitality New Zealand, '2018 Hospitality Report Shows Kiwis Eating Out More Often' (media release), 2 September 2018, (www.scoop.co.nz).
- Stats NZ, '2018 Census Data', 2019.
- Waldren, N, general manager, Restaurant Association of New Zealand, careers.govt.nz interview, September 2018.
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our job opportunities information)
Progression and specialisations
Cafe/restaurant managers may progress to own and operate their own cafe/restaurant business.
Cafe/restaurant managers may specialise in areas 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 4 April 2022