Skip navigation
restaurant-owner.jpg Blue Images / The Image Bank
It’s important for restaurants to provide GMs with the right training, support, processes, and tools so they can be successful at their job.

Making your GM the heart of your business

Your general manager is critical to your success. Here’s how to set them up for success.

The importance of the General Manager cannot be underestimated when it comes to the success of a restaurant. GMs are the heart of the restaurant business, and the connecting point between the executive staff in headquarters and the hourly workers, like the cooks, hosts and cashiers, working the front lines.

For issues like training, policies, and company updates, HR and restaurant executives must go through the GM, and hourly workers generally need to communicate concerns, get training and support, and provide feedback through their GM. So GMs hold a vital role as the conduit between headquarters and front line staff.

Losing a GM is problematic for restaurants for a few reasons. It can cost restaurants upward of $5,200 because of the training costs involved and invested in that GM, and there’s certainly a risk of more turnover from employees, as the hourly workers are usually very loyal to their GMs. Because of this, restaurants risk a bigger issue of losing staff in one fell swoop during an already difficult labor shortage.

It’s important for restaurants to provide GMs with the right training, support, processes, and tools so they can be successful at their job. Equally important is making sure they don’t burn out and get the breaks they need from the business, as it can be an all-consuming, exhausting position.

Having worked with dozens of restaurants that have been battling all of the challenges from the pandemic, labor shortage and the recession, we’ve learned how brands can thrive by making their GM the heart of their business.

At an early-stage company with just a few locations, the GM is there to experiment and see what works best for the restaurant in terms of culture, roles, and staffing. However, once the restaurant grows to five or more locations, it’s important to put in some processes and standardize procedures at the business. Restaurant owners need to build a playbook for General Managers to follow so they have guidelines they can use and a clear set of expectations for both them and their team.

For example, recruiting is a big part of a GM’s job, and restaurants need to put guidelines in place on how their GMs will recruit — what sites they will post jobs on, how they will reach out to candidates and do follow up, language do’s and don’ts during interviews, list of approved interview questions, and pay rates for each position.

They should also be provided with the right technology tools to help automate parts of their job so they can focus on operations. For example, in recruiting there are platforms such as LANDED to determine standardized interview openings, how to answer candidate questions, and respond quickly to candidates so GMs just have to make hiring decisions. Or for scheduling there are solutions such as 7Shifts, which help with scheduling candidates for their shifts week to week.  

Once restaurants hit more than 15 locations, you can put into place accountability systems for that playbook and make sure GMs are adhering to the processes.

This is also a good time to have mini teams established underneath the GM, such as an assistant manager and shift lead who work directly for the GM. With this pod of coworkers, GMs can build a dedicated management team and have these team members in charge of specific tasks for the restaurant, such as checking in on how each employee is doing or building trainings and tutorials — perhaps how to talk about a new menu item or how to use a new technology —  that will take the burden off the GM. They can also plan outings for their pod and create opportunities to hang out outside of work to build relationships.

Successful restaurants have low GM turnover; losing a GM, beyond the expense highlighted above, is a hit to morale, upsetting to staff, and it tends to negatively affect the organization of the restaurant and even the guest experience. Because of this, restaurant executives need to have a really good grasp on how their GMs are doing. GMs need to be compensated competitively, offered compelling benefits and given a healthy amount of time off. Keeping an eye on overtime is actually a good indicator of whether your GM is overdoing it.

Reducing turnover really means making the GM the heart of your business — giving them the tech tools, processes and procedures they need to be a success at their job, building a supportive team for them and not pushing them to burnout.


LANDED_Vivian_PR_photo_2.jpgVivian Wang is the Founder & CEO of LANDED, which is becoming the fastest way for the 90 million hourly workers in the U.S. to land jobs at essential restaurant and hospitality businesses like Panera, CAVA, Chick-fil-A and more. After graduating from Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs, Vivian worked in roles ranging from advising European central banks on financial markets strategy at BlackRock and launching the Asia and EMEA markets at real estate tech company Matterport to leading special projects for the C-suite at Gap Inc.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.