how to manage a restaurant kitchen
by Laura-Andreea Voicu

Being a kitchen manager is an equally fulfilling and challenging job, yet one that can be extremely rewarding if done right. In the article below, we’ll take a look at how to manage a restaurant kitchen, from the main duties, skills, and tools a kitchen manager needs, to tips that will help them succeed.

What Is Kitchen Management?

The definition of kitchen management is pretty simple. It entails managing a restaurant, café, or bar kitchen, from the staff to the back-of-house operations, kitchen procedures, and costs. The goal of kitchen managers is to ensure everything runs smoothly for the staff and the patrons.

Introduction to Kitchen Management: The Basics

A kitchen manager is unlike a chef or a restaurant owner. While chefs focus on cooking, food prep, and recipe management, kitchen managers deal with day-to-day kitchen operations and administrative tasks.

As opposed to a restaurant owner who focuses on the overall success of the restaurant, a kitchen manager focuses on the success of the kitchen in particular. They organize kitchen staff, control costs, and ensure all food quality standards are met.

To be a kitchen manager, you need to learn how to manage a restaurant kitchen from scratch.

The Importance of Kitchen Management for a Restaurant’s Success

Without a kitchen manager, a restaurant would struggle to work efficiently and deliver top-notch customer service.

Effective kitchen management leads to a faster workflow where you avoid under or over-scheduling, better food quality, less ingredient waste, and happier customers.

A good kitchen manager will also keep the rest of the kitchen staff happy and motivated, and support the restaurant manager by taking some of the pressure off of them.

What Does a Kitchen Manager Do?

kitchen management

The duties of a kitchen manager are varied and comprise managing both the staff and the other nuts and bolts that make up a restaurant kitchen.

Here is a kitchen manager duties list made up of the main tasks a kitchen manager is expected to do:

  • Manage kitchen staff
  • Schedule kitchen staff shifts
  • Train kitchen staff
  • Put together a kitchen operations manual
  • Supervise food preparation and cooking
  • Coordinate food orders
  • Accept table reservations
  • Check food quality
  • Plan the menu
  • Price menu items
  • Determine portion sizes
  • Order kitchen equipment
  • Restock inventory
  • Ensure food safety practices are upheld
  • Keep detailed cost reports

10 Kitchen Management Skills You Need to Succeed

To learn how to manage a restaurant kitchen, you need these essential skills:

  1. Organizational skills
  2. Conflict management
  3. Managing a team in a fast-paced work environment
  4. Detail-oriented
  5. Creativity
  6. Level-headedness and the ability to be calm under pressure
  7. Leadership skills
  8. Solid work ethic
  9. Financial knowledge
  10. A passion for the cuisine you are managing and the restaurant industry in general

5 Kitchen Management Tools to Help You Do the Job Right

Kitchen operations management is no easy task. As such, you need all the help you can get from tools and software designed to make your life easier. Here are five kitchen management tools you might need:

1. POS system

A kitchen operations manager needs a powerful POS system to effectively track sales, inventory, and food orders.

Choose a POS system that will help you increase efficiency by tracking meal progress, processing multiple payment options, automating account reports, managing staff timesheets, and more.

2. Kitchen display system

Improve your kitchen operation techniques with a kitchen display system (KDS) that will allow you and your staff to view kitchen orders quickly and accurately on a digital monitor so that you start working on them immediately.

3. Intuitive restaurant menu builder

A crucial part of managing a restaurant kitchen is working closely with the restaurant manager to create the menu, from items to design, pricing, and promotions.

An intuitive menu builder can make all the difference, allowing you to create a menu from scratch in minutes, and make changes to it instantly and as often as you need.

Build an online ordering menu from scratch for free Start accepting orders online and organize your kitchen better

The free online menu builder from GloriaFood enables you to do all of that and more. It also comes with built-in online ordering so you can start selling your food online. Watch the tutorial below to learn how easy it is to make a menu for your restaurant website.

Consent needed

And if you’d like to use the same menu for table ordering too, all you need to do is use our free QR code menu generator. Here’s how:

Consent needed

With both your takeaway and dine-in menus synced up, any change you make to the menu will be automatically applied to all of them in real time, making your life much easier.

4. Online ordering system

Learning how to manage kitchen work is complicated enough without having to accept orders by phone. Not only does that take up too much of your time, but phone orders are also prone to human error.

Eliminate all of that by using an online ordering system that allows you to accept orders placed on your website with just a tap on your smartphone.

Say goodbye to phone orders and start accepting orders online Kitchen management made easier

Yes, you heard that right. With GloriaFood, your smartphone or tablet becomes your order-taking machine. All you need to do is install our free order taking app for iOS or Android.

Here’s how easy it is to add online ordering to your restaurant website in minutes:

Consent needed

And if you don’t have a restaurant website just yet, we can help with that too. Create one in under 10 minutes by following these steps:

Consent needed

You can also visit our demo website,, to see how your restaurant website could potentially look.

5. Table reservation system

If you’re wondering how to manage a restaurant kitchen effectively while also accepting table bookings, all you need is a table reservation system that can do all the work for you.

If you’re already using our online ordering system, you can simply add a Table Reservation button to your website for free.

Then, use the same order taking app to accept incoming table reservations and organize your kitchen more effectively as a result.

Free table reservation system for restaurants Better organize your kitchen by managing reservations effectively

How to Manage a Restaurant Kitchen: 10 Kitchen Management Tips to Remember

1. Set realistic goals and expectations

To learn how to be a good kitchen manager, you need to lead by example and formulate clear goals and expectations for yourself and the rest of the kitchen team.

Share your vision with the staff; it will motivate them to work together to achieve success. When setting your goals, use the SMART method. Your goals should always be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound.

2. Communicate effectively

Strongly correlated to the last point, communication is everything for any manager. Stay in constant touch with your employees and make it easy for them to reach you anytime they have a question or concern.

Hold regular meetings where everyone is encouraged to speak their mind, give clear instructions, and provide and ask for feedback. That’s the only way your team will grow and learn from their mistakes.

3. Create a staff manual

Everything is much clearer when you put it in writing. To ensure consistent work and service quality, create a manual featuring all the standard operating procedures and checklists that employees must be aware of.

For example, a kitchen opening and closing checklist will make it easier for employees to open and close the restaurant by following a detailed list. Update the manual according to changes you make, as well as new laws and regulations.

4. Invest in kitchen equipment

The right tools and equipment can make your life much easier so it’s essential to get the best ones for your needs.

When researching kitchen equipment, consider the space you have available, don’t skimp on quality, and train your staff before using any of the equipment to avoid workplace injuries.

Check out our guide for a detailed kitchen equipment checklist for your restaurant.

5. Encourage creativity

Sometimes, the most popular menu items or viral promotions come from a risk someone was willing to take to put their creativity to good use.

Take time for brainstorming sessions with your staff and encourage them to experiment on their own to come up with new recipes and ideas. Consider enhancing your marketing visuals by implementing photo edits with AI for a modern and eye-catching appeal. Also, keep an eye on food trends and try them out in your kitchen to attract more customers and help your restaurant stand out.

6. Focus on customer satisfaction

While you may not be interacting with customers quite that often, you can’t expect to learn how to manage a restaurant kitchen without prioritizing customer satisfaction. Everything you do back-of-house influences what customers think of the restaurant.

Work on providing a menu that will appeal to the target audience, surprise customers with specials and promotions, pay attention to dish presentation and monitor customer feedback to identify areas for improvement.

7. Cross-train employees

The restaurant industry is all about teamwork. As such, employees should know how to work together and help each other out.

Ensure all kitchen employees are familiar with the entire kitchen operations checklist so that they are always ready to do another employee’s job when necessary.

8. Invest in your staff and reward their success

Any good manager knows you should invest time and money in hiring, training, and growing your staff. Give them the information and tools necessary to get better, enjoy their work, and remain loyal.

An employee that aligns with the restaurant culture and is excited about it will help your restaurant grow. Whenever they hit a new milestone, show your appreciation and reward them with promotions and other perks to show them their progress is valued.

9. Keep calm under pressure

The job of a kitchen manager is often busy and stressful, and it’s inevitable you’ll run into challenges that will test your patience.

However, you should never lose your calm and focus, or get distracted by drama and conflicts. Have a conflict resolution plan at the ready and lead by example, showing your staff that there are constructive ways of settling disputes.

10. Listen and strive to be better

Finally, remember that your staff wants the same things you do: to do their job well so that the restaurant is successful. Listen whenever they raise an issue because you’ll likely get precious information that will help your business grow.

While criticism might hurt, as long as it’s expressed respectfully, it will ultimately help you get better at your job. Don’t assume you already know everything there is to know about how to manage a restaurant kitchen. Be open and willing to learn.

In Closing

Being the go-to person your employees lean on for advice and support is every kitchen manager’s dream. Implement the tips and advice above into your management style to learn how to manage a restaurant kitchen that your staff will be proud to be a part of.

photo of GloriaFood blog writer Laura-Andreea Voicu
Laura-Andreea Voicu

Laura-Andreea Voicu is an experienced content writer with a knack for marketing and SEO. She creates guides and resources designed to help restaurants grow their presence online and boost sales.

She has been featured on the Oracle Food and Beverage Blog and wrote for Search Engine Journal, Clutch, Sender, Venngage, Quickbooks, and many more.

Find me on LinkedIn.