I'm an owner. How do I recruit a manager as committed as I am?

Restaurant manager
A multi-part strategy is necessary to find a top-notch restaurant manager, Advice Guy notes. | Photo: Shutterstock


Dear Advice Guy,

I opened a restaurant with other partners and have been working every night since we opened on top of my day job. The plan is to replace myself with a maître d/manager who can take over, at least most nights. But anyone I’ve interviewed wouldn’t bring the same energy and commitment to the position that I do. How do I get a manager who will care as much as I do?

– - Owner


One possibility is that no employee will put as much passion and energy into their role as you do as an owner. Every dollar of revenue captured—and every dollar misspent; every happy guest or disappointed guest affects you the way it wouldn’t impact most.

That said, we all know great managers who treat the operation as if it is their own.  There are some things you can do to cultivate these leaders. And you can get what you pay for.

Tonya Breslow, chief talent spotter with Mis en Place, recommends a multi-part strategy “for attracting candidates who are willing to invest in your business resulting in boosted commitment and retention. Among them:

  • Quarterly bonus plan (with goal metrics): Align rewards with your company's performance to stay on target and improve performance.
  • Profit sharing: Helps attract top talent and provides a sense of ownership (care for business).
  • Communicate, exchange feedback and set expectations: Helps candidates to better understand your company's goals and work toward them more effectively. 
  • Define your company’s goals and vision: Provides candidates motivation to work toward plans and lays out clear leadership values.
  • Describe what working for your company is like: Ensures your commitment, mission and values are aligned.
  • Review the intended job scope: Gives potential candidates clarity on what the employer expects.
  • Make fast hiring decisions: Secure top talent before your competitors do.


One key piece of advice is to look for opportunities to develop from within rather than only focusing on recruiting. In my experience, employees who have come up through the ranks to grow into a leadership position can be your most effective and committed managers. They know the operation intimately and owe their career to it.

More on manager recruiting here.