How to Retain Restaurant Managers Who Love Working in Your Company

I have new clients in the startup phase complaining that not all their new managers are getting the job done.

I also have longtime clients worried their best people may leave for that hot new brand.

The best strategy for both these clients is the same: Keep the good people you already have.

There is nothing more valuable than keeping your managers loyal and secure in their sincere belief that they have a home where they want to work for the rest of their life.

The robot that delivers food to the table, the delivery drone, and chatGPT may be here, but the General Manager robot you excitedly dream about every night like a child on the night before Christmas? Not searchable on Amazon.

Matthew’s Management Retention Checklist

The shortage of managers in our industry makes the best operators focus more on the great people they already have – the ones who operators hope can stay forever.

To make managers feel that way, do these:

  1. Give them a little more than you think they can handle – they will feel professional growth.
  2. Express confidence in them – they will feel valued and appreciated.
  3. Show them all the numbers – they will feel trusted and ready to make an impact.
  4. Explain how to live, teach, and measure your culture every day on every shift – they will have the power to keep your restaurants special.
  5. Communicate an exciting vision of the company’s future – they will see an exciting and compelling upside.
  6. Have an enthusiastic dialogue about the uniqueness and specialness of your concept – they will feel proud and secure.
  7. Ask them their opinion on major decisions – they will feel important and heard.
  8. Pay them a little over market; then, give them an attainable bonus plan based on results (and costs you nothing) – they will feel both appreciated and motivated.
  9. Make sure they take their vacations and, when they do, pay for something extra, whether a meal, a hotel night, or an airplane ticket – they will feel prized and tell their friends about their cool boss.
  10. Let them take advantage of flexible scheduling (just like your hourlies now do) for ball games, family events, or even an occasional weekend off – they will stay charged up.

Never miss a chance to give them credit for success, and you will all achieve more of it.

You still expect results, measure, and identify where people don’t perform up to standard, but that becomes a whole lot easier when you create all that vibing.

Over to you. Which items on the checklist scream in your face for attention?


What’s the point of owning a successful restaurant business if you don’t have freedom?

Download Matthew Mabel's Freedom and Flexibility Guide for Restaurateurs to learn how to...

  • Step away for extended periods of time
  • Contribute to your community in a unique way
  • Spend more time with friends and family
  • Travel for weeks at a time
  • Split your residence at a vacation home for several months a year


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