5 Essential Shift Manager Duties

What is a shift manager?

The shift manager is responsible for overseeing restaurant operations in the absence of the general manager or assistant manager.

By working to ensure customers leave feeling satisfied, the shift manager plays a key role in running a successful eating establishment.

It is a position ideally for someone who is highly organized with strong leadership qualities and excellent communication skills.

In this post, I’ll be outlining the 5 most important duties a shift manager has in a restaurant.

1. Managing staff

A huge part of being shift manager is delegating daily tasks to restaurant staff such as:

  • Opening and closing
  • Preparing food
  • Stocking supplies
  • Serving customers
  • Cleaning the restaurant
  • Resetting tables

The shift manager supervises restaurant staff as they perform these tasks; helping them to solve on-the-job challenges while also providing ongoing training.

In addition to supervising restaurant staff, the shift manager is often responsible for training new staff and leading new hire orientation.

The shift manager can also be tasked with terminating an employee that isn’t performing to the required standard.

However, being shift manager is more than just making sure employees are doing what they’re supposed to. The shift manager must also be able to recognize and handle disgruntled (angry/dissatisfied) employees.

A disgruntled employee is usually an unproductive employee. The shift manager must be able to motivate such an employee so customer service isn’t affected.

The shift manager should also be skilled in conflict resolution to handle friction between staff members that could have an impact on service.

Other common duties of shift manager are creating the weekly employee schedule and arranging to have shifts covered when a worker can’t make it to their assigned shift.

2. Maximizing customer satisfaction

The shift manager plays a key role in ensuring a high-quality customer experience.

They are involved in the entire customer experience:

  1. Welcoming and serving customers
  2. Engaging with customers to make sure they’re satisfied
  3. Addressing any queries or complaints they have
  4. Making sure customers leave with an excellent impression

The shift manager must be calm and patient to make sure a customer complaint doesn’t flare up into an argument and is handled professionally.

The shift manager is also responsible for making sure staff deliver high-quality service through ongoing coaching and training new staff.

If service isn’t at an adequate level it’s the shift manager that has to step in and figure out the source of the problem.

Is service slow because of a backup down the chain-of-command? Does the delayed service have to do with the cooks or servers?

The shift manager needs to ask themselves these questions so customer service can be maintained at a high level.

This is also why a shift manager should have a good knowledge of restaurant operations and a lot of experience in the restaurant environment.

This experience allows the shift manager to quickly figure out where the service line has broken down so they can quickly rectify the problem and get customer service back to an adequate level.

3. Maintaining operations


Another important duty of shift manager is maintaining a fully-stocked inventory so there are no unforeseen disruptions in service.

The shift manager is usually tasked with:

  • Knowing the existing level of food supplies
  • Ordering new supplies when needed
  • Making sure supplies are kept in sanitary conditions

Keeping food supplies in optimal conditions is absolutely vital as not doing so can result in a complaint that closes down a restaurant.

Cash management:

The shift manager can be responsible for cash management tasks such as:

  • Tracking daily costs and revenues
  • Counting out registers at regular intervals
  • Balancing the cash register at the end of the shift
  • Cash handling and credit card processing
  • Monitoring the budget and supervising spending

In some cases, the shift manager might also be required to make bank deposits on behalf of the restaurant.

Other responsibilities may include keeping the inflow of currency safe and securing the vault while on duty.

4. Complying with health and safety codes

The shift manager is responsible for ensuring all areas of the restaurant are clean, tidy and well-maintained.

Whether it be assigning someone to clean up a spill or hiring pest control, the shift manager needs to be on top of it.

Part of their role is making sure the restaurant is compliant with industry health and safety codes such as:

  • Keeping exists clear
  • Observing proper food storage techniques

The shift manager should be well versed in all these codes so they can make sure they’re strictly adhered to.

In cases where restaurants fail to meet these guidelines, they can be shut down until the problem is resolved, fined large amounts of money or in many cases, closed down.

Additionally, to establish a culture of a excellent customer service, it is imperative the shift manager enforces a certain standard of hygiene and cleanliness in the restaurant.

5. Reporting to upper management

The shift manager acts as the middleman between staff and upper management.

They are upper management’s eyes and ears on the restaurant floor and must enforce company policies on their behalf.

The shift manager is also responsible for reporting back to upper management on such things as:

  • Losses
  • Maintenance and training needs
  • Employee behavioural issues
  • Customer complaints
  • Employee attendance
  • Employee productivity

In some cases, shift managers can work together with upper management to develop strategies to reduce expenses and maximize revenue.

Final words

With all this responsibility, the shift manager is central to the successful operation of a restaurant.

In addition to all the requirements listed above, the shift manager should ideally be someone upper management can trust to act in their best interests.

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