The number and variety of positions in a restaurant varies based on the size and style of the restaurant, such as whether it specializes in fast food, casual or fine dining. If the restaurant serves alcoholic beverages, additional staff positions are often necessary to fill drink orders.
A general manager is responsible for overseeing the general operations of the restaurant. He and his assistant manager – if he has one – hire staff to serve in the front of house (FOH) and to cook in the back of house (BOH). The management team carefully monitors the profit and loss statements of the restaurant and works closely with the executive chef to provide a cost-effective menu for patrons. The manager and assistant manager often have college degrees and experience in the food service industry. Managers need good communication skills and leadership qualities to ensure the restaurant operates efficiently.
Back of House
The executive chef is responsible for coordinating the menu and monitoring food costs. His culinary experience enables him to create new dishes to add to the menu. The chef de cuisine assists the head chef with day-to-day kitchen operations. He supervises the prep and line cooks, who prepare the food and cook it. The sous chef is responsible for training new cooks and BOH staff while the pastry chef handles the dessert offerings. The dishwasher has the task of keeping the dishes, pots and pans clean. He often has the responsibility of keeping the kitchen clean and the dishwashing equipment operational.
Front of House
The maitre d’ works closely with all the staff members to ensure good communication between the wait staff and the kitchen. In addition to overseeing the general operation of the dining room, the maitre d’ ensures that patrons have a good dining experience. The maitre d’ is often responsible for managing the restaurant’s reservation system. Some restaurants use a host or hostess in lieu of a maitre d’. The expediter or expo fills orders and checks to make sure they are correct in the kitchen, then hands off the orders to the food runner who transports the food to the dining room. The servers then present the food to the diners. When diners finish their meals, bussers clear the tables and take the dishes to the kitchen for the dishwasher to clean.
In restaurants with a bar, a bartender mixes and prepares drinks. A sommelier recommends wines to diners based on their food selections. Both the bartender and sommelier need to be familiar with the products they sell, and both may be responsible for maintaining the restaurant’s alcohol inventory. The assistant manager often oversees this part of the operation.
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