Being a restaurant manager is a high-stress job with long hours and lots of responsibility. If you feel like you hate being a restaurant manager, you’re not alone. Many managers experience burnout and frustration with their roles.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Common reasons restaurant managers hate their jobs include dealing with difficult customers, micromanaging employees, working long hours for low pay, and having limited work-life balance.

To improve your situation, set boundaries, delegate tasks, reconsider your career path, or look for a manager role at a different restaurant.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the top reasons restaurant managers dislike their jobs. We’ll also provide tips to make the role more enjoyable and suggestions for alternative career paths if you decide managing a restaurant is not for you.

Dealing with Rude Customers

Working in the restaurant industry can be a fulfilling and rewarding experience, but it also comes with its fair share of challenges. One of the most difficult aspects of the job is dealing with rude customers.

Unfortunately, encountering abusive behavior from customers is all too common in this line of work.

Abusive Customers Are Common in the Restaurant Industry

It’s no secret that the restaurant industry can attract a wide range of customers, including those who may be rude or disrespectful. This can be due to a variety of factors, such as stress, frustration, or simply a bad day.

Unfortunately, some individuals may take out their frustrations on restaurant staff, including managers.

According to a survey conducted by National Restaurant Association, 60% of restaurant employees reported experiencing verbal abuse from customers. This statistic highlights the prevalence of abusive behavior in the industry.

Managers Bear the Brunt of Customer Complaints

As a restaurant manager, you often find yourself on the front lines when it comes to dealing with customer complaints. This can be particularly challenging when faced with rude or hostile individuals. Managers are expected to remain calm and professional, even in the face of difficult customers.

Unfortunately, managers often bear the brunt of customer complaints, as they are seen as the face of the establishment. This can be emotionally draining and take a toll on one’s overall job satisfaction.

However, it’s important to remember that it’s not a reflection of your capabilities as a manager, but rather a part of the job.

Tips for Managing Difficult Customers

While dealing with rude customers can be challenging, there are strategies you can employ to effectively manage these situations:

  • Remain calm and composed: It’s essential to maintain your composure and not let the customer’s behavior affect your own emotions. Take a deep breath, listen attentively, and respond in a professional manner.
  • Show empathy: Try to understand the customer’s perspective and validate their feelings, even if you don’t agree with them. Showing empathy can help diffuse tense situations and potentially turn a negative experience into a positive one.
  • Offer solutions: Instead of engaging in an argument, focus on finding a solution that satisfies both the customer and the establishment. This could involve offering a discount, a replacement meal, or any other resolution that addresses their concerns.
  • Seek support from your team: Don’t hesitate to reach out to your colleagues and ask for their assistance when dealing with particularly difficult customers. Having a supportive team can make a significant difference in managing these situations.
  • Document incidents: In case the situation escalates, it’s important to document any incidents of abusive behavior. This can be helpful if further action needs to be taken, such as banning a customer from the establishment.

Remember, dealing with rude customers is an unfortunate reality in the restaurant industry. By implementing these strategies and maintaining a positive mindset, you can effectively manage difficult situations and maintain your sanity as a restaurant manager.

Micromanaging Employees

Managers Have Trouble Letting Go of Tasks

One of the main reasons why restaurant managers tend to micromanage their employees is because they have trouble letting go of tasks. As a manager, you may feel that you need to be involved in every aspect of the restaurant’s operations in order to ensure everything is done correctly.

However, constantly hovering over your employees and scrutinizing their every move can lead to a lack of trust and autonomy among your staff. It’s important to remember that you hired your employees because you believed in their abilities, so give them the chance to excel.

According to a study conducted by the Harvard Business Review, micromanagement can actually hinder employee performance and creativity. It found that employees who felt micromanaged were less likely to take risks or come up with innovative ideas, as they were constantly seeking approval and fearing criticism.

By micromanaging your employees, you are stifling their potential and limiting their growth within the organization.

Micromanaging Damages Morale and Causes High Turnover

Micromanaging can have a detrimental effect on employee morale. Constantly being watched and criticized can make employees feel demoralized and undervalued. This can lead to a decrease in productivity and an increase in absenteeism and turnover rates.

Employees who feel micromanaged may start looking for other job opportunities where they have more freedom and trust from their superiors.

A survey conducted by Gallup found that employees who felt micromanaged were 28% more likely to consider leaving their job. High turnover rates can be costly for restaurants, as they not only have to invest time and money in hiring and training new employees but also face a loss of institutional knowledge and a potential decrease in customer satisfaction.

How to Avoid Micromanaging Your Staff

If you find yourself falling into the micromanagement trap, there are steps you can take to avoid it. First and foremost, trust your employees. Delegate tasks and give them the freedom to complete them in their own way. Remember that mistakes happen, and they are a part of the learning process.

Communicate clear expectations and provide guidance when needed, but allow your employees to take ownership of their work. Encourage open communication and provide constructive feedback rather than constantly criticizing.

By fostering a culture of trust, autonomy, and open communication, you can create a positive work environment that encourages employee growth and productivity.

For more information on effective management techniques, you can visit, the Society for Human Resource Management’s website, which provides valuable resources for managers looking to improve their leadership skills.

Long Hours for Low Pay

Being a restaurant manager can be a challenging and demanding job, and one of the biggest complaints among managers is the long hours they have to work for relatively low pay. Managers in the restaurant industry often find themselves working 50-60 hours per week, including weekends and holidays.

This can be exhausting and take a toll on their work-life balance.

Expect to Work 50-60 Hours as a Restaurant Manager

Working long hours is a common expectation for restaurant managers. They are responsible for overseeing the daily operations of the restaurant, which often means working from early morning until late at night.

They need to be on hand to handle any issues that arise, whether it’s dealing with personnel matters, customer complaints, or unexpected emergencies. The nature of the industry requires managers to be available at all times to ensure the smooth running of the establishment.

Low Salaries Despite High Levels of Responsibility

Despite the high levels of responsibility that come with being a restaurant manager, the pay can often be disappointingly low. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for food service managers in 2020 was $55,320.

This is less than the median wage for all occupations, which was $41,950. Considering the long hours and the demanding nature of the job, it’s understandable why some restaurant managers feel frustrated with their compensation.

Asking for a Raise or Finding a Higher Paying Manager Job

If you’re a restaurant manager who feels underpaid, there are a few options you can consider. Firstly, you can have a conversation with your employer and discuss the possibility of a raise. Present them with evidence of your contributions to the restaurant’s success and highlight the value you bring to the team.

Alternatively, you may decide to look for a higher-paying manager job in a different establishment. There are plenty of opportunities in the restaurant industry, and with the right skills and experience, you may be able to find a position with better pay and benefits.

Remember, being a restaurant manager is not an easy job, but it doesn’t mean you have to settle for long hours and low pay. Explore your options, advocate for yourself, and take steps towards finding a better work-life balance and financial security.

Lack of Work-Life Balance

One of the biggest challenges faced by restaurant managers is maintaining a healthy work-life balance. The demanding nature of the job often requires managers to be constantly available, which can make it difficult to find time for personal activities and relationships.

Managers Are Always On Call

Restaurant managers are essentially always on call, even during their days off. They are responsible for overseeing the operations of the restaurant and handling any issues that may arise, such as staffing problems, customer complaints, or emergencies.

This constant availability can be mentally and emotionally exhausting, leaving little time for relaxation or personal pursuits.

According to a survey conducted by the National Restaurant Association, 72% of restaurant managers reported that they are regularly contacted by employees or upper management outside of their scheduled work hours.

Hard to Take Time Off with Limited Staff

Another factor that contributes to the lack of work-life balance for restaurant managers is the challenge of taking time off. Due to the fast-paced nature of the industry, restaurants often operate with limited staff, making it difficult for managers to find reliable replacements when they need to take a break.

A study conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that 46% of restaurant managers reported difficulty in taking time off due to staffing constraints.

Setting Boundaries and Taking Care of Yourself

While the demands of being a restaurant manager can be overwhelming, it is crucial to set boundaries and prioritize self-care. Establishing clear expectations with employees and upper management regarding availability outside of work hours can help create a healthier work-life balance.

Additionally, finding ways to prioritize self-care, such as scheduling regular time for exercise, hobbies, or spending time with loved ones, can help mitigate the stress and burnout often associated with the role of a restaurant manager.

According to a study published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, employees who prioritize self-care and establish work-life boundaries experience lower levels of stress and higher job satisfaction.

Remember, it is important to take care of yourself and find a balance between work and personal life. By setting boundaries, prioritizing self-care, and finding support from colleagues and loved ones, restaurant managers can improve their work-life balance and overall well-being.

Considering a Career Change

If you find yourself saying “I hate being a restaurant manager,” it may be time to consider a career change. Before making any decisions, it’s important to take a step back and evaluate whether restaurant management is truly the right fit for you.

Consider your strengths, interests, and long-term goals to determine if this career path aligns with your aspirations.

Deciding If Restaurant Management Is Right for You

Restaurant management can be a challenging and demanding profession. It requires strong leadership skills, the ability to handle high-pressure situations, and a passion for the hospitality industry. Take a moment to reflect on your experiences in the role. Are you truly passionate about the work?

Do you enjoy the day-to-day responsibilities, such as managing staff, handling customer complaints, and overseeing operations? If you find yourself dreading these tasks and feeling unfulfilled, it may be a sign that restaurant management is not the right fit for you.

Alternative Jobs in the Hospitality Industry

If you’re considering a career change but still want to stay within the hospitality industry, there are plenty of alternative jobs to explore. One option is to transition into a different role within the restaurant industry itself.

For example, you could pursue a career as a chef, sommelier, or food and beverage director. These positions still allow you to utilize your knowledge and passion for the culinary arts while providing a fresh start and new challenges.

Another option is to expand your horizons and consider jobs in related fields such as event planning, hotel management, or catering. These roles often require similar skills to restaurant management, such as customer service, organization, and leadership.

By exploring these alternative career paths, you can find new opportunities that align with your interests and provide a renewed sense of fulfillment.

Pivoting to a New Industry Entirely

If you’ve determined that restaurant management is not the right fit for you and you’re open to exploring new industries, the possibilities are endless. Take the time to assess your skills, passions, and interests outside of the hospitality industry.

Research different industries and job roles that align with your strengths and goals.

Consider seeking guidance from career counselors or attending networking events to gain insights into different industries. Embrace the opportunity to learn new skills and adapt to a new environment. Remember, a career change can be a chance for personal growth and a fresh start.

Ultimately, the decision to leave a career in restaurant management is a personal one. It’s important to evaluate your own happiness and fulfillment in your current role. By considering your strengths, exploring alternative jobs within the hospitality industry, or pivoting to a new industry entirely, you can make an informed decision about your future career path.


Being a restaurant manager can be a rewarding but difficult career path. The long hours, demanding customers, and work overload lead many managers to feel burnt out and unsatisfied.

Before giving up completely, try setting boundaries with your time, delegating tasks, and implementing self-care practices. However, it may be time to re-evaluate whether restaurant management aligns with your skills and lifestyle.

With your management experience, you can transfer your skills to new roles in hospitality or other industries. Don’t be afraid to be honest with yourself about whether this job makes you happy. Your career should energize you, not drain you.

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