New Manager

Hello everyone,

we are thinking about promoting our Head Waitress/Cashier to Manager. She has been with us about a year and has been really good. I am wanting to give her some Bonus Incentives along with her pay increase and need some ideas. We are a small pizzerria in a really small town so the pay/bonuses can’t be a lot, but I want her to have them in the back of her mind. She will have the authority to give ‘small’ discounts on kitchen mistakes, the authority to send people home if we are ‘dead’, and write employees up if needed. She will still work the front but will help out in the kitchen as needed. She will work approx 30 hours a week, mainly lunch shifts with about 2 night shifts.

That all be more info than needed, but I really need some ideas on incentives.

Thanks in advance,


Does your staff not have the authority to discount mistakes now?..If so, I think this is the wrong approach…Front end staff should be empowered to solve problems on the spot…I think that makes for a better guest experience…


Every staff member has the authority to have something remade, but only myself or the other owner have the authority to give out discounts. Most of the time either her, myself, or the other owner is there. I think (and I may be wrong) the customer likes knowing that the manager is taking care of the problem. I want the staff to defer to her if she is there.

Like I’ve stated before, we have only been in business a year and a half and are very much ‘learning on the fly’. We take every piece of advice we can get and thats why I love this forum!!

Thanks again.

First congrats on making past the first year. Now the manager. If you have one of those really good employees that plans on sticking around for a while and you trust her…keep her happy. I know this is harder in a small town but you count on the locals and word of mouth more than anything and if she is one of them also…this works in your benefit. I would offer her a decent wage that she can make enough to survive in your area. Also, can she be at a true 40 hour week? You said she is only about 30 if I remember right. Can you offer any insurance benefits? Paid vacation or sick days go a long way also. Give her more responsibility. This could really pay off for you in the long run. What about inventory ordering? Learn how to schedule the other employees and also make her understand that she will need to step up when needed. Others call in sick or you are just slammed…can she come in and help cover. I am not sure of your situation or pay for the area…but something that worked good for me, and this was not a restaurant setting, but it worked…was that even though my employees were only working 32-36 hours a week…I gave them a full 40 hour pay. Kind of putting them on salary but not quite. Gave them piece of mind and although it was our slow time of the year…they had a constant in their income. That security for an employee can go a long way. Hope this gives a couple of ideas for you and good luck.

One other thing…I would give her the ability to give refunds and discounts if needed. If she is a manger and you or the other owner are not around…it looks bad if she the “manager” cannot handle a simple refund or discount if needed to make a customer happy. Also, how often does money go back anyway? I would also make sure you have a good employee handbook and a managers handbook that all employees have read and acknowledged and that when you give her this promotion…that you have an employee meeting informing them all of this new position and the authority that she now has. Sometimes other employees will have difficulty accepting this new manager as someone with authority over them,.

A HUGE “dittos” for what Michael said on surviving your first year…we marked “year one” on March 1st so I know your story!

We’re also a small town, so I’m familiar with your situation in that regard as well most likely. If you feel this employee is one you’d like to hold on to, one that you feel you can trust if you’re out of the store…then yes, make her/him happy to stick around. I’d suggest that if you intend to call it a management position then make sure it has management duties, maybe some scheduling, a bit of inventory or ordering etc. ( I think that’s what Michael is suggesting as well) By all means I’d urge you to make it well known with your entire staff that you will support “whatever” solution they feel is necessary to handle a complaint or issue. (With you detailing beforehand what “whatever” might mean…) but if you empower them, please NEVER give them grief about a decision they’ve made, you’ll soon find everyone back into the “no decisionmaker” role". We can’t afford to pay our team super-wage, but we have a 99.9% happy staff b/c we give them responsibilities, hold them accountable, and give them some “ownership” in what they do.

And super-dittos on the Handbook. If you don’t have one…get one. Folks always desire to know what the rules are, what’s expected, and where the chips fall.

Congratulations on your first year+!!

Well to answer your question first…The most controllable costs are food and labor. So you want to make the incentives (bonus) based on those. That way there is a direct to her behavior she can control.

I would include that all her regular duties must also be met. We do a labor bonus and if they hit their labor percent two weeks in a row they get a $50 bonus. After 17 years we recently had to deny the bonus to two of the managers because their basic duties were lacking. That was tough. But I included the information of why and tried to motivate them into getting back to the basics. Woke em up this past week they got the hint.

Something else to consider is finding out what motivates her. We have written memo/ meetings from time to time where I will ask all kinds of questions about controlling food and labor but include handling employee issues and have asked the question what motivates you. Surprisingly to some money is not the motivator. (There has been time off, vacation, position name)

Being new I strongly urge you from the get go have regular written meetings she signs. So everyone is clear on what she will be doing. For the first few weeks while she is training I would have her handle all the issues as if you weren’t there. I would have her check out employees, reprimand a few and take care of problems. The other employees will see you are supportive of her authority and you can discuss how she is doing(not in front of the other employees)

Good luck to ya very exciting. :mrgreen:

Congrats on the first year! We just passed ours in February. I have to say one of the biggest mistakes I made was promoting my great employees above their level of expertise. A great Hostess/Cook/Bartender does not necessarily make a great manager AND you risk being out your great employee. I promoted my best cook to manager and found he totally lacked the ability to manage. I had to demote him and almost risked losing the best cook we had because of it.

I think the moral is to not promote a great employee to management just because it’s the “next logical step”. Be sure they are really cut out for the new and different tasks you’ll be putting them up to. If that hostess is really able to command the respect of your employees and to run shifts, great. But be sure of it first!

Hope my mistakes help!


What Kris said!

The editor of our [i]OnPoint [/i]restaurant technology blog took note of this thread a few weeks ago. He posted an article today that distills some of your advice on hiring a new manager and adds tips on how to use tools in your POS to help identify and train star employees for management roles, and to evaluate and coach a new manager. Thought you might find it helpful.