Why Do Restaurant Managers Quit? (7 Surprising Answers)

If you have ever worked in a restaurant, you know how big the employee turnover is. It’s ridiculous actually how big it is; however, as you might know, there are usually good reasons behind people leaving so quickly.

This article will teach you everythign about why restaurant managers quit, in addition to other knowledge about restaurant employees, the restaurant industry, and the stress levels it includes. But first, who do restaurant managers quit?

Many restaurant managers quit because the salary isn’t according to their workload. In addition, restaurant managers encounter a lot of stress, and they might not make changes to the operation on their own. Also, many restaurants aren’t doing well; therefore, it is exhausting to work in such a place.

As we can see, there are many reasons why restaurant managers leave their jobs. If you want to learn what exactly each of the reasons really means and what does happen behind the scenes, then I’ll suggest that you stick with me when I go each reason through more in-depth.

1. Too much work to handle

It’s no secret that in most restaurants, the workloads are barely bearable. It’s not uncommon that a restaurant isn’t doing good moneywise; therefore, they might work understaffed with the need to save money at every turn, which is energy consuming to calculate every single grain.

Ultimately the work that needs to be done is the manager’s responsibility, and if something goes wrong, they are to blame. It’s hard being a manager when you need to keep up with the suggestions and commands that come from the manager’s boss and constantly check on the staff and update them in various ways that can be altered during the day.

However, in most cases, too much work is either the result of 2 things if we do not take understaffing and low money into account. The first reason a restaurant manager could have too much work on their plate is bad scheduling, organization, and focus on the wrong things. This is a common cause because if these things aren’t in order, it will only generate confusion and chaos. This can be fixed by following the Pareto principle but more on that below.

Another reason for too much work at a restaurant can be the illusion or inventing too much work. There is no need to make up things to do that aren’t actually important. The only thing that should matter is how effective the tasks are. Also, the illusion of too much work can be there because if certain tasks have been given a vague and long time to complete, it becomes that big thing even when, in reality, it isn’t. This can be fixed with Parkinson’s law. I’ll explain it below.

Pareto principle

The Pareto principle also called the 80/20 rule, is when 20% of the tasks produce 80% of the results. This can be found nearly anywhere in life, especially on the workload of a restaurant manager. The best thing to do is to write down all the tasks, see where and how much it affects, and determine how much time and energy you are investing in it. You would be surprised what will change when this principle is taken to action.

Parkinson’s law

Parkinson’s law, on the other hand, is when something takes way too much time, even if it doesn’t require that. For example, if a restaurant manager has to hire a new employee, the task can get long when reading every detail of the applicant and overthinking about it. This can be fixed by checking out the essentials from the application and inviting them to a well-organized, efficient, and effective interview where the fluff is cut out.

2. Underpaid Salary

Probably the most common reason for the huge turnover of restaurant managers is the salary. Many managers feel that the paycheck doesn’t compensate for the workload, stress, and other things about their job, and I couldn’t agree more. The difference between a regular restaurant employee, such as a chef’s or waiter’s workload and responsibilities, is astronomical, yet restaurant managers don’t make THAT much more money.

There are many responsibilities that restaurant managers need to take care of, such as keeping an eye for the employees, ordering products, answering complaints, taking orders from above even when they don’t make sense, scheduling shifts, recording payroll data, and much more. In addition to all of this, the restaurant’s success is on the manager, which is really stressful in most cases, given the nature of the restaurant industry.

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3. Suffering from stress

As briefly hinted above, being a restaurant manager can be extremely stressful. In fact, a study made by Cnn Money resulted that 91.9% of restaurant managers said that their job is stressful. Try to get numbers like that from any other field, it wouldn’t be easy.

Restaurant managers need to ensure the food quality and restaurant profitability at all times because everything will affect the restaurant’s branding, and food waste will result in money loss. It’s not good for the environment and world hunger either.

We can’t forget about all the different inspectors that could bring the restaurant down in a matter of hours. This is why restaurant managers need to make sure that the cleaning schedule and hygiene are up to the code at all times.

Add everything that for the unusually long work hours that restaurant managers often are forced to do, it is no wonder that they don’t want to work as one for a long time because that will affect for both mental and physical states which will follow you around in your personal life as well.

4. Restaurant isn’t doing good

Now, it isn’t a secret that most restaurants aren’t doing well in any category. In fact, the statistics show that 60% of new restaurants don’t survive into their second year, and 80% of restaurants will be out of business in less than 5 years. That doesn’t sound very good. In addition to that, IBISWorld says that 67% of the restaurant’s in the U.S spend all they earn straight on wages and purchasing expenses, and when the average profit margin is 6.2%, failure isn’t far away.

There are many reasons why the above statistics are a reality, for example, the fierce competition that is the restaurant industry, high ingredient costs and low pricing on the menu, and the large employee numbers that a restaurant need to have. The trickiest part of all the reasons is probably the competition, I’ll tell you why.

When there are 10 or 50 restaurants in the same area as you, everyone is competing with each other and trying to stand out. One of the most common ways is to lower prices for the customers, which will force all the other restaurants to play along. This is because nobody would come to a restaurant with $10 higher prices from the same-quality dish, which makes the profit margins as low as they are.

All of this affect’s poorly to the restaurant manager’s job experience because if you need to skimp and calculate everything when already running with fumes, it is a hard road to travel.

Read also: 21 Ways to Save Money In Restaurants

5. Employees doesn’t perform well

Another reason why restaurant managers quit is found when we look at the employees. When the employees don’t perform well, may the reason be anything, it is extremely tough and exhausting for the manager to try and improve the business when the crucial parts of the restaurant’s core aren’t doing good.

There are many reasons why the employees aren’t as productive and helpful as the manager would hope and need, but the most common one is the lack of motivation. There are many reasons why an employee could suffer from a lack of motivation, affecting customer service, the food’s quality, and the restaurant’s whole branding.

As a manager, you could try various things to improve the staff’s motivation. For example, showing appreciation, rewarding with incentives or weekends off, arranging personal and common goals, and offering bonuses for reaching the goals will usually turn up the motivation within the employees.

You might benefit from: 17 Proven Ways to Motivate Restaurant Employees

Another reason why the employees can be performing poorly is the lack of proper training or lack of skills needed to function well in the kitchen. For example, many self-taught chefs will encounter a lack of skills when they begin to work as a chef; therefore, as a restaurant manager, you should focus on chefs that have been into culinary school or ones that can really show that they have real self-taught skills fit for a commercial environment.

The last common reason for the lack of staff’s performance is if the restaurants don’t provide proper kitchen equipment, waiters or bartenders products, or clear instructions on doing things. This can be the fault of a manager; however, in most cases, the fault falls into the manager’s supervisors that force the restaurant to work with less than they would need to, giving the manager even more stress than before.

6. Bad team spirit

The most unfortunate reason for a manager’s quitting and a sad reason, in general, is bad team spirit. If someone is an evil bird bringing down the rest of the staff, that is really problematic, but in many cases, if it isn’t obvious, there is not much anybody can do.

Also, when the social relationships within the staff aren’t good, it is just misery to come to work every day, which will bring down the motivation down drastically.

If this is the case, the load usually falls to the restaurant manager’s neck, and the stress and bad vibes will drain all the energy, resulting in big and famous turnover rates within restaurant managers.

7. Their hands are tied

Usually, the manager’s supervisors or owners command something that isn’t for the restaurant’s best interest by a long shot. Many restaurant managers have decades of experience. If their supervisors or owners say that you can’t do this or you should do that when they haven’t been a restaurant worker or a manager before, it can often lead to poor outcomes for the manager, employees, and profits.

As a restaurant manager, it’s important to try and explain simply but in-depth why certain alterations and steps should be made for the benefit of whatever the case would be at that time. Usually, when you have explained the situation properly, the manager’s bosses will take advice positively.

What other jobs can restaurant managers do

After a restaurant manager is finished with the job and want’s to move on, the good thing is that when being a manager, you have acquired a valuable skill set; therefore, the options are nice. Below I have listed some great jobs for a former restaurant manager.

  • Purchasing manager
  • Team manager
  • Human Resources department
  • Social media coordinator
  • Sales manager
  • Operations director

The above ones are just a fraction of what is out there in reality, and for each of the above jobs, there are countless different positions out there. Also, restaurant managers can make a career change like anybody else if that’s the desire.

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Is being a restaurant manager stressful

In general, the job of a restaurant manager is stressful. In fact, a survey said 91.9% of restaurant managers said that their job is stressful, which is a really big percentile of managers.

Think about everything that is included in the job of a restaurant manager and restaurants in general. All of that is the manager’s responsibility, so it’s no wonder that nearly everyone said that the job includes stress.

Restaurant manager salary

According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, restaurant managers earn $29,33 hourly, and $61,000 annually, on average. The annual difference between the least 10% of earners and the top 10% of earners is $60,890, which is astronomical.

Below you can see how much restaurant managers earn annually on average, per percent.

Hourly Wage$16.29$20.95$27.21$35.25$45.56
Annual Wage$33,880$43,580$56,590$73,330$94,770

How do I quit my job at a restaurant

The first step is to check your contract and see what the terms of employment are. Usually, there is a probation time while you can quit whenever you want. However, if you aren’t on probation time anymore, then the usual resignation needs to do at least 2 weeks in advance.

If you are uncertain of things, you should bring the matter to your manager’s attention, be honest, and work things out. If you don’t want to be at a job, most managers don’t pressure you to do so. Also, it’s important to ask for an employment certificate and a recommendation letter.


As we can see, there are many reasons why so many restaurant managers quit. It all comes down to the nature of the workload and when in many cases, things, work, and the operation isn’t just working as they should. In addition to that, the compensation from everythign isn’t enough for most people; therefore they quit.

I hope that this article gave you value, new knowledge, a better understanding of the restaurant business, and a restaurant manager’s respectable work.

Omar Abdalla

I’m the owner of JRS. While I love writing about food, I also enjoy peaceful and relaxed cookouts at home.

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