By Amanda Morrissey, Customer Impact Editing Manager

The Restaurant Manager: we all know they are there. They work tirelessly to keep their restaurants running smoothly. They make sure their staff is trained properly. They check on the food quality in the kitchen and ensure that it is up to par. They monitor the cleanliness of their establishment so that they can present the best appearance to their customers. Sometimes, managers are clearly out in the open, visiting with customers, helping the staff, and generally observing operations. But at other times, they may not be as obvious.  


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One of a mystery shopper’s jobs is often to identify the restaurant manager and comment on what he or she is doing, but this employee may not always jump out at you. Managers sometimes work in the background, which can make them difficult to spot. If you find yourself unable to pick out a manager quickly, then try asking yourself the following questions.

1. Did anyone visit your table besides your server? It could be a quick conversation, or it could just be a passing comment or a quick, “How are you doing?” A table visit from someone who is not obviously a server could be a sign that you are meeting the manager.

2. Did anyone at the host podium stand out to you? They may be dressed in different attire, or they may behave differently than the other hosts and hostesses. Do they seem to be directing the other host staff? This could be a manager as well.

3. What about the employee who delivered your food? What was the employee wearing, and how did he or she behave? If the food runner is dressed differently than other service staff members and seems to be doing other duties in the restaurant as well, this might be a sign that he or she is management.


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4. Did you notice anyone besides servers and bussers in the dining room? Sometimes managers are quick, just doing a walk through of the area but not necessarily stopping at tables. Be alert to anyone you see more than once who appears to be observing what is happening and/or possibly directing the staff, however brief the appearance is.

If you keep these questions in the back of your mind while completing your assignment, they may help you pinpoint a manager you might not have noticed otherwise. Do you have any other tips for identifying managers during a mystery shop? We would love for you to share them with us! For more tips on mystery shopping, please visit our website here.

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