The General Manager is responsible for ensuring high quality restaurant and catering operations and long term business growth for Inspiration Kitchens, a social enterprise restaurant and catering business operated by Inspiration Corporation.
Inspiration Kitchens is located in East Garfield Park, near the Garfield Park Conservatory, and is open five days a week for brunch, lunch and dinner. The restaurant prepares contemporary American cuisine, and is top-rated in the Chicagoland community (4+ stars on Yelp, featured on Check Please!, participant in The Taste of Chicago). Inspiration Kitchens catering is a full service caterer, specializing in events of 20-200 people. Our portfolio includes corporate meetings, bridal showers, weddings, private events, boxed lunches, baby showers and birthday parties.
Inspiration Kitchens also functions as a culinary skills job-training program for low-income job seekers. This program equips its participants with basic culinary, sanitation and restaurant operations skills and offers participants on-the-job experience.
Proceeds from Inspiration Kitchens help the affiliate nonprofit agency, Inspiration Corporation, provide social services, employment training and housing to people who are affected by homelessness and poverty. Since 1989, Inspiration Corporation has served as a catalyst for self-reliance to more than 2,500 low income individuals and families each year.
Inspiration Corporation employees live the agency mission by demonstrating the following Core Values. Inspiration Corporation believes that these Core Values are what makes the organization one of Chicago’s leading facilitators of personal transformation, and a great place to work: Communicate honestly; Act with compassion; Pursue growth and learning; Be humble; Take care of ourselves so we can help others; Work greater together and Create a fun and productive environment.
The General Manager is responsible for delivering revenues and profits by developing and marketing Inspiration Kitchens’ restaurant and catering business and by providing excellent food and service that meets customers’ expectations, ensures that safety, hygiene and food sanitation standards are met and achieves restaurant and catering financial targets. The General Manager oversees the daily operations of the restaurant and catering business, including the selection, development and performance management of employees and management of expenses. Ideal candidates should possess exceptional motivational and leadership skills, financial acumen, effective communications skills, excellent negotiation skills, interpersonal skills, and customer service skills, including the ability to resolve certain issues that may arise either among staff or from restaurant or catering guests. The General Manager will work closely with senior workforce development staff to balance the needs of the business with the mission of training people with multiple barriers to employment in the skills needed to obtain work.
Essential duties and responsibilities include the following (other duties may be assigned):
Business Development, Financial Management and Evaluation:
- Model the agency’s core values and strengthen agency’s work culture within an atmosphere of dignity and respect.
- Establish restaurant and catering business plan by surveying restaurant demand; conferring with staff and people in the community; identifying and evaluating competitors; preparing financial, marketing and sales projections, analyses and estimates.
- Meet restaurant and catering business financial objectives by preparing strategic and annual forecasts and budgets; monitoring food and labor costs; analyzing variances; initiating corrective actions and establishing and monitoring financial controls. Provide financial reports to executive and development staff for funders and other stakeholders as requested.
- Work with finance staff to ensure that internal record-keeping and all financial (invoices, reporting) and personnel/payroll related administrative duties are completed accurately, on time and in accordance with agency’s policies and procedures.
- Control and approve purchases and inventory by meeting with appropriate staff; negotiating prices and contracts; developing preferred supplier lists; reviewing and evaluating usage reports; analyzing variances and taking corrective actions.
- Maintain professional and technical knowledge by tracking emerging trends in the restaurant and catering industry; attending educational workshops; reviewing professional publications; establishing professional networks; keeping abreast of state-of-the-art practices and participating in professional associations.
- Ensure appropriate data collection for reporting as required by funders and for internal evaluation. Provide data and information in support of development function. Manage POS system and evaluate other potential software solutions for kitchen, restaurant and catering management.
- Establish and maintain relationships with community leaders and organizations.
Food Quality, Safety and Planning:
- Lead development of marketing plan in coordination with agency’s resource development team; develop evaluation measures; identify areas where outside expertise is needed.
- Attract customers by implementing marketing plan, advertising, public and community relations programs; monitoring effectiveness and evaluating results; identifying and tracking changing demands.
- Develop and implement social media strategies in coordination with agency’s resource development team. Monitor presence and evaluate effectiveness. Assist with updating social media sites when necessary.
- Enforce sanitary practices for food handling, general cleanliness and maintenance of kitchen and dining areas. Ensure compliance with operational standards, agency’s policies, federal/state/local laws and ordinances.
- Ensure consistent high quality of food preparation and service to the public at the restaurant and through catering.
- Oversee development of restaurant and catering menus and recipes by Executive Chef; review menu costing; evaluate restaurant and catering menu offerings with competitors, and evaluate success of menu items.
- Oversee estimation of food needs and ordering by Executive Chef.
Operations, Personnel and Facilities Management:
- Ensure positive customer service in all areas. Respond to complaints, taking any and all appropriate actions to turn dissatisfied customers into return customers.
- Read social media sites for reviews and conduct customer satisfaction surveys.
- Lead regular meetings with appropriate staff to review customer satisfaction survey results, social media reviews and quality standards and make improvements with the aim of achieving 100% customer satisfaction.
- Establish and maintain relationships with catering accounts for contract meals and corporate accounts. Maintain system for bidding on jobs, invoicing customers and ensuring accurate and timely delivery. Oversee restaurant and catering staff in execution of catering meals.
- Maintain safe, secure and healthy facility environment by establishing, following and enforcing sanitation standards and procedures; complying with health and legal regulations and maintaining security systems to protect employees, customers and agency’s assets.
- Provide direction to restaurant and catering staff regarding operational and procedural issues. Lead regular meetings of restaurant and catering staff to ensure effective communication across teams.
- Develop and maintain orientation procedures and oversee training of new restaurant and catering staff.
- Maintain an accurate and up-to-date plan of restaurant and catering staffing needs. Prepare master schedule and ensure that the restaurant is staffed for all shifts and catered events are appropriately staffed.
- Oversee the day-to-day needs of the physical plant, related repairs and maintenance, upkeep of building and grounds, waste disposal, snow removal and pest control. Identify problems and communicate to Associate Director of Operations. Work with Associate Director of Operations to resolve issues.
- Assist Associate Director of Operations in maintaining annual facilities plan, including regular maintenance and regular walk-throughs with Associate Director of Operations.
- Manage use of catering vans and work with Associate Director of Operations to ensure repairs and maintenance.
- Obtain necessary city business licenses, inspections and permits.
- Develop and maintain understanding of how food service training instruction impacts business operations. Monitor balance between agency’s mission, food service training program goals and restaurant and catering business goals.
- Participate in regular meetings between workforce development staff and restaurant and catering staff meetings.
- Observe food service training classes and assist workforce development staff in teaching and reviewing food service training curriculum as needed.
Responsible for training and supervising the Executive Chef, Front of House Manager, Catering Manager and Janitor and utilizing restaurant and catering staff to ensure satisfactory completion of all goals and responsibilities.
education, experience & Skills
Associates or Bachelor’s degree in restaurant/hospitality management or culinary arts from an accredited school or university preferred. Chicago Food Sanitation License required. Ten years of restaurant experience, including five or more years of restaurant and/or catering management and supervisory experience. Exceptional motivational and leadership skills, financial acumen, effective communications skills, excellent negotiation skills and strong customer service skills. Proficiency with One POS, Adobe Photo Shop and Microsoft Office, especially Excel and Word is essential.
While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to sit and talk or hear. The employee frequently is required to walk. The employee is regularly required to attend meetings around the metropolitan areas. The employee must occasionally lift and/or move up to 25 pounds.
Works varying hours, as required, including evenings and weekends.
Please submit a resume and cover letter to apply for this position and use "General Manager" in the subject of your email.