15 Ways A Bilingual Restaurant Manager Improves Kitchen Operations

15 Ways A Bilingual Restaurant Manager Improves Kitchen Operations

It’s no secret that many American kitchens are run in a language other than English. And according to QSR Magazine, 23% of all restaurant staff are foreign-born.

If you want an advantage in the restaurant industry you can specialize in being a bilingual manager. The language you build your bilingual skills in will largely be based on the type of restaurant you want to manage.

Whichever language you choose to learn, as a bilingual restaurant manager you’ll benefit from these 15 improvements to restaurant operations:

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1. Better Kitchen Teamwork

Teamwork is all about communication—being heard and being listened to. With your bilingual skills, you can facilitate communication with non-English speaking staff and bridge the gap between foreign speakers and English-only speaking staff.

2. Closer Adherence To Established Procedures

When the restaurant established processes for staff to follow are they being ignored or is it just a misunderstanding? If you’re not making the rules clear in your worker’s native language it could be both. To run a kitchen efficiently proper procedures need to be understood to be followed.

3. Increased Employee Accountability

With your bilingual skills you can have a conversation with your cooks and call them out for breaking the rules without any excuses. Everyone on the team has a part to play, and your language skills help you keep everyone on task.

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4. Interviewing in a 2nd Language

To know if a candidate is a good fit for your restaurant you need to interview them. If you really want to know them before they are hired, interview them in their native language. It’s better to find out sooner rather than later if a new employee has the qualifications and the personality you want to bring in.

5. Increased Camaraderie

By speaking to your kitchen staff in their preferred native language it creates a sense of familiarity and friendship. In a high-stress environment like a kitchen, this can have a significant impact on the way your team works together. People who understand each other tend to get along well.

6. Lower Turnover Rates

By speaking the language of your kitchen staff you can increase a sense of loyalty. They know that their concerns will be heard. They won’t feel like they are suffering in silence and can’t have their needs met. When you and your kitchen staff understand each other well you can know what their long-term goals are.

7. Giving Clear Commands To Cooks

Being a manager is all about communicating what you need to get done. When workers receive unclear orders from bosses who don’t speak their language, the expectations are not met. It’s often the misunderstood worker who’s considered at fault. In truth, as managers, we are responsible for giving our staff clear commands. Your bilingual skills ensure that you are understood when managing kitchen staff.

8. Better Communication Between FOH and BOH

There is often a rift between cooks and servers. This is because of the difference in the type of work. The truth is that these two teams must closely support one another to accomplish a successful service. With your language skills, you can effectively work as a bridge between front-of-house English speakers and the kitchen. This makes you a vital resource.

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9. Faster Food Service

As a manager who understands what’s going on in the kitchen you can direct cooks in their native language and effectively expedite orders. You decide when and who to fire. Your bilingual ability means you can more efficiently direct resources where they are needed.

10. Higher Quality Food

US food safety standards might be a new concept to foreign-born cooks. They may not understand what might seem like unnecessary tasks. But compliance with food safety is taken seriously here and an outbreak of food borne illness will damage the restaurant’s reputation. Your bilingualism ensures that proper rules are followed by kitchen staff. You can catch dangerous mistakes before they happen.

11. Better Relationships Between Staff and Management

Acting as a liaison between non-English speaking kitchen staff and English-only speaking managers is an important duty that only a bilingual kitchen manager like you can accomplish. English-only managers might think their authority is being challenged when it’s simply a language barrier. Your ability to bridge the gap helps everyone be understood.

12. Opportunities To Work With More Chefs

A full 45% of US chefs are foreign-born. Your bilingual kitchen management skills open up more opportunities in the restaurant industry for you to work with many different chefs. This helps your professional career by increasing the number of culinary ventures you can explore.

13. Negotiations Opportunities

If your restaurant specializes in a type of cuisine with a supply chain that has the same primary language as your kitchen, you’ve got a double-whammy! Now you can negotiate with your supply chain in their native language and build a closer and more profitable relationship with your supplier.

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14. Increase Kitchen Safety

Like food safety, things are done differently in America. OSHA and building codes might not be familiar to kitchen staff trained in another country. But you can clearly communicate the importance of following these safety procedures. Kitchen safety procedures protect the restaurant from liability, fire damage and ensure worker health and well-being.

15. You’re An Invaluable Asset

With all the benefits of being a bilingual kitchen manager you can see why restaurants consider you to be an invaluable asset. Without you, there would be a potential for chaos in the restaurant. But with your help, the kitchen runs smoothly, the restaurant serves more satisfied guests, and more staff members enjoy working with you.


The benefits of hiring bilingual managers is clear. If you want to set yourself apart in the restaurant industry, learning a second language or brushing up on your language skills could be just the thing that makes the difference.

Bilingual managers improve communication. And that’s what it’s all about. When we can communicate effectively with our staff members we can build a stronger working relationship where everyone is empowered and feels heard.

This free guide to 15 ways a bilingual restaurant manager improves kitchen operations is part of the free resource library provided by Rezku. To learn more about Rezku visit our homepage. To book a free one-to-one restaurant management consultation contact us today.

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