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General Manager Job Descriptions, Average Salary, Interview Questions

What Does a General Manager Do?

General managers are found in many different industries and come from many different backgrounds. The one thing they need to have in common though is a strong sense of leadership and deep knowledge of their business. A general manager or GM runs the day-to-day operations while following various processes and plans to ensure that a business operates smoothly. 

The most important duties and responsibilities of a general manager are managing resources and keeping the business running. They may oversee hiring new employees and are responsible for scheduling the staff. Setting and achieving goals in the workplace is another requirement of doing this job well. This position requires a lot of hands-on work, in depth knowledge, and the ability to work with others. Leadership skills and good communication are a must when working in any management position and this is no exception. At the end of the day a general manager is the key component in motivating and overseeing the team to meet and exceed company standards. 

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National Average Salary

General manager salaries vary by experience, industry, organization size, and geography. To explore salary ranges by local market, please visit our sister site

The average U.S. salary for a General Manager is:


General Manager Job Descriptions

The first step when hiring a great general manager is a well-crafted job description. Below are real-world examples to help give you the best chance of success on your recruiting journey.

Example 1

We are looking for a general manager to oversee our company and join our team. As the GM of [Your Company Name], you will play a key role in our management team. You will skillfully and efficiently oversee the whole business to achieve our set monthly goals and maintain our standards of quality. Our success depends on our employees and their attention to detail as well as their ability to communicate effectively with our customers and team.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Hiring and training new staff to perform at their maximum potential
  • Creating, following, and maintaining strategies for growth
  • Manage staff performance 
  • Develop plans for maximum productivity
  • Develop new business relationships and maintain existing ones
  • Oversee day-to-day operations while setting weekly goals 
  • Maintain project timelines and ensure timely completion

Education and experience

  • High school diploma or equivalent (minimum)
  • Bachelor’s degree in business (preferred)
  • Five years of experience

Required skills and qualifications

  • Leadership and maintenance of a large number of employees
  • Exceptional customer service
  • Ability to multitask while remaining organized 
  • Basic computer skills required to perform daily activities

Preferred qualifications

  • Certified Manager Certification
  • Project Management Professional Certification
  • American Management Association Certification
  • Bachelor’s degree and a considerable amount of work experience is a plus
  • Analytical skills to make adjustments to meet the goals and objectives set by superiors

Example 2

The role

A successful General Manager has a developed ability to see all of the things that need to be accomplished, delegate them responsibly, and with the appropriate time needed to do the job well. Their company knowledge should be intermediate, with clear steps of advancement in place. Those who excel as General Managers have an incredible ability to organize tasks and projects, maintain excellent relationships with other department heads, stand strongly as leadership within the space, exude a sense of humble authority, and maintain emotional regulation in the face of stress.

In this role, you will contribute to and execute an exciting integrated retail playbook. You will oversee operations across our sales floor, market, and bar, as well as work with your management team and our creative team to integrate these three areas into a powerful whole. Your work will ensure our place as a tastemaker at the heart of our local and national communities.

  • You will be an Ops Powerhouse, tying sales, scheduling, training, customer service, environment, and rapid execution to our budget, business objectives, and overarching strategies. Each area of your unit will be fiscally and operationally sound. Every member of your team will attack their work with clarity, urgency, and intensity
  • You’ll measure your performance by the numbers. You’ll make sure those numbers are as clear as a bell for you and your team. A day won’t go by where you don’t know how much revenue needs to be generated and how you’re planning to get it. Your retail sales team will know where they stand every day. They’ll bask in the glory of crushing revenue goals and understand the urgency of making up shortfalls. Your management team will know their KPIs and will communicate them to you regularly. They will use them to inform their decisions and to drive their teams and their areas to succeed
  • Goals are a part of your DNA. You understand the company’s goals, translate them into your own, and spend every day attacking them. You help your team set and track their own goals, rally them every day, and hold them accountable with direct feedback in real-time
  • You communicate often and follow-up always. You understand that clear ownership, concrete dates, and sound expectations are the foundations of strong communication. You know that a shoulder shrug or the words “I don’t know” are the first indicators of failure.
  • You’re a self-starter who sees most issues before they’re brought to your attention. You understand that solving problems is a part of the business. You run at them not away from them. But you also know there’s a fine line between brave and foolhardy. You’ll work out solutions and attempt them but you’re always certain to raise your hand for help before it’s too late
  • You have a plan (and a backup) for every day, week, month, project, and goal. You know what you should be doing every day. You know what your team should be doing every day. They know what they should be doing every day. And you know what to do to put all of those plans back on the rails if something gets in the way
  • You understand that there is no safety net if you’re not it. Your organization and execution are critical to our business goals. You see every detail and nothing falls through the cracks. From opening the shop and sweeping the entryway to launching a new revenue stream hitting targeted sales, every project and every task is attended to. Every deadline is noted and every stakeholder is aware of it
  • You will move fast. You will make things happen with urgency and intensity. Every member of your team will attack their work with clarity and move with purpose. Hustle is the MO of a team driven to succeed
  • You will possess the emotional intelligence necessary to navigate the intersection between storytelling and sales. Customer service is not a catchphrase. Sales training is not a nice option. Product knowledge is not an aspiration. You and your team will inspire our customers to fall deeper in love with wine, drive them to explore and discover through drinking and eating, and build a real, powerful connection that ties them to ABC Company. You will leverage all of this to obliterate revenue goals in every area of your unit
  • Finally, you’re a huge fan. You’ve spent your whole life loving ABC company and you feel lucky that you have the opportunity to build a career in a field that you love so much

The requirements

  • Passionate & strong commitment to learning about the company, all the time
  • Natural sense of organization & eyes for inconsistencies in layout
  • Develop strong relationships with unit level department heads
  • Evolved ability to take criticism from CEO, COO & CFO while implementing changes promptly
  • Maintain poise & professionalism during busy periods
  • Ability to emotionally regulate oneself in the face of intense stress
  • Brilliant attention to detail, especially as it pertains to spatial hospitality
  • Self-motivated & have the ability to work independently
  • Possess a strong team mentality & desire to work together
  • Incredible critical thinking skills
  • Above average communication skills
  • Ability to take direction with an emphasis on introspection
  • Deliver excellent customer service & guest interactions
  • Commitment to learning about the full range of products & services ABC Company offers

The responsibilities

  • Create development plans for unit department managers based on education/experience & implement them accordingly, as well as hold them accountable for executing the same for their staff
  • Implement seasonal programming & operations agendas provided by COO
  • Oversee product intake process & ensure that all steps are followed (bottle shots, barcoding, updating website product pages, etc.)
  • Oversee merchandising & implementation of marketing plans within the unit
  • Maintain accountability of unit department managers schedules & presence in the store
  • Host bi-weekly management meetings with unit managers
  • Provide marketing with unit programming information with appropriate runway for promotion
  • Supply wine club counts to product buyer at the end of each month
  • Assign wine club copy assignments on a monthly basis to retail staff
  • Adhere to retail budgets provided by CFO & track expenses
  • Update retail leaderboard on a daily basis
  • Host weekly sales meetings with wine retail team
  • Maintain staff accountability in retail department around guest reach out

Example 3

Essential job functions:

  • Conduct facility walk through (interior and exterior) to ensure a clean, safe and guest-friendly atmosphere and ambiance. Ensure that required housekeeping tasks and maintenance programs are completed as required. Identify and address any problems and/or needed repairs
  • Complete administrative office work to include answering emails and voicemails, entering sales reports, paying invoices, checking deliveries, etc.
  • Review previous day’s sales reports to ensure accuracy; investigate and resolve any discrepancies. Ensure that all financial information, daily sales/deposits, budgets, invoices, receiving sheets, payroll and all other administrative requirements are completed and submitted according to the procedures and due dates set by the Regional Vice President and/or Corporate Staff
  • Proactively and effectively communicate (to his/her management team, team members, Regional Vice President, and members of the corporate staff) any discrepancies, unusual information/occurrences or other necessary information regarding the effective operation of the business. Assures there are no surprises
  • Review reservations and events scheduled for each day to ensure proper staffing based on projected volume
  • Perform kitchen and bar line check to ensure proper quality and quantity of food products; review inventory needs with Chef
  • Set, submit and, achieve budgeted sales and profit levels for the restaurant. Review financial results against monthly and quarterly budget goals to ensure efficient operations and that all expenditures and costs remain within budgeted and cost guidelines. Create plans to achieve goals and review plans with team. Take immediate action to correct any deviation from financial budgets and performance
  • Conduct pre-shift meeting to review menu changes, specials, promotions, contests and/or problems with staff
  • Provide motivational leadership, communication and follow up to staff to ensure proper execution and commitment to company standards in all aspects of the operation
  • Rotate through the stations of the restaurant (host, bar, dining, kitchen) throughout service to monitor activities and provide communication and feedback to team
  • Interact regularly with the guests to inquire about meal and make acquaintances. Respond promptly to guest needs or complaints, and resolve matters expeditiously to ensure a Raving Fan experience
  • Complete closing duties to include entering tips, credit cards, and payroll; submit sales reports to Corporate; walk through restaurant to ensure proper closing procedures are followed, including cleaning all areas of the restaurant, performing money counts, and leaving detailed communication for the next shift regarding any open or important issues
  • Facilitate weekly manager’s meeting to review staffing, development, and training needs and discuss the restaurant’s operating plan, objectives and results
  • Regularly monitor all systems in place which set and provide the required par and inventory levels of all raw products, food ingredients, and beverage, bar supply items, equipment, smallwares, plate, glass, silverware, linen, and cleaning supplies to ensure effective operations. Ensure that all restaurant items are ordered from approved vendors and meet corporate specifications
  • Optimize sales potential by proactively and aggressively planning, conducting and following-up local store marketing and public relations activities focused toward building awareness of the local restaurant and creating new guests
  • Proactively recruit, hire and provide initial orientation and training, as well as on-going training, for all restaurant personnel, in accordance with ABC Company training systems, programs and materials
  • Write and conduct timely performance reviews, at least annually, according to ABC Company systems for each member of his/her management team. Create individual development plans, and provide regular follow up to ensure completion of goals. Mutually establish developmental goals, objectives and action plans focused toward continually performance improvements. Provide ongoing follow-up, training and coaching to assist team members in achieving developmental objectives
  • Review confirmed and pending banquets/special events with Sales Manager to ensure proper planning
  • Attend training courses and seminars throughout the year to build business and professional knowledge/skill levels and gain greater experience
  • Build relationships within the community and community organizations to promote brand awareness and partnerships and bring in new guests
  • Develop business through catering and private dining sales

Required knowledge, skills, and abilities:

  • Demonstrate exceptional guest service mentality
  • Place high priority on the guest
  • Promotes a superior individualized dining experience for each guest
  • Interact regularly and demonstrate a genuine interest to guests
  • Provide pressure point relief to team as needed to assure a superior dining experience for all guests
  • Proactively build and nurture relationships in the community
  • Demonstrate a passion for food
  • Actively support the brand concept
  • Model and promote adherence to brand standards
  • Seek opportunities to promote the brand within the community at large
  • Create and maintain optimum levels of morale, pride and team spirit
  • Develop an environment based upon the values and operating principles of ABC Company
  • Work well with others
  • Demonstrate an open, respectful communication style
  • Effectively select, train, and develop talented team members
  • Build mutual respect, confidence, and trust in relationships
  • Demonstrate confidence
  • Lead by example
  • Set and uphold uncompromising high standards and expectations
  • Enforce accountability for performance and results
  • Direct and coordinate all activities throughout the restaurant
  • Foster open communication
  • Handle performance issues in a tough but fair manner
  • Demonstrate a strong interest in developing others
  • Serve as a mentor and coach to others
  • Provide continual feedback
  • Celebrate success and reward achievements
  • Create a succession plan
  • Demonstrate patience and understanding
  • Listen effectively
  • Demonstrate basic computer skills including a familiarity with Microsoft Word, Excel, and Outlook
  • Able to read, interpret, and effectively act upon profit & loss and other financial data
  • Ability to think big picture when setting goals
  • Identify and monitor business trends
  • Strong attention to detail
  • Evaluate options and impact in order to make the best decisions
  • Think creatively to find solutions to problems
  • Anticipate and catch issues before they become problems
  • Demonstrate effective organization and time management skills
  • Take ownership of all front of house operations
  • Respond with a sense of urgency
  • Ability to handle pressure effectively
  • Flexibility by responding to changing demands
  • Stay focused and productive
  • Maintain a professional business demeanor and appearance at all times
  • Take proactive steps and self-responsibility for on-going individual training and development

Preferred education and work experience:

  • Extensive experience leading a high-volume, upscale concept restaurant
  • Wine knowledge required
  • Servsafe Food and Alcohol certification preferred
  • Some culinary experience or training a plus
  • Formal business education or a restaurant management degree a plus
  • Above average computer skills including a familiarity with Microsoft Word, Excel and Outlook

Physical demands:

  • Typical shift is 10-12 hours
  • Able to work on your feet for at least 8 hours
  • Temperature extremes range from working near 1800 degree Fahrenheit broilers to working in a walk-in freezer of -10 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Must be able to lift, handle, and carry food, smallwares, equipment, supplies and paper goods at a minimum of 50 pounds constantly, and up to 100 pounds occasionally
  • Must be able to bend, kneel, stoop, reach, and squat on a frequent basis to receive and store stock, supplies and equipment, as well as to work the line during service periods
  • Must be able to taste, be able to distinguish between and among flavors, spices, temperatures, mouth feel and smell, and distinguish between and among odors and scents as to their appeal and level of intensity for all food and beverage products
  • Must be able to work in an environment subject to loud noises from restaurant equipment and machinery, fumes, odors, dust and smoke

Example 4

ABC Company seeks to hire a General Manager to lead our system operations in the Washington DC area. In this role, you oversee all day-to-day operational and logistical support for our client and the bike-share system. You have direct ownership for leading, coaching, and developing the operations team to ensure success.

About the role

ABC Companys leaders are a unique balance between best-in-class operators and world class coaches who understand achieving operational goals is not possible without our most valuable resource, our people.

Operational excellence

  • Take full ownership of all aspects of your system operations, including full P&L responsibility, and client relationship management, to deliver against Service Level Agreements, and facilitate growth within your market
  • Drive continuous improvement through structured, solution-oriented problem solving with the support of your team and cross functional business partners
  • Collaborate with other operational leaders to further develop and incorporate standard methodologies
  • Develop and run an operational budget, including monthly reporting on P&L

People focus

  • Lead by example and set the tone for your team; role modeling honest communication, integrity, and a get it done attitude
  • Build a team of top talent through internal talent cultivation and discerning hiring practices; facilitate the growth of department heads
  • Establish goals for your organization, setting clear expectations and accountabilities for people
  • Establish positive two-way communication with all staff, sourcing feedback and fresh ideas and sharing initiative plans and objectives with field operations

About you

  • You are the unique blend of seasoned operator and a natural people leader with 7+ years of Operational Leadership managing a diverse group of functions and departments
  • You thrive in a high-pressure, high-visibility, start-up environment
  • You are data-driven, and have experience interpreting and manipulating raw data with tools such as Tableau and Excel, and turning the analysis into action
  • You are an excellent communicator, both written and verbal, and comfortable communicating with C-Suite leaders, as well as hourly union employees
  • You have experience owning a P&L, including developing an operating plan, working through budget variance analysis, and developing initiatives to improve efficiency and profit generating opportunities
  • You are an organized thinker, with the ability to self-direct and to adapt to evolving strategies and changing deadlines

General requirements

  • Educational Experience: Bachelor’s degree in Business or related; or equivalent professional experience
  • Leadership Experience: Prior leadership of 100+ person organization with mid-senior level management direct reports; leader of leaders
  • Professional Experience: Prior experience with client-facing service operations with a strong track record of process/operations field leadership and experience running complex operations of varied workflows and disciplines


  • Advanced degree in business, design, operations, engineering, or related field
  • Working knowledge of Boston MA area geography/street layout
  • Experience with warehouse operations, logistics and supply chains
  • Comfort using data management software such as Tableau
  • Passion for efficiency and sustainability; care for urban environments

Candidate Certifications to Look For

  • ServSafe Food Protection Manager Certification – This certification shows that those who possess it have sufficient knowledge of food safety, how to operate a kitchen, and serve safely. Benefits of this certification include many restaurant owners requiring it, and will ultimately choose to hire those with one over someone who does not. To obtain ServSafe certification, candidates must go through the proper training and pass a test first.
  • Certified Sales Professional – Becoming certified as a sales professional will teach candidates modern strategies and techniques to master the art of sales. They will obtain the ability to handle large accounts with strategic customers. To be eligible for this certification, candidates must have a college diploma, 35 hours of education in sales aligned with the CSP framework, a minimum of 4 years of experience managing clients, and evidence of meeting and/or exceeding targets for 2 years. Candidates can be exempt from these requirements if they have at least 6 years of verified sales experience. Obtaining this certification will open many doors for new opportunities.
  • Certified Management Accountant – The CMA certification is based on financial reporting and planning. Candidates will learn to prepare financial statements, create budgets, and supervise accounting staff. This certification will help them stand out in the industry. To obtain this certification, candidates must hold an active IMA membership, complete and pass parts 1 and 2 of the CMA exam, and hold a bachelor’s degree from a related certification program. 
  • OSHA Safety Certification – Obtaining this certification proves candidates have industry knowledge on safety topics in the workplace. They will learn ways to prevent injuries in the workplace and keep it a safe and productive environment. An OSHA 10 card means candidates have completed 10 hours of OSHA authorized training, but most employers are looking for an OSHA 30 card which means they must complete 30 hours of OSHA courses. 
  • Certified Professional Food Manager – This is an affordable program that offers more convenient and flexible options for candidates looking to receive ServSafe certification. This certification can be completed completely online, but they will also need to take a food manager training course in order to pass this exam. 
  • Project Management Professional – Becoming PMP certified shows employers that candidates can earn 20% more than those without this certification. Applicants must have at least 7,500 hours of project management experience, 35 hours of related education, or have a 4-year degree with 4,500 hours of experience leading projects and 35 hours of project management training. 

Sample Interview Questions

  • How would you describe your leadership style?
  • Describe someone you coached or mentored. 
  • Talk about a successful work project that involved working with others and multiple teams. 
  • How would you approach a team member who was underperforming? 
  • How do you define success in the workplace? 
  • Talk about a time you led an important meeting. 
  • How would you handle conflict between employees?
  • What is your experience in our industry?
  • How do you manage stress on your team members? 
  • How do you motivate others?
  • What are some improvements you would make while working as a manager?  
  • How do you prioritize your tasks while at work? 
  • What is the most difficult situation you’ve faced as a manager?

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