Food Service Managers

Career, Salary and Education Information

What They Do: Food service managers are responsible for the daily operation of restaurants or other establishments that prepare and serve food and beverages.

Work Environment: Food service managers work in restaurants, hotels, school cafeterias, and other establishments where food is prepared and served. They often work evenings, weekends, and holidays. The work can be hectic, and dealing with dissatisfied customers can be stressful.

How to Become One: Most applicants qualify with a high school diploma and several years of work experience in the food service industry. However, some may receive additional training at a community college, technical or vocational school, culinary school, or 4-year college.

Salary: The median annual wage for food service managers is $59,440.

Job Outlook: Employment of food service managers is projected to grow 10 percent over the next ten years, faster than the average for all occupations.

Related Careers: Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of food service managers with similar occupations.

Following is everything you need to know about a career as a food service manager with lots of details. As a first step, take a look at some of the following jobs, which are real jobs with real employers. You will be able to see the very real job career requirements for employers who are actively hiring. The link will open in a new tab so that you can come back to this page to continue reading about the career:

Top 3 Restaurant Manager Jobs

  • Restaurant Manager - IHOP 1730 Orem - Orem, UT

    Are you a hungry, humble, and smart individual looking for an exciting opportunity as a full-time Restaurant Manager ? IHop has a position that might be a perfect fit for you! GREAT PAY We offer this ...

  • Restaurant Manager - Madre Oaxacalifornia - Valencia, CA

    New Mexican Restaurant in Santa Clarita Looking for a Restaurant Manager Full time 40+hrs Open availability 1 week paid vacation weekends required $21 - $24 per hour Email Resume

  • Restaurant Manager | Casual Seafood - Superior Talent Source - Los Angeles, CA

    As the Restaurant Manager , you will play a vital role in supporting the restaurant 's operations, delivering exceptional service, and ensuring an outstanding dining experience for our guests

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Top 3 Kitchen Manager Jobs

  • Kitchen Manager - CAMPBELLS LODGE INC - Chelan, WA

    Kitchen Manager Reports to: Executive Chef Pay rate: $25.00 to $29.00 DOE Position type: Full Time - health benefits after 1 year and 1456 hours worked. Campbell's Resort offers its employees a ...

  • Kitchen Manager - Olive & Finch - Denver, CO

    Kitchen Manager /Chef (Fulltime) - Full availability Monday through Sunday mornings and nights Duties and responsibilities: * Managing the daily food operations of the restaurant, including the ...

  • Kitchen Manager - Fuzzy's Taco Shop Denver (Stapleton) #13005 - Denver, CO

    The Kitchen Manager (KM) plays a key role in the operations of our restaurants. They have the overall responsibility of delivering the Fuzzy Vibes through everything they do. This includes ensuring ...

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What Food Service Managers Do[About this section] [To Top]

Food service managers are responsible for the daily operation of restaurants or other establishments that prepare and serve food and beverages. They direct staff to ensure that customers are satisfied with their dining experience, and they manage the business to ensure that it is profitable.

Duties of Food Service Managers

Food service managers typically do the following:

  • Hire, train, oversee, and sometimes fire employees
  • Order food and beverages, equipment, and supplies
  • Oversee food preparation, portion sizes, and the overall presentation of food
  • Inspect supplies, equipment, and work areas
  • Ensure that employees comply with health and food safety standards
  • Address complaints regarding food quality or service
  • Schedule staff hours and assign duties
  • Manage budgets and payroll records
  • Establish standards for personnel performance and customer service

Managers coordinate activities of the kitchen and dining room staff to ensure that customers are served properly and in a timely manner. They oversee orders in the kitchen, and, if needed, they work with the chef to remedy any delays in service.

Food service managers are responsible for all functions of the business related to employees. For example, most managers interview, hire, train, oversee, appraise, discipline, and sometimes fire employees. Managers also schedule work hours, making sure that enough workers are present to cover each shift. During busy periods, they may expedite service by helping to serve customers, processing payments, or cleaning tables.

Managers also arrange for cleaning and maintenance services for the equipment and facility in order to comply with health and sanitary regulations. For example, they may arrange for trash removal, pest control, and heavy cleaning when the dining room and kitchen are not in use.

Most managers prepare the payroll and manage employee records. They also may review or complete paperwork related to licensing, taxes and wages, and unemployment compensation. Although they sometimes assign these tasks to an assistant manager or a bookkeeper, most managers are responsible for the accuracy of business records.

Some managers add up the cash and charge slips and secure them in a safe place. They also may check that ovens, grills, and other equipment are properly cleaned and secured, and that the establishment is locked at the close of business.

Work Environment for Food Service Managers[About this section] [To Top]

Food service managers hold about 329,100 jobs. The largest employers of food service managers are as follows:

Restaurants and other eating places 50%
Self-employed workers 33%
Special food services 4%
Accommodation 2%

Full-service restaurants (those with table service) may have a management team that includes a general manager, one or more assistant managers, and an executive chef.

Many food service managers work long shifts, and the job is often hectic. Dealing with dissatisfied customers can sometimes be stressful.

Injuries and illnesses for Food Service Managers

Kitchens are usually crowded and filled with dangerous objects and areas, such as hot ovens and slippery floors. As a result, food service managers, who spend some of their time helping in the kitchen, have a higher rate of injuries and illnesses than the national average. The most common hazards include slips, falls, and cuts and are seldom serious. To reduce these risks, managers often wear nonslip shoes while in the kitchen.

Food Service Manager Work Schedules

Most food service managers work full time. Managers at fine-dining and fast-food restaurants often work long shifts, and some work more than 40 hours per week. Managers of food service facilities or cafeterias in schools, factories, or office buildings usually work traditional business hours. Managers may be called in on short notice, including evenings, weekends, and holidays. Some managers may also manage multiple locations.

How to Become a Food Service Manager[About this section] [To Top]

Get the education you need: Find schools for Food Service Managers near you!

Most applicants qualify with a high school diploma and several years of work experience in the food service industry as a cook, waiter or waitress, or counter attendant. Some applicants have received additional training at a community college, technical or vocational school, culinary school, or 4-year college.

Education for Food Service Managers

Although a bachelor's degree is not required, some postsecondary education is increasingly preferred for many manager positions, especially at upscale restaurants and hotels. Some food service companies, hotels, and restaurant chains recruit management trainees from college hospitality or food service management programs. These programs may require the participants to work in internships and to have food industry–related experiences in order to graduate.

Many colleges and universities offer bachelor's degree programs in restaurant and hospitality management or institutional food service management. In addition, numerous community colleges, technical institutes, and other institutions offer associate's degree programs in the field. Some culinary schools offer programs in restaurant management with courses designed for those who want to start and run their own restaurant.

Most programs provide instruction in nutrition, sanitation, and food preparation, as well as courses in accounting, business law, and management. Some programs combine classroom and practical study with internships.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation for Food Service Managers

Most food service managers start working in industry-related jobs, such as cooks, waiters and waitresses, or hosts and hostesses. They often spend years working under the direction of an experienced worker, learning the necessary skills before they are promoted to manager positions.

Food Service Manager Training

Managers who work for restaurant chains and food service management companies may be required to complete programs that combine classroom instruction and on-the-job training. Topics may include food preparation, sanitation, security, company policies, personnel management, and recordkeeping.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations for Food Service Managers

Although certification is not required, managers may obtain the Food Protection Manager Certification (FPMC) by passing a food safety exam. The American National Standards Institute accredits institutions that offer the FPMC.

In addition, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation awards the Foodservice Management Professional (FMP) designation, a voluntary certification to managers who typically meet the following criteria:

  • Have supervisory experience in food service
  • Have specialized training in food safety
  • Pass a multiple-choice exam

The certification attests to professional competence, particularly for managers who learned their skills on the job.

Important Qualities for Food Service Managers

Business skills. Food service managers, especially those who run their own restaurant, must understand all aspects of the restaurant business. They should know how to budget for supplies, set prices, and manage workers to ensure that the restaurant is profitable.

Communication skills. Food service managers must give clear orders to staff and be able to communicate effectively with employees and customers.

Customer-service skills. Food service managers must be courteous and attentive when dealing with patrons. Satisfying customers' dining needs is critical to business success and ensures customer loyalty.

Detail oriented. Managers deal with many different types of activities. They ensure that there is enough food to serve to customers, they maintain financial records, and they ensure that the food meets health and safety standards.

Leadership skills. Managers must establish good working relationships to maintain a productive work environment. Carrying out this task may involve motivating workers and leading by example.

Organizational skills. Food service managers keep track of many different schedules, budgets, and staff. Their job becomes more complex as the size of the restaurant or food service facility increases.

Physical stamina. Managers, especially those who run their own restaurant, often work long shifts and sometimes spend entire evenings on their feet helping to serve customers.

Problem-solving skills. Managers need to be able to resolve personnel issues and customer-related problems.

Food Service Manager Salaries[About this section] [More salary/earnings info] [To Top]

The median annual wage for food service managers is $59,440. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $36,630, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $98,070.

The median annual wages for food service managers in the top industries in which they work are as follows:

Accommodation $73,650
Special food services $70,160
Restaurants and other eating places $58,500

Most food service managers work full time, and some work more than 40 hours per week. Work schedules vary and may include early mornings, nights, weekends, and holidays. They may be called in at short notice.

Job Outlook for Food Service Managers[About this section] [To Top]

Employment of food service managers is projected to grow 10 percent over the next ten years, faster than the average for all occupations.

About 45,000 openings for food service managers are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Employment of Food Service Managers

Much of the projected employment growth in this occupation is due to recovery from the COVID-19 recession that began in 2020.

Food service managers will be needed to oversee food preparation and service as people continue to dine out, purchase takeout meals, and have food delivered to their homes or workplaces. However, more dining establishments are expected to rely on chefs and head cooks instead of hiring additional food service managers, which should limit employment growth in this occupation.

Employment projections data for Food Service Managers, 2021-31
Occupational Title Employment, 2021 Projected Employment, 2031 Change, 2021-31
Percent Numeric
Food service managers 329,100 361,400 10 32,300

A portion of the information on this page is used by permission of the U.S. Department of Labor.

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