Food Service Manager: Salary and Career Facts

Food service managers oversee the operation of a restaurant or other business that serves food. Learn more about the daily job duties of a food service manager. Find out what education and training you'll need to enter this field, and get information on the average salary. Schools offering Restaurant & Catering Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Food Service Manager?

As a food service manager, you're responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of any food service establishment. You're responsible for hiring, training and firing other employees, including assistant managers, waitstaff, bartenders and cooks. You typically also order supplies, maintain inventory, handle employee scheduling, handle bookkeeping and oversee payroll. Food service managers must be able to multi-task and stay calm in fast-paced environments. Below, the table provides some additional information about this career:

Degree Required Not required; associate's and bachelor's degrees available
Education Field of Study Food service management, restaurant management, hospitality management.
Key Responsibilities Manage staff and daily operations, handle customer complaints, handle workplace problems, manage staff
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 5%
Median Salary (2015)* $48,690

Source: *U.S.Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are the Job Duties of a Food Service Manager?

When you work as a food service manager, you're responsible for ensuring the quality of every consumer's dining experience. This requires clear communication and strong problem-solving skills. It's your responsibility to make sure the dining environment is clean and that prepared meals meet customer standards. One day you might find yourself needing to replace a cook who has called out sick, while another day you may need to call a maintenance worker to fix an ice machine. You must be flexible and able to handle stress in order to work as a food service manager.

How Will I Find Work in the Field?

You can pursue a food service management career in a number of ways. One of the most common ways is to gain experience in the food service industry and then work your way up in the field. You might start out as a cook, waitress or bartender in a particular restaurant. From there, you can work your way up through leadership positions, such as team leader, assistant manager and restaurant manager. You might also participate in a management trainee program offered by a particular food service establishment or restaurant chain.

What Educational Programs Are Available?

Another way you could prepare to become a food service manager is to earn a degree in the field. Some fine dining establishments and larger restaurant chains prefer to hire managers who have associate's or bachelor's degrees in food service management, restaurant management or hospitality management.

An Associate of Science in Food Service Management degree program can provide you with the educational background and practical skills you'll need to oversee the daily operations of a restaurant. You may study nutrition, hospitality management, safety and sanitation, food purchasing, business accounting and cost control. A bachelor's degree program in the field covers similar core topics, but also includes more general education courses and hands-on experience in kitchens.

What Salary Can I Expect to Earn?

Full-service restaurants, limited-service restaurants, hotels and other establishments employed more than 201,370 food service managers in 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). The median annual salary for the position in that year was $48,690. Insurance carriers and real estate were among the top-paying industries in the field, reports the Bureau.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Chefs and head cooks and lodging managers are related careers that require a high school diploma or equivalent. Chefs and head cooks oversee kitchen staff while cooking and preparing menu items in an eating establishment. Lodging managers oversee the everyday activities of their lodging establishment and work to ensure each guest has a pleasant visit. Sales managers are also similar, but require a bachelor's degree. These managers train and oversee an organization's sales team.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:

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  • Johns Hopkins University

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  • The Art Institutes

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  • Southwestern Illinois College

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    • Illinois: Belleville
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    • Illinois: Decatur
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    • Pennsylvania: Youngwood
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    • Illinois: Ina