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Dining Room Manager: Career and Salary Facts

Learn about the career requirements for becoming a dining room manager, and check the salary potential. Find information on customer service and back-of-the-house duties, training options and voluntary certifications here.

What Is a Dining Room Manager?

A dining room manager, also known as a food service manager, oversees the operations of restaurants and other dining establishments. They are tasked with making sure that all operations run smoothly, which means that they have a hand in staff supervision, budget management, food preparation oversight and customer service. At larger establishments, they often work as part of a leadership team that includes other kinds of managers, as well as chefs and head cooks. In these types of establishments, the work of dining room managers may focus more specifically on overseeing the work of waiters, monitoring dining room cleanliness and making sure that tables turn over at an appropriate rate.

Education Required High school diploma or equivalent, though a bachelor's degree may be preferred
Education Field of Study Hospitality, food service management
Key Skills Leadership, attention to detail, organization, interpersonal communication
Projected Job Outlook (2018-2028) 11%*
Median Salary (2018) $54,240 (for all food service managers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Would My Duties Be As a Dining Room Manager?

As a dining room manager, you'd be responsible for ensuring that patrons have pleasurable dining experiences. Your duties may include resolving customer complaints, monitoring service times and managing reservations. You'd also manage behind the scenes to make sure that food and beverage service runs smoothly. You'd accomplish this by directing cooks, scheduling staff and training servers.

Depending on the size of the establishment, you might simultaneously fulfill the role of kitchen and general manager. O*Net notes that food service managers might be responsible for completing bank deposits, ordering supplies and ensuring that food deliveries are accurate.

What Training Is Available To Me?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) maintains that food service managers don't need bachelor's degrees, and on-the-job training is available from employers. Community colleges offer certificate and associate degree programs in hotel and restaurant management with courses in dining room management. In these programs, you'll learn about dining room operations, food safety, leadership, sales and marketing. You may also complete courses in menu planning and catering. Some programs require you to complete an internship.

How Much Can I Earn?

The BLS stated that in 2018, there were roughly 219,160 individuals working in food service management. According to the BLS, most managers earned between $31,580 and $92,410 that year. You might seek jobs in industries hiring the most food service managers, which the BLS identified as restaurants and special food services. In these two categories, the mean annual salaries were $56,140 and $64,650, respectively. According to the BLS, restaurants in the states of New Jersey and Washington paid food service managers the highest rates.

Can I Become Certified?

If you don't have a degree, but have at least three years of supervisory experience in the restaurant industry, you might consider obtaining professional certification. Voluntary foodservice management professional certification is offered by the National Restaurant Association upon successful completion of an exam.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

If you are looking for a leadership position in a food service establishment, you could also consider becoming a chef. Like food service managers, chefs supervise kitchen staff, but they also play a greater role in preparing meals. They also plan menus and test recipes. In order to be a chef, you need to have a high school diploma and previous restaurant experience. Outside of the food industry, you could consider becoming a lodging manager, where you would be in charge of business operations and customer service at hospitality establishments, like hotels and motels. The minimum educational requirement for a job as a lodging manager is a high school diploma or the equivalent.