Food Demonstration Manager: Salary and Career Facts

Explore the career requirements for food demonstration managers. Get the facts about the job duties, education requirements and salary expectations to determine whether this is the right career for you. Schools offering Business degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Food Demonstration Manager?

A food demonstration manager is in charge of product promotions for food companies and dining establishments. They design and implement campaigns to generate customer interest in the organization's product. For instance, they might organize events where they hand out free food samples, or they may set up cooking exhibitions. At the same time, they make sure that these events directly generate business, so they may include the opportunity to buy a food product.

Food demonstration managers may also sign customers up for marketing emails or hand out flyers with a restaurant's address in order to bring diners to the establishment in the future. Read more in the table below about what these managers do and what kind of salary you might expect.

Degree Required High school diploma or GED
Licensing/Certification Various certification programs exist; requirements and administration vary by state and industry
Key Responsibilities Work with venue managers; understand food safety procedures; manage staff; order supplies; transport materials; handle staff and event scheduling; arrange displays
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 9% (for demonstrators and product promoters)
Median Salary (2015)* Annual: $24,940
Hourly: $11.99
(for demonstrators and product promoters)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Does a Food Demonstration Manager Do?

A food demonstration manager is in charge of employees who provide food samples or cooking demonstrations at grocery stores, retail stores, food events and other places where food is sold. Placing demonstrators at events, hiring new employees, managing event schedules, setting up events and monitoring the results of events are all part of your job as a food demonstration manager.

Coordinating an event might involve speaking with managers at the location where the food demonstration will occur to discuss what foods will be sampled, how many demonstrations will be given and negotiating other details of the event. You might not work at different locations; in some cases, you might be employed by a store and only oversee demonstrations within that store.

Your event planning tasks involve managing the demonstrators, preparing the location and working with the product vendors. Your demonstrators are representing the vendor and offering food samples to try to get consumers to buy the item, so you must make sure the products are properly displayed and offered to customers in a way that is appealing and tasty. You need to order the correct amount of food for the samples, coordinate transportation to the location, organize the preparation of the samples and make sure products are handled safely.

This management position might also involve training employees, monitoring work performances, giving evaluations, addressing problems and keeping employees on track during events. You might have to discipline or fire an employee whose performance is not up to standards.

What Training Is Required?

According to job ads posted by employers on Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com, you do not need formal education for this career; a high school diploma is often the only education requirement. Employers might prefer experience in management, however, and preference is usually given if you have experience in food service, hospitality or retail.

Employers also want to see some specific skills and abilities, including attention to detail, leadership abilities, communication skills and the ability to multitask. You also need to be open to a flexible schedule that might include nights and weekends. Being able to work with employees and handle different types of human resource issues is also important.

Some employers might require you to speak an additional language, have a clean driving record and pass a criminal background check. For work in specific stores, you might have to undergo an employer training program, including passing tests to earn store certifications.

Are There Other Requirements?

The food service industry is regulated by different local, state and federal laws. The job of a food demonstrator might involve some required certifications, licensing or permits. As a manager of food demonstrators, you may also have to conform to these requirements. For example, in Suffolk County, New York, serving food at specific events or locations might require you to obtain a permit or secure a food manager certificate, according to the county Bureau of Public Health Protection (www.suffolkcountyny.gov).

While not required, you might also consider earning the Master Advertising Specialist certification or the Certified Advertising Specialist certification from the Promotional Products Association International (www.ppai.org). These certifications allow you to prove leadership and management skills, as well as knowledge of the promotion of products, to potential employers.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

If you are looking for a supervisory position in the food industry, you could also consider becoming a food services manager. Rather than overseeing promotional events for a food-related company, you would oversee all operations of a dining establishment, from kitchen staff scheduling to budget management to food preparation oversight. For this job, you would need at least a high school diploma. Alternatively, if you are interested in marketing, you could serve as an advertising sales agent for a non-food-related company. Depending on the field, your duties could include contacting potential clients, giving sales presentations and conducting cost estimate analyses. A high school diploma is the minimum educational requirement for this job as well.

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