Food Service Management Colleges and Degrees

Food service managers oversee the production and service of food in a restaurant or other facility. Find out what degrees you can earn in this field and what you'll study. Get information on the accreditations you should look for when choosing a school. Schools offering Restaurant & Catering Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

A degree in food service management prepares you for a career as a restaurant, catering or kitchen manager; a food ingredient or equipment representative; or a general manager. If you have culinary or baking skills, you can also work as an executive chef. Potential employers include hotels, restaurants, sports event facilities, health care facilities or schools.

Degrees Associate's, bachelor's and master's degrees
Certificates Certificate in Food and Beverage Management, Master Certificate in Food Service Management
Courses Food and beverage cost controls, food preparation fundamentals, hospitality sanitation and safety, nutritional and local foods, supply chain management

What Is Food Service Management?

Food service management is the study of procuring, producing, distributing and serving public meals. Managers analyze consumer eating and tourism trends to plan menus and order the correct types and amounts of food for a restaurant, conference facility, hotel, spa or hospital.

What Topics Will I Study in an Undergraduate Degree Program?

Some associate's programs are designed to transfer credits toward a bachelor's degree. In an associate's degree program, you'll study sanitation, planning systems, nutrition, food preparation fundamentals, catering and accounting. You also complete internships in local or on-campus restaurants. Bachelor's degree programs teach business law, finance, human resource management, sustainable tourism, cost estimating and menu planning. Internships and senior capstone projects are common program components. A food service management associate's degree program might be available, in addition to a Bachelor of Applied Science in Culinary Science and Food Service Management degree. These course topics might be covered in an undergraduate degree program:

  • Applied hospitality
  • Beverage management
  • Nutrition
  • Food and beverage cost control
  • Food safety
  • Human communication

What Will I Study in a Graduate Program?

Most graduate programs require applicants to have food service management experience. To accommodate working students, these programs are usually available entirely online or in the evenings. In a master's degree program, you study workforce management, lodging management theory, foodborne illnesses, food safety and statistics. You also complete a thesis or a final research project. Doctoral programs teach food service equipment, waste management, organizational behavior and tourism economics. You also write and defend a dissertation. An online Master Certificate in Foodservice Management might be a possibility.

How Should I Select a College?

When considering schools with food service management programs, you should first ensure that the program is accredited by the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation Accrediting Commission (ACFEFAC). Graduating from an accredited school may better prepare you to work in the field and make your degree more attractive to employers.

Also, consider how internship opportunities will relate to your career goals. Many schools have on-campus restaurants or dining facilities, while others require students to complete internships at local restaurants or hotels. You may wish to work in a facility that mirrors your ideal work setting, or seek a school with affiliations to industry-renowned institutions so that you can build your resume and contact list while interning.

Finally, consider networking opportunities. Schools affiliated with the National Restaurant Association or American Culinary Federation and those that regularly bring speakers or host events can enable you to meet potential mentors or employers. These colleges offer food service management degrees:

  • Normandale Community College (Bloomington, MN)
  • Texas Woman's University (Denton)
  • Kendall College (Chicago, IL)
  • Cornell University (Ithaca, NY)
  • Delaware Technical and Community College (Various locations)

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:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Kaplan University

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  • Southwestern Illinois College

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