Food and Beverage Operations Bachelor's Degree

A bachelor's degree specializing in food and beverage operations can help you secure a position of responsibility at a restaurant, hotel or another hospitality-oriented facility. Read on for more program information, and find out about typical classes, certification, online study and job prospects.

What Is a Food and Beverage Operations Bachelor's Degree Program?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that many food service managers do not hold a bachelor's degree ( However, the BLS also states that the food service and hospitality industry has become very competitive. While industry experience is still a requirement for a management position, many employers prefer to hire someone with a 2- or 4-year degree in an appropriate major.

Essentially, a food and beverage operations bachelor's degree program prepares you to oversee the day-to-day operation of an establishment. You learn about menu planning, food and beverage estimation needs, order placement, inventory tracking, risk management, effective employee management and customer relations. A program can consist of 120-190 credits and take you about four years to complete

In order to help you locate a reputable bachelor's degree program, you may find the National Restaurant Association to be a helpful source ( At its website the National Restaurant Association maintains a directory of about 1,000 postsecondary degree programs dealing with restaurant or hospitality management. It also maintains a list of sources where you can apply for financial aid.

Program Length A program takes about 4 years to complete
Common Courses Special events planning, food and beverage operations, dining room operations, food and beverage pairing, food service information technology
Certification Options Foodservice Management Professional (FMP) certification exam available through National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation
Online Availability Online degree-completion programs are available for those who hold an associate's degree
Job Growth 9% growth projected from 2016-2026 for food service managers
Mean Salary (2018) $58,960 per year for all food service managers

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Will I Study?

You may earn a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts in an area such as hospitality, restaurant, food service or hotel management with an emphasis or major in food and beverage management.

Typical courses can include food and beverage operations, food and beverage pairing, food and beverage management and control, special events planning, mixology management, dining room operations, customer service, food service accounting and food service information technology. You'll likely participate in an internship either at a school-operated facility or a school-partnered independent business. Schools may also offer the opportunity to study abroad.

With a bachelor's degree, completion of a series of specialized courses and at least two years of work experience, you may be eligible to sit for the Foodservice Management Professional (FMP) certification examination. The exam is administered by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. While voluntary, certification can attest to your professional competence and may enhance your advancement possibilities.

Are There Any Online Opportunities?

Schools may give you the opportunity to participate in online degree-completion programs, which consist of upper-level courses. You may qualify for admission if you hold an associate's degree in a field such as culinary arts or hospitality management. An online degree-completion program may suit you if you're already working in the food service or hospitality industry.

What Is the Career Outlook?

In 2018, the BLS projected employment opportunities for food service managers would increase nine percent from 2016-2026. This is as fast as the projected national average for all occupations. Facing stiff job competition, you might be at a distinct advantage if you hold an appropriate bachelor's degree. In 2018, the BLS also determined the mean annual wage for food service managers to be $58,960.