How Can I Become a Director of Dining Services?

Research what it takes to become a Director of Dining Services. Learn about degree requirements, salary and job outlook to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Restaurant & Catering Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Director of Dining Services?

A director of dining services is the manager of a dining establishment, such as a restaurant or cafeteria. They manage food and beverage services, business operations, staff, budgeting and food preparation. Directors may also develop goals for the establishment, such as better customer service or nutrition, and implement policies that support these objectives. In addition, they are responsible for ensuring that the establishment remains in compliance with all sanitation and safety standards. Learn more about this field by reviewing the table below.

Degree Required Postsecondary education, such as a bachelor's degree, is preferred
Education Field of Study Food service management
Key Skills Interpersonal, problem-solving, decision-making and leadership skills
Job Growth (2018-2028) 11% growth (for all food service managers)*
Median Salary (2018) $54,240 (for all food service managers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Does a Director of Dining Services Do?

As a director of dining services, you'll oversee the food and beverage plan for a business or organization. You could also manage the dining services of a cruise ship, hotel chain, assisted living facility or university. You're responsible for hiring and training all wait staff, chefs, prep cooks, dishwashers, hostesses and any other serving personnel. You're also responsible for setting menu selection and organizing a dining schedule. Other duties may include ordering kitchen supplies, establishing a budget, meeting nutritional guidelines and coordinating dining room activities.

What Educational Programs Are Available?

Different organizations may require you to have different levels of education and work experience before taking you on as a director of dining services. Some organizations will require you to have some type of culinary degree as well as experience acting as a chef. An applicable degree may be a Bachelor of Science in Food Service Management.

A 4-year bachelor's degree program in food service management will provide you with an understanding of the business side of foodservice. You'll learn the basics of food production, kitchen technology, human resources, menu development, food safety standards and cost control. You'll also study the legal aspects of food service and learn how to manage the marketing and financial plans for a foodservice establishment.

How Can I Find a Job in the Field?

Many organizations prefer to hire dining services directors who have some experience working in a kitchen or foodservice establishment. You might also go by the titles of dining services coordinator or dining services manager. If you're interested in advancing in the field, you may want to start out in the industry by finding a position as an assistant chef or chef in the foodservice industry. You might also find a position as a restaurant manager or assistant director of food services. From these positions you may be able to work your way up to the title of director of food services.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

If you are looking for a supervisory position in a dining establishment, you might also want to consider becoming a chef or head cook. Chefs and head cooks hold leadership positions and oversee staff, but they are also more involved in food preparation and menu development than dining service directors. To work as a chef, you need at least a high school diploma, and it can help to have completed postsecondary education in culinary arts. Outside of food service, you might also be interested in becoming a lodging manager. These professionals oversee the operations of hotels, motels and other hospitality industry establishments. The minimum educational requirement is a high school diploma or the equivalent.

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:

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  • Penn Foster High School

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  • Southwestern Illinois College

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    • Pennsylvania: Bethlehem
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    • Illinois: Oglesby