What Is a Food and Beverage Manager?

Research what it takes to become a food and beverage manager. Learn about the job duties, education requirements, job outlook and salary 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 Food and Beverage Manager?

Also referred to as food service managers, food and beverage managers can work in numerous settings, such as restaurants, fast food chains, school cafeterias and hotels. Regardless of the work environment, these managers make all of the decisions in reference to food and beverage for a facility serving those items. They oversee employees and make sure they comply with various health and safety standards. Food and beverage managers monitor inventory and inspect equipment and work areas to make sure everything is in order. Their administrative duties include managing budgets and payrolls, scheduling staff shifts and enforcing customer service standards. Food and beverage managers also strive to ensure customer satisfaction by addressing any complaints and checking the overall presentation of food. More information about this career is listed in the following chart:

Education Required High school diploma and on-the-job training; postsecondary education is preferred
Key Responsibilities Supervise the daily operation of a food establishment, oversee ordering of food and beverages, manage payroll and budgets, resolve customer complaints, hire and fire staff
Job Growth (2014-2024) 5% (for all food service managers)*
Median Salary (2016) $45,643**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com

What are the Job Duties of a Food and Beverage Manager?

As a food and beverage manager, you are responsible for overseeing the dining services for a restaurant, hotel or similar establishment. Your primary goals include ensuring service standards and complying with health regulations. Specific job duties might include hiring service staff, hiring bartenders, training staff, ordering food and drinks, planning menus, setting budgets for food and beverage orders, and conducting inventory.

When you work as a food and beverage manager, you are responsible for dealing with any issues that might come up during daily service operations. You must make sure that food and drinks are well-stocked, servers are prepared and customers are satisfied. You should have strong leadership and problem-solving skills before you take on such a position.

What Education Will I Need?

While it is possible to gain a position as a food and beverage manager through years of on-the-job training and experience-building, many employers prefer to hire candidates with some postsecondary education. One applicable degree program that can prepare you for such a position is a Bachelor of Science in Restaurant and Hospitality Management.

A 4-year degree in restaurant and hospitality management should provide you with a basic understanding of restaurant operations, management skills, human resources, business concepts and accounting. Many such programs can also require you to complete practical training experiences at local or university restaurants.

How Will I Find Work in the Field?

If you complete in a 2- or 4-year degree program in foodservice management, it is possible that a company will recruit you for a position as a food and beverage manager upon graduation. Many employers offer training programs for new recruits that will prepare you for a management position. You might also find a job working as an assistant manager or a foodservice manager and work your way up to the position of food and beverage manager.

What Salary Could I Expect to Make?

While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not offer specific data for food and beverage managers, it did report that food service managers in general held about 305,000 jobs around the country in 2014 (www.bls.gov). According to PayScale.com, the median salary of food and beverage managers working in October 2016 was $45,643.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

A bartender is a similar job that does not require any formal education. Bartenders serve mixed and other alcoholic drinks to customers over 21 years of age. Lodging managers, chefs and head cooks are also related positions. These jobs require at least a high school diploma. Lodging managers, like food and beverage managers, work to ensure customer satisfaction and oversee the daily activities of their lodging establishment. Chefs and head cooks manage the kitchen staff of a food establishment and oversee the food preparation process.

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