What Training Is Required for a Food Service Management Career?

Careers in food service management typically include positions in restaurants, hotels, and fast food. Individuals working in food service management positions need a variety of skills that can be acquired through training in hospitality, marketing, sales, and accounting. Schools offering Restaurant & Catering Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

Individuals working in food service management run restaurants or other eateries and dining establishments. Specific job titles can include general managers, restaurant managers, and kitchen managers. Factors contributing to an individual's ability to become a food service manager include experience, formal education, and certification.

Important Facts about this Occupation

Average Salary (2014) $53,500
Job Outlook (2014-2024) 5%
Key Skills Skilled at: business, customer service, leadership, organization, problem solving, attention to detail
Similar Occupations Chefs and Head Cooks, Lodging Managers, Waiters and Waitresses, Bartenders, Restaurant Owners

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics


One way to begin a career in food service management is by starting at an entry-level position such as a cook or member of the wait staff. It may take several years of work experience for a worker to be promoted to a manager. This method of promoting experienced staff to manager is most common in fast food restaurants. In these situations, restaurant chains and food service management companies may offer additional training in-house or pay for external training of the individual.

Formal Education

Many restaurants prefer applicants that have some postsecondary education, states the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov). Degrees, especially those with an internship or work-term component, provide students with valuable practical experience and skills needed to work in the industry. Ultimately though, it depends on the person and where he or she wants to work.

Full-service, high-end operations and corporate positions may require a bachelor's degree. Individuals most interested in running their own businesses will need a formal education that provides management training and business know-how. Degrees in business, hospitality management, or food services management are viable and recommended options to work in the food service industry. For those who are not interested in four years of postsecondary education, there are associate degrees and certificate programs that may be helpful as well.


The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation administers the credential FMP (Foodservice Management Professional). In order to earn this designation, a food service manager must have relevant work experience, take several courses, and pass a written exam. This is a voluntary certification that may help one advance.

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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    • Illinois: Belleville
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    • Illinois: Decatur
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    • Illinois: Ina
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    • Nebraska: Norfolk
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    • Pennsylvania: Bethlehem
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    • Illinois: Mattoon
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    • Illinois: Centralia
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    • Pennsylvania: Youngwood
  • Illinois Valley Community College

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    • Illinois: Oglesby