Becoming a Restaurant Owner: Job Description & Steps

Check out this article to learn how to become a restaurant owner. Here you can discover what you would do on a daily basis as an owner and the steps you need to take to get there. Schools offering Hotel & Restaurant Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Information at a Glance

Restaurant owners oversee the day-to-day operations of a restaurant, managing staff, resolve customer issues and work to make the establishment profitable. Although no degree is required, restaurant owners typically have a wealth of experience in the business. In the table below, you'll find a brief outline of the career.

Education High school diploma
Optional Field of Study Restaurant management, institutional food service management
Training Required Food prep, sanitation, recordkeeping and more
Key Skills Customer-service, leadership, problem-solving
Optional Certification Food Protection Manager Certification (FPMC)

What Do Restaurant Owners Do?

In managing their establishments, restaurant owners wear a lot of hats. Their overarching goal is to make sure that customers are satisfied with their food and that the restaurant turns a profit. That means overseeing the kitchen staff as they prepare, cook and present the meals, monitoring the wait staff as they serve customers and working with the cleaning staff to make sure everything is up to food and health safety standards. Owners are also in charge of keeping track of inventory, doing payroll, managing the budget and making a schedule for the workers, though owners may choose to delegate some or all of these tasks to a manager.

What Skills Are Helpful in the Business?

There are a variety of skills that can help you be successful as an owner. Because you'll be dealing with customers (and their satisfaction is your ultimate goal), you need an attitude of service. The customer may not always be right, but treating them that way will increase repeat business. You'll also be the head of a relatively large staff of cooks, managers and servers, so having leadership skills is vital as well. Finally, being a restaurant owner means putting out fires (sometimes literally), so problem-solving skills can really come in handy.

Do You Need a Degree to Be a Restaurant Owner?

There's no degree required to become a restaurant owner. Technically, having the money to start a restaurant is all you need. However, in a practical sense, and if you want your restaurant to be a success, you might attend culinary schools, technical colleges or universities. Culinary schools focus on food prep, food safety and developing cooking skills, and some offer courses in restaurant management. In addition, a variety of 4-year universities have degrees in restaurant management or institutional food service management, which can help owners understand how to run the day-to-day operations.

What Experience Do Restaurant Owners Need?

If you want to become a restaurant owner, it helps tremendously to get some experience working in a restaurant first. Some owners start out at the bottom of the industry, washing dishes, serving tables or preparing meals. There, they learn the business and work their way up into management positions before running the show themselves.

Do You Need Any Certifications?

While there are no required certifications for the restaurant management business, there are a few things owners can do to advance their knowledge. One is the Food Protection Manager Certification (FPMC), which is accredited by the American National Standards Institute. The FPMC is a food safety exam that shows the owner has a deep understanding of proper food handling procedures.

Owners can also be awarded the Foodservice Management Professional (FMP) designation from the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. The FMP demonstrates proficiency in staff supervision and food safety, which is an especially important certification for owners with no formal education.

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

  • Strayer University

    Strayer University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Strayer University:

    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Penn Foster High School

    Penn Foster High School responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Penn Foster High School:

    Online Programs Available

  • The University of Montana

    Campus Locations:

    • Montana: Missoula
  • Ferris State University

    Campus Locations:

    • Michigan: Big Rapids
  • Sullivan University

    Campus Locations:

    • Kentucky: Louisville
  • Milwaukee Area Technical College

    Campus Locations:

    • Wisconsin: Milwaukee
  • Johnson & Wales University

    Campus-Based Programs Available:

    View All Locations
    • Colorado: Denver
    • Florida: Denver, North Miami
    • North Carolina: Denver, North Miami, Charlotte
    • Rhode Island: Denver, North Miami, Charlotte, Providence
  • Southwestern College

    Campus Locations:

    • California: Chula Vista
  • Wiregrass Georgia Technical College

    Campus Locations:

    • Georgia: Valdosta