Restaurant and Catering Management
Restaurant and catering managers are responsible for ensuring that the daily operations of a restaurant or catering company run smoothly. If you're interested in a career where leadership skills, the ability to work in a fast-paced environment and a passion for food are essential, a career in restaurant and catering management may be right for you.
Is Restaurant and Catering Management for Me?
An undergraduate degree in restaurant and catering management or a related field can be a jump-off point for careers in hospitality, including food and beverage operations, restaurant management and catering management. Some restaurant and catering managers start as food service workers and work their way up to a management position. As a manager in this industry, you would handle an array of duties, such as hiring and training staff, handling customer service complaints, managing kitchen orders and preparing employee payroll. Your work schedule can vary, but it's likely to involve long work hours several days per week.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that about 321,400 individuals had a food service manager career as of 2012 (www.bls.gov). A large portion of these professionals were self-employed as owners of small restaurants or other food and beverage businesses. Others worked for hotels, theme parks, schools or hospitals. According to the BLS, food service managers earned a median annual wage of $48,080 as of May 2013. Over the 2012-2022 decade, the BLS projected very little, if any, employment growth for this field, with a 2% increase expected. If you have a degree and/or experience in hospitality, you could see higher job opportunities.
How Can I Work in Restaurant and Catering Management?
It can take two years to complete an associate's degree in restaurant and catering management or four years to earn a bachelor's degree in restaurant management. As a restaurant and catering management student, you may take courses that cover practices like staff training and management, quality control, sanitation and food safety, operations management and table service. In this type of program, you also have the opportunity to learn about restaurant accounting practices, marketing strategies and professional cooking.
In addition to completing a degree program in restaurant and catering management, or in a related field like hospitality management or food and beverage operations, graduates can choose to pursue related certification opportunities. For instance, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation offers a Foodservice Management Professional (FMP) certification, which has additional training for those who wish to pursue opportunities for advancement. FMP certification candidates must finish a series of food service courses and pass a written exam.