Food service managers are responsible for the daily operation of restaurants or other establishments that prepare and serve food and beverages.
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Food service managers typically do the following:
- Hire, train, discipline, and sometimes fire employees
- Order food and beverages, equipment, and supplies
- Oversee food preparation and other kitchen operations
- Inspect supplies, equipment, and work areas
- Ensure that employees comply with health and food safety standards
- Address complaints regarding food quality or service
- Schedule staff hours and assign duties
- Manage budgets and payroll records
- Establish standards for personnel performance and customer service
Managers coordinate activities of the kitchen and dining room staff to ensure that customers are served properly and in a timely manner. They oversee orders in the kitchen, and, if needed, they work with the chef to remedy service delays.
Food service managers are responsible for all functions of the business related to employees, including overseeing staffing and scheduling workers for each shift. During busy periods, managers may expedite service by helping to serve customers, process payments, or clean tables.
Managers also arrange for cleaning and maintenance of the equipment and facility in order to comply with health and sanitary regulations. For example, they may arrange for trash removal, pest control, and heavy cleaning when the dining room and kitchen are not in use.
In addition, managers have financial responsibilities that include budgeting, ensuring cash flow, and monitoring operational costs. They may set sales goals and determine promotional items.
Most managers prepare the payroll and manage employee records. They also may review or complete paperwork related to licensing, taxes and wages, and unemployment compensation. Although they sometimes assign these tasks to an assistant manager or a bookkeeper, most managers are responsible for the accuracy of business records.
Some managers add up the cash and charge slips and secure them in a safe place. They also may check that ovens, grills, and other equipment are properly cleaned and secured and that the establishment is locked at the close of business.
Communication skills. Food service managers must give clear orders to staff and be able to convey information effectively to employees and customers.
Customer-service skills. Food service managers must be courteous and attentive when dealing with patrons.
Leadership skills. Managers must establish good relationships with staff to maintain a productive work environment.
Organizational skills. Managers have many different responsibilities, including scheduling and overseeing staff, budgeting, and maintaining financial records. The larger the establishment, the more complex their job is.
Physical stamina. Managers often work long shifts and sometimes spend entire evenings actively helping to serve customers.
Problem-solving skills. Managers need to be able to resolve personnel issues and customer-related problems.
- Restaurants and other eating places
- Self-employed workers
- Special food services
Food service managers typically need a high school diploma, but education requirements for individual positions may vary from no formal educational credential to a college degree.
Employers may prefer to hire candidates who have postsecondary education, especially for jobs at upscale restaurants and hotels. Some food service companies, hotels, and restaurant chains recruit management trainees from college hospitality or food service management programs. These programs may require the participants to work in internships and to have food-industry–related experiences in order to graduate.
Many colleges and universities offer a bachelor’s degree in restaurant and hospitality management or institutional food service management, both of which may be part of a personal and culinary services program. Another field of degree that may be helpful for managers in the business. In addition, numerous community colleges, technical institutes, and other institutions offer associate’s degree programs. Some culinary schools offer programs in restaurant management with courses designed for those who want to start and run their own restaurant.
Most programs provide instruction in nutrition, sanitation, and food preparation, as well as courses in accounting, business law, and management. Some programs combine classroom and practical study with internships.
Food service managers typically receive on-the-job training of at least 1 month. Topics covered during this training may include food preparation, sanitation, security, company policies, personnel management, and recordkeeping.