Food Service Managers

Summary

food service managers image
Food service managers are responsible for the daily operation of a restaurant.
Quick Facts: Food Service Managers
2015 Median Pay $48,690 per year
$23.41 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education High school diploma or equivalent
Work Experience in a Related Occupation Less than 5 years
On-the-job Training None
Number of Jobs, 2014 305,000
Job Outlook, 2014-24 5% (As fast as average)
Employment Change, 2014-24 15,700

What Food Service Managers Do

Food service managers are responsible for the daily operation of restaurants and other establishments that prepare and serve food and beverages. They direct staff to ensure that customers are satisfied with their dining experience, and they manage the business to ensure that it is profitable.

Work Environment

Food service managers work in restaurants, hotels, school cafeterias, and other establishments where food is prepared and served. They often work evenings, weekends, and holidays. The work can be hectic, and dealing with dissatisfied customers can be stressful.

How to Become a Food Service Manager

Most applicants qualify with a high school diploma and several years of work experience in the food service industry. However, some may receive additional training at a community college, technical or vocational school, culinary school, or 4-year college.

Pay

The median annual wage for food service managers was $48,690 in May 2015.

Job Outlook

Employment of food service managers is projected to grow 5 percent from 2014 to 2024, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Those with several years of work experience in food service and a degree in hospitality, restaurant, or food service management will have the best job opportunities.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for food service managers.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of food service managers with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about food service managers by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What Food Service Managers Do About this section

food service managers image
Food service managers ensure that customers are satisfied with their dining experience.

Food service managers are responsible for the daily operation of restaurants and other establishments that prepare and serve food and beverages. They direct staff to ensure that customers are satisfied with their dining experience, and they manage the business to ensure that it is profitable. 

Duties

Food service managers typically do the following:

  • Hire, train, oversee, and sometimes fire employees
  • Order food and beverages, equipment, and supplies
  • Oversee food preparation, portion sizes, and the overall presentation of food
  • 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 any delays in service.

Food service managers are responsible for all functions of the business related to employees. For example, most managers interview, hire, train, oversee, appraise, discipline, and sometimes fire employees. Managers also schedule work hours, making sure that enough workers are present to cover each shift. During busy periods, they may expedite service by helping to serve customers, processing payments, or cleaning tables.

Managers also arrange for cleaning and maintenance services for 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.

Most managers perform a variety of administrative tasks, such as managing employee records and preparing the payroll. 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 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.

Those who manage their own business often deal with suppliers and arrange for the delivery of food and beverages and other supplies.

Full-service restaurants (those with table service) may have a management team that includes a general manager, one or more assistant managers, and an executive chef.

Work Environment About this section

Food service managers
Some food service managers oversee multiple locations of a restaurant chain or franchise.

Food service managers held about 305,000 jobs in 2014. They typically work in restaurants, including fine-dining and fast-food chains and franchises. Others work in hotels, catering, and other establishments, such as cafeterias in schools, hospitals, or offices. In 2014, about 1 in 3 food service managers were self-employed.

Many food service managers work long shifts, and the job is often hectic. Dealing with dissatisfied customers can sometimes be stressful.

Work Schedules

Most food service managers work full time. Managers at fine-dining and fast-food restaurants often work long shifts, and some work more than 40 hours per week. Managers of institutional food service facilities in schools, factories, or office buildings usually work traditional business hours. Those who oversee multiple locations of a chain or franchise may be called in on short notice, including evenings, weekends, and holidays.

How to Become a Food Service Manager About this section

Food service managers
Some food service managers start working in industry-related jobs, such as cooks.

Most applicants qualify with a high school diploma and several years of work experience in the food service industry as a cook, waiter or waitress, or counter attendant. Some applicants have received additional training at a community college, technical or vocational school, culinary school, or 4-year college.

Education

Although a bachelor’s degree is not required, some postsecondary education is increasingly preferred for many manager positions, especially 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 real-life food industry-related experiences in order to graduate.

Many colleges and universities offer bachelor’s degree programs in restaurant and hospitality management or institutional food service management. In addition, numerous community colleges, technical institutes, and other institutions offer programs in the field that lead to an associate’s degree. 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.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Most food service managers start working in industry-related jobs, such as cooks, waiters and waitresses, or hosts and hostesses. They often spend years working under the direction of an experienced worker, learning the necessary skills before they are promoted to manager positions.

Training

Managers who work for restaurant chains and food service management companies may be required to complete programs that combine classroom instruction and on-the-job training. Topics may include food preparation, sanitation, security, company policies, personnel management, and recordkeeping.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Although certification is not required, managers may obtain the Food Protection Managers Certification (FPMC) by passing a food safety exam. The American National Standards Institute accredits institutions that offer the FPMC.

In addition, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation awards the Foodservice Management Professional (FMP) designation, a voluntary certification to managers who meet the following criteria:

  • Have supervisory experience in food service
  • Have specialized training in food safety
  • Pass a multiple-choice exam

The certification attests to professional competence, particularly for managers who learned their skills on the job.

Important Qualities

Business skills. Food service managers, especially those who run their own restaurant, must understand all aspects of the restaurant business. They should know how to budget for supplies, set prices, and manage workers to ensure that the restaurant is profitable.

Communication skills. Food service managers must give clear orders to staff and be able to communicate effectively with employees and customers.

Customer-service skills. Food service managers must be courteous and attentive when dealing with patrons. Satisfying customers’ dining needs is critical to business success and ensures customer loyalty.

Detail oriented. Managers deal with many different types of activities. They ensure that there is enough food to serve to customers, they maintain financial records, and they ensure that the food meets health and safety standards.

Leadership skills. Managers must establish good working relationships to maintain a productive work environment. Carrying out this task may involve motivating workers and leading by example.

Organizational skills. Food service managers keep track of many different schedules, budgets, and staff. Their job becomes more complex as the size of the restaurant or food service facility increases.

Physical stamina. Managers, especially those who run their own restaurant, often work long shifts and sometimes spend entire evenings on their feet helping to serve customers.

Problem-solving skills. Managers need to be able to resolve personnel issues and customer-related problems.

Pay About this section

Food Service Managers

Median annual wages, May 2015

Management occupations

$98,560

Food service managers

$48,690

Total, all occupations

$36,200

 

The median annual wage for food service managers was $48,690 in May 2015. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $28,780, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $83,010.

Most food service managers work full time. Managers at some restaurants, such as fine-dining and fast-food restaurants, often work long shifts, and some of these managers work more than 40 hours per week. Managers of institutional food service facilities in schools, factories, or office buildings usually work traditional business hours. Those who oversee multiple locations of a chain or franchise may be called in on short notice, including evenings, weekends, and holidays.

Job Outlook About this section

Food Service Managers

Percent change in employment, projected 2014-24

Total, all occupations

7%

Management occupations

6%

Food service managers

5%

 

Employment of food service managers is projected to grow 5 percent from 2014 to 2024, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

Population and income growth are expected to result in greater demand for food at a variety of dining establishments. People will continue to dine out, purchase takeout meals, or have food delivered to their homes or workplaces. In response to increased consumer demand, more restaurants, cafeterias, and catering services are expected to open and serve more meals. Many of these establishments will require food service managers to oversee food preparation and service.

As a cost-saving measure, some companies may hire only one manager to oversee multiple restaurant or cafeteria locations or use first-line supervisors to perform the work usually done by managers. Consequently, some of these establishments may require fewer food service managers.

Job Prospects

Job opportunities should be best for food service managers with several years of work experience in a restaurant or food service establishment. Most job openings will result from the need to replace managers who leave the occupation.

Jobseekers with a combination of work experience in food service and a bachelor’s degree in hospitality, restaurant, or food service management should have an edge when competing for jobs at upscale hotels and restaurants.

Employment projections data for food service managers, 2014-24
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2014 Projected Employment, 2024 Change, 2014-24 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Food service managers

11-9051 305,000 320,700 5 15,700 [XLSX]

State & Area Data About this section

Occupational Employment Statistics (OES)

The Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The link(s) below go to OES data maps for employment and wages by state and area.

Projections Central

Occupational employment projections are developed for all states by Labor Market Information (LMI) or individual state Employment Projections offices. All state projections data are available at www.projectionscentral.com. Information on this site allows projected employment growth for an occupation to be compared among states or to be compared within one state. In addition, states may produce projections for areas; there are links to each state’s websites where these data may be retrieved.

Career InfoNet

America’s Career InfoNet includes hundreds of occupational profiles with data available by state and metro area. There are links in the left-hand side menu to compare occupational employment by state and occupational wages by local area or metro area. There is also a salary info tool to search for wages by zip code.

Similar Occupations About this section

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of food service managers.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION Help 2015 MEDIAN PAY Help
Bartenders

Bartenders

Bartenders mix drinks and serve them directly to customers or through wait staff.

No formal educational credential $19,530
Chefs and head cooks

Chefs and Head Cooks

Chefs and head cooks oversee the daily food preparation at restaurants and other places where food is served. They direct kitchen staff and handle any food-related concerns.

High school diploma or equivalent $41,500
Lodging managers

Lodging Managers

Lodging managers ensure that guests on vacation or business travel have a pleasant experience at a hotel, motel, or other types of establishment with accommodations. They also ensure that the establishment is run efficiently and profitably.

High school diploma or equivalent $49,720
Sales managers

Sales Managers

Sales managers direct organizations' sales teams. They set sales goals, analyze data, and develop training programs for organizations’ sales representatives.

Bachelor's degree $113,860
Waiters and waitresses

Waiters and Waitresses

Waiters and waitresses take orders and serve food and beverages to customers in dining establishments.

No formal educational credential $19,250

Contacts for More Information About this section

For more information about the Food Protection Manager Certification, visit

American National Standards Institute

For more information about food service managers, including a directory of college programs in food service, visit

National Restaurant Association

For more information about food service managers and certification as a Foodservice Management Professional, visit

National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation

For general information about food service managers, visit

Society for Hospitality and Foodservice Management

O*NET

Food Service Managers

Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Food Service Managers,
on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/food-service-managers.htm (visited September 24, 2016).

Publish Date: Thursday, December 17, 2015

What They Do

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Work Environment

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How to Become One

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Pay

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State & Area Data

The State and Area Data tab provides links to state and area occupational data from the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program, state projections data from Projections Central, and occupational information from the Department of Labor's Career InfoNet.

Job Outlook

The Job Outlook tab describes the factors that affect employment growth or decline in the occupation, and in some instances, describes the relationship between the number of job seekers and the number of job openings.

Similar Occupations

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Contacts for More Information

The More Information tab provides the Internet addresses of associations, government agencies, unions, and other organizations that can provide additional information on the occupation. This tab also includes links to relevant occupational information from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET).

2015 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics survey. In May 2015, the median annual wage for all workers was $36,200.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

Work experience in a related occupation

Work experience that is commonly considered necessary by employers, or is a commonly accepted substitute for more formal types of training or education.

Number of Jobs, 2014

The employment, or size, of this occupation in 2014, which is the base year of the 2014-24 employment projections.

Job Outlook, 2014-24

The projected percent change in employment from 2014 to 2024. The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.

Employment Change, 2014-24

The projected numeric change in employment from 2014 to 2024.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Employment Change, projected 2014-24

The projected numeric change in employment from 2014 to 2024.

Growth Rate (Projected)

The percent change of employment for each occupation from 2014 to 2024.

Projected Number of New Jobs

The projected numeric change in employment from 2014 to 2024.

Projected Growth Rate

The projected percent change in employment from 2014 to 2024.

2015 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics survey. In May 2015, the median annual wage for all workers was $36,200.