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Food Service Managers

Summary

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Quick Facts: Food Service Managers
2021 Median Pay $59,440 per year
$28.58 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 Short-term on-the-job training
Number of Jobs, 2021 329,100
Job Outlook, 2021-31 10% (Faster than average)
Employment Change, 2021-31 32,300

What Food Service Managers Do

Food service managers are responsible for the daily operation of restaurants or other establishments that prepare and serve food and beverages.

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 is often hectic, and dealing with dissatisfied customers may be stressful.

How to Become a Food Service Manager

Food service managers typically need a high school diploma and several years of work experience in the food service industry. Some receive additional training at community colleges, technical or vocational schools, culinary schools, or 4-year colleges.

Pay

The median annual wage for food service managers was $59,440 in May 2021.

Job Outlook

Employment of food service managers is projected to grow 10 percent from 2021 to 2031, faster than the average for all occupations.

About 45,000 openings for food service managers are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

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 or 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 runs efficiently.

Duties

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.

Work Environment About this section

Food service managers
Food service managers’ schedules vary and may include nights, weekends, and holidays.

Food service managers held about 329,100 jobs in 2021. The largest employers of food service managers were as follows:

Restaurants and other eating places 50%
Self-employed workers 33
Special food services 4
Accommodation 2

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.

Food service managers’ work is often hectic, and dealing with dissatisfied customers may be stressful.

Injuries and illnesses

Kitchens are usually crowded and filled with dangerous objects and areas, such as hot ovens and slippery floors. As a result, injuries are a risk for food service managers, who may spend some of their time helping in the kitchen. Common hazards include slips, falls, and cuts. To reduce these risks, managers often wear nonslip shoes while in the kitchen.

Work Schedules

Most food service managers work full time, and some work more than 40 hours per week. Work schedules vary and may include early mornings, nights, weekends, and holidays. They may be called in at short notice.

Managers of food service facilities or cafeterias in schools, factories, or office buildings may be more likely to work traditional business hours.

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.

Food service managers typically need a high school diploma and several years of experience in the food service industry working as a cook, waiter or waitress, or supervisor of food preparation and serving workers. Some receive additional training at a community college, technical or vocational school, culinary school, or 4-year college.

Education

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 is 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.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Most food service managers start working in related jobs, such as cooks, waiters and waitresses, or supervisors of food preparation and serving workers. They often spend years working in the food service industry, gaining experience and learning the necessary skills before they are promoted to manager positions.

Training

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.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Some states and localities require that food service managers have food safety certification. For more information, contact your state or local health department.

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

Important Qualities

Business skills. Food service managers must understand all aspects of the restaurant business, including how to budget for supplies, comply with regulations, and manage workers.

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.

Pay About this section

Food Service Managers

Median annual wages, May 2021

Management occupations

$102,450

Food service managers

$59,440

Total, all occupations

$45,760

 

The median annual wage for food service managers was $59,440 in May 2021. 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 $36,630, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $98,070.

In May 2021, the median annual wages for food service managers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Accommodation $73,650
Special food services 70,160
Restaurants and other eating places 58,500

Most food service managers work full time, and some work more than 40 hours per week. Work schedules vary and may include early mornings, nights, weekends, and holidays. They may be called in at short notice.

Job Outlook About this section

Food Service Managers

Percent change in employment, projected 2021-31

Food service managers

10%

Management occupations

8%

Total, all occupations

5%

 

Employment of food service managers is projected to grow 10 percent from 2021 to 2031, faster than the average for all occupations.

About 45,000 openings for food service managers are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Employment

Much of the projected employment growth in this occupation is due to recovery from the COVID-19 recession of 2020.

Food service managers will be needed to oversee food preparation and service as people continue to dine out, purchase takeout meals, and have food delivered to their homes or workplaces. However, more dining establishments are expected to rely on chefs and head cooks instead of hiring additional food service managers, which should limit employment growth in this occupation.

Employment projections data for food service managers, 2021-31
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2021 Projected Employment, 2031 Change, 2021-31 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

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

Food service managers

11-9051 329,100 361,400 10 32,300 Get data

State & Area Data About this section

Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS)

The Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) 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 OEWS 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.

CareerOneStop

CareerOneStop 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 on Entry-Level Education 2021 MEDIAN PAY Help on Median Pay
Bartenders Bartenders

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

No formal educational credential $26,350
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.

High school diploma or equivalent $50,160
Lodging managers Lodging Managers

Lodging managers ensure that traveling guests have a pleasant experience at their establishment with accommodations. They also ensure that the business is run efficiently and profitably.

High school diploma or equivalent $59,430
Sales managers Sales Managers

Sales managers direct organizations' sales teams.

Bachelor's degree $127,490
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 $26,000
Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Food Service Managers,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/food-service-managers.htm (visited September 09, 2022).

Last Modified Date: Thursday, September 8, 2022

What They Do

The What They Do tab describes the typical duties and responsibilities of workers in the occupation, including what tools and equipment they use and how closely they are supervised. This tab also covers different types of occupational specialties.

Work Environment

The Work Environment tab includes the number of jobs held in the occupation and describes the workplace, the level of physical activity expected, and typical hours worked. It may also discuss the major industries that employed the occupation. This tab may also describe opportunities for part-time work, the amount and type of travel required, any safety equipment that is used, and the risk of injury that workers may face.

How to Become One

The How to Become One tab describes how to prepare for a job in the occupation. This tab can include information on education, training, work experience, licensing and certification, and important qualities that are required or helpful for entering or working in the occupation.

Pay

The Pay tab describes typical earnings and how workers in the occupation are compensated—annual salaries, hourly wages, commissions, tips, or bonuses. Within every occupation, earnings vary by experience, responsibility, performance, tenure, and geographic area. For most profiles, this tab has a table with wages in the major industries employing the occupation. It does not include pay for self-employed workers, agriculture workers, or workers in private households because these data are not collected by the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) survey, the source of BLS wage data in the OOH.

State & Area Data

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

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

The Similar Occupations tab describes occupations that share similar duties, skills, interests, education, or training with the occupation covered in the profile.

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).

2021 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 and Wage Statistics survey. In May 2021, the median annual wage for all workers was $45,760.

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, 2021

The employment, or size, of this occupation in 2021, which is the base year of the 2021-31 employment projections.

Job Outlook, 2021-31

The projected percent change in employment from 2021 to 2031. The average growth rate for all occupations is 5 percent.

Employment Change, 2021-31

The projected numeric change in employment from 2021 to 2031.

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 2021-31

The projected numeric change in employment from 2021 to 2031.

Growth Rate (Projected)

The percent change of employment for each occupation from 2021 to 2031.

Projected Number of New Jobs

The projected numeric change in employment from 2021 to 2031.

Projected Growth Rate

The projected percent change in employment from 2021 to 2031.

2021 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 and Wage Statistics survey. In May 2021, the median annual wage for all workers was $45,760.