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Food Service Manager Job Description, Career as a Food Service Manager, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training: College preferred; food service experience required

Salary: Median—$43,020 per year

Employment Outlook: Good

Food service managers are expected to maintain many responsibilities simultaneously and should be familiar with all aspects of the food industry. Some tasks may include overseeing the daily operations of the restaurant, hiring staff, performing administrative duties, maintaining the food inventory, as well as recording and depositing the cash and credit receipts.

A food service manager’s workload depends on the type of the establishment. For example, in a fast-food environment, the food service manager can take on all responsibilities. However, in a larger facility, the management team may consist of up to two managers and an executive chef, who divide the duties and maintain particular tasks to get daily work completed. Food service managers may opt to work for full-service restaurants, fast-food establishments, limited-service diners, and institutional food service facilities.

Food service managers are usually self-motivated leaders who possess strong interpersonal skills, as well as good health and have the ability to handle several responsibilities simultaneously. They are constantly moving on the job, whether it is helping staff, resolving issues, dealing with customers, setting up large parties, or hauling inventory. They work long shifts and typically work some weekends and holidays.

Education and Training Requirements

Most food service industries prefer food service managers to have a college education. Therefore, much of the recruiting for managerial positions in full-service restaurants is done with the assistance of colleges and universities that provide 2- and 4-year college hospitality management programs with internships. On the other hand, self-serve diners and fast-food restaurants promote within the company and look for experienced workers, usually those with food and beverage expertise.

Most food service industries provide rigorous training which may last from six months to a year. Training programs usually include food preparation, company policies and procedures, nutrition, sanitation, security, personnel management, report preparation, recordkeeping, and instruction for operating the company’s computer systems. Aside from having a college education and food service experience, managers should be self-motivated leaders and excellent problem-solvers. They should have a clean appearance, strong interpersonal skills and be able to motivate and guide staff members as well as be in good physical health.

Getting the Job

Job seekers may apply directly to the food service industry of their choice. College placement offices and professional organizations may also list job opportunities for food service managers. Job seekers can also attend local job fairs which usually have representatives from several food service companies. Internships are also available through colleges and universities which are great stepping stones for future employment.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

The job outlook for food service managers is good for the next seven years. There is 5% growth expected for food service manager positions as well as future job openings due to retirement and managers moving onto other jobs. The food industry is constantly opening new dining facilities which will affect the need for additional food service managers. Most new positions are expected to arise within full-service restaurants while limited-service facilities will experience a decline. There is also expected to be an increase in managerial positions within special food services which includes food service contractors for health care facilities, schools, and other businesses.

Working Conditions

Most food service managers can expect to work long hours totaling a minimum of 50+ hours per week, including weekends and holidays. Managers employed by schools, factories, or office cafeterias, however, work regular hours.
The food industry can be stressful at times, especially when dealing with irate customers and difficult employees while maintaining all managerial activities simultaneously. In addition, food service managers may occasionally experience minor injuries from the physical activities performed on a daily basis. Examples of such activities include moving furniture, repairing equipment, and hauling supplies.

Where to Go for More Information

National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation
175 West Jackson Blvd., Ste. 1500
Chicago, IL 60604-2702

National Restaurant Association
1200 17th St. NW
Washington, DC 20036-3097

The International Council on Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Education
2810 N. Parham Rd., Ste. 230
Richmond, VA 23294

State employment agencies and local employers also provide information on job opportunities for food service managers.

Earnings and Benefits

In May 2006, the median salary for food service managers was $43,020 per year.

Food service manager salaries vary depending on the size and type of industry. For example, a food service manager working in a full-service restaurant may receive an average income of $45,650 per year, while in a limited-service diner the same position will average $39,070 per year. Some food service managers may earn up to $70,000 per year depending on their experience and the type of business.

Food service managers generally receive typical benefits which include health and life insurance, paid vacations and a pension plan. In addition, some may receive free meals, additional training as needed, and bonuses.

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesHospitality and Recreation