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Food and Beverage Manager

Education and Training: Some have no formal training while others will have a two-year diploma in food and beverage management or even a bachelors or Master’s degree in hospitality management.
Average Salary: $48,000
Job Outlook: Very good

Job Description

This is unlikely to be the job for anyone wishing for a 9-to-5 life, with evenings and weekends off, but you can guarantee that every day is different and there is unlikely to be a regular routine. This is because the hospitality industry is constantly changing and you will be dealing with new guests and constantly meeting new people.

A typical day might include checking to make sure you have sufficient staff and products, and making sure that your staff has regular breaks throughout the day. You’ll also need to hold key staff meetings every week in order to review the past week and to plan for the following week. In addition it is highly likely that you’ll need to hold regular meetings during the week just to address any new problems that may arise.

If you are working for a large organization then the general management is likely to require regular meetings, and you’ll need to explain to them exactly what’s going on, any events which may be coming up, and any improvements you need to make. They’ll also want to know the kind of people you expect in their establishment and what they intend to eat and drink.

The job involves balancing several different things at once, as you need to promote the brand you work for, while keeping abreast of the business side of things. You also have to attend to the needs of guests while ensuring that colleagues and staff are making an adequate contribution, are sufficiently trained, and are satisfied in their jobs. Part of a manager’s job is ensuring food and safety standards and liquor regulations are obeyed. Food and beverage managers will also liaise with chefs and sommeliers and plan future menus, so it can be quite a creative career.

A food and beverage manager is also likely to be responsible for hiring and firing employees, and may often have to fill in when an establishment is extremely busy or if it is short-staffed. Although it can be quite a stressful career it should also be interesting.

Education and Training Requirements

Some food and beverage managers have risen through the ranks to their position, and have the advantage of having worked in virtually every job in the restaurant and hotel industry.

Others have chosen a more academic route and have completed a two-year diploma course in food and beverage management. This helps to build an in-depth knowledge of wine and food, and students also learn about the importance of cost control, service leadership, and human resource management.

It’s also possible to attain a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management, and some managers have gone on to attain a Master’s degree. There are nearly 1000 colleges and universities which offer a four-year program in restaurant or hospitality management, and a large number of community colleges offer two-year programs which leads to an associate degree.

Getting the Job

Relevant experience is of course essential, whether gained through working in the industry or through formal training. Employers will be looking for good leadership and communication skills, and workers who are reliable. Prospective employees should ensure they look neat and clean as this it is essential when dealing with food. This can be quite a physically demanding job so good health and stamina are also important.

Large hotel and restaurant chains are likely to recruit management trainees from two and four year degree programs which have given real life experience to graduates. Most large organizations have their own rigorous training programs for management trainees that include a combination of practical and classroom experiences. After this training has been completed trainees can receive their first position as an assistant manager. This may require relocation.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development
The job prospects for an ambitious and well-qualified food and beverage manager are extremely good, as managers frequently change jobs so there are numerous opportunities for advancement. A willingness to relocate is often essential for career advancement, especially for those looking to rise through the ranks in a large organization.

Some food and drink managers will go on to open their own establishments or franchises, while others will continue to work for large or small organizations. It is estimated that around 40% of managers are self-employed while another 40% work for full-service restaurants. A smaller number will go on to work in salaried positions for hotels and resorts, government agencies, or educational establishments.

Working Conditions and Environment

Food and beverage managers work long hours which are typically between 12 and 15 hours a day, and they can be required to work a full seven days before receiving a break. This can be especially true for anyone working in a fine dining restaurant or restaurants which operate for long hours. Food and beverage managers who work in institutional establishments tend to have more conventional hours.

Salary and Benefits

The median salary of a Food and Drink manager is around $48,000 with most earning between the $37,000 and $60,000. The highest 10% of managers will earn more than $78,000 while the lowest 10% will earn less than $30,000.

Most Food and Drink managers also receive free meals and the opportunity for additional training. Some may earn bonuses which depend on sales revenue or volume.

Where to Go for More Information

All Culinary Schools
A comprehensive guide to culinary careers including hospitality and restaurant careers and training.

The International Culinary Schools at The Art Institutes
Administrative Office
210 Sixth Ave., 33rd Fl.
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Penn State School of Hospitality Management
201 Mateer Bldg.
University Park, PA 16802
(814) 865-1853

Sheraton Hotels and Resorts
This website has a list of universities visited by the hotel chain, and a lot of useful information about internships and job placements..

University of Florida
Gainesville, FL 32611
(352) 392-3261

Additional topics

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