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Shift Manager/Shift Supervisor

Education and Training: Some college preferred
Average Salary: $46,300
Job Outlook: Good

A shift manager or shift supervisor is a food service industry worker who is responsible for maintaining the restaurant in general during certain shifts. Larger restaurants usually have several shift managers on staff, in order to cover the possible shifts that cooking and wait staff may work during the day, evening, and night.

These managers are responsible for observing and monitoring the activities of employees, ordering supplies, and ensuring that equipment is in excellent shape. They are also responsible for ordering food and ensuring that the business has what it needs to run through their shift.

Besides this, shift supervisors are often responsible for hiring and training – and sometimes letting go – the employees who work under them. This makes up a large part of the job due to the fact that most restaurants have a high turnover rate among employees.

Shift managers are also those to whom customer complaints will be brought if the wait staff cannot handle the issue. If backups occur in the kitchen, the supervisor is responsible for ensuring that they are fixed. Many shift managers try to give their restaurants personal appeal by speaking directly with customers throughout the heaviest dining times, ensuring that customers feel welcomed and well cared for throughout their dining experience.

Education and Training Requirements

While most employers prefer that a shift manager have at least some college education, the most important qualification for a restaurant shift supervisor is plenty of restaurant experience. Generally, food service managers have worked as food preparation staff or servers for a restaurant for a few years before they are promoted to the managerial level.

For the most part, chain restaurants have tough in-house training programs that give employees on the job, theoretical, and classroom training to prepare them for their positions. Often, lower-level employees who want to move into management positions within their own restaurant chain are encouraged to start the training program early.

College students who wish to get into restaurant management should take business, food service, and management classes in two or four year colleges.

Getting the Job

Most self-service and fast-food restaurants promote shift supervisors from within, and the most excellent preparation and wait staff have the best changes of getting such a position. Many companies will hire those who are experienced in food service in general, so it’s best to apply in person or online.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development

Food service jobs in general are expected to grow more slowly than average in the next few years. However, most restaurants have a high turnover rate, which means that shift management positions open up frequently. This means that job prospects for the future are good, particularly for those with both education and experience in the food service area.

Working Conditions and Environment

Long hours are common in this industry, and many shift managers work odd hours to accommodate the shift they’re supervising. Many managers work fifty hours a week and work long days, or they may work shorter days but work seven days a week.

Shift managers in the food service industry spend plenty of time on their feet, among employees and customers. They’re also likely to spend some time in an office, filing paperwork, and creating records for future use.

Salary and Benefits

Shift managers earn an average of $46,300 per year, though earnings can vary from $29,400 to $76,900 per year. Full service restaurants and traveler accommodation areas are most likely to have higher paid shift managers.

These full-time positions generally come with health benefits and paid vacation time. Shift managers may also be entitled to free extra training and free or deeply discounted meals, particularly when they’re on shift. In some restaurants, shift managers earn bonuses when they are a part of bringing in higher revenue for the business.

Where to Go for More Information

National Restaurant Association
1200 17th St., NW
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 331-5900

School Nutrition Association
120 Waterfront St., Ste. 300
National Harbor, MD 20745
(301) 686-3100

Society for Foodservice Management
15000 Commerce Pkwy, Ste. C
Mount Laurel, NJ 08054
(856) 380-6829

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesBusiness