Everyone who has ever savored a meal outside of their home owes the experience to a foodservice manager. Responsible for safeguarding the health and satisfaction of all dining guests, whether in a quick-service franchise or a five-star restaurant, foodservice managers are required to keep their establishments profitable and their guests happy.
Food safety, sanitation, customer service, human resources, supervision, accounting, and business administration are all among foodservice managers’ areas of expertise. While their duties may vary based on size, type, and location of establishment, a core body of knowledge in hospitality management is vital for all foodservice managers to be successful.
While dining new establishments will continue to open and the number of non-traditional establishments such as catering and grocery and retail outlets service prepared food will increase, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) forecasts job growth for food service managers will grow by 2% through 2022. Restaurant companies are expected to consolidate management positions and shift management duties to first-line supervisors, the BLS said.
In 2012, 321,400 people worked as food service managers, a number expected to increase by about 5,000 in 2022. A majority of openings for food service managers will come from replacing managers who retire or move into other occupations, according to the BLS.
It is important to note that the BLS anticipates employers will favor applicants with advanced education and training in restaurant or hospitality management for managerial positions.
Foodservice managers directly oversee or direct the work of those responsible for five integral facets of daily operations in food and beverage establishments: kitchen, dining room, staff members, guests, and administration.
In the kitchen, duties may consist of insuring the consistency and quality of food preparation and presentation, as well as monitoring standards of health, safety, and sanitation. In the dining room, foodservice managers oversee cleanliness, décor and service, including staff training. Scheduling and supervising front- and back-of-house staff members are also responsibilities of foodservice managers, as are other human resources management activities, including interviewing, selecting, motivating and retaining staff.
Foodservice managers are ultimately responsible for the satisfaction of all guests and they resolve complaints and attend to any contingencies that arise in the dining room or kitchen.
Administrative tasks typical for foodservice managers include cash-outs and preparation of bank deposits. They are also responsible for financial management, purchasing and inventory and supply management activities.
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The nationwide annual salary for foodservice managers ranged from around $30,000 for the lowest 10% to more than $82,000 for the highest 10%, as of May, 2014, according to the BLS. The median annual wage for foodservice managers was $48,600.
Some segments of the industry, however, paid more than the median salary, such as traveler accommodation with an average pay of $62,000, special food services at $58,200 and drinking establishments serving alcohol at $54,000, the BLS said.
Prospective students are encouraged to conduct independent research, as salary potential may vary depending on location, experience, organization, and education.
Although work experience as a server, cook, or other staff member in a food and beverage establishment used to be the preferred means of forging a career as a foodservice manager, the BLS reports an uptick in the number of employers who show preference to candidates with foodservice or hospitality degrees or professional certificates, particularly in establishments that offer neither fast food nor self-service.
BLS also charts a rise in the number of foodservice management companies and restaurant chains that recruit graduates directly from foodservice and hospitality higher education programs. Associates already working in the foodservices and hospitality industries who are interested in becoming foodservice managers can help secure a competitive advantage by enrolling in a hospitality management certificate program.
The skills and competencies acquired in a foodservices or hospitality management higher education program usually include:
Successful foodservice managers enjoy working with other people, problem-solving creatively, thinking laterally, and multi-tasking. They are generally detail-oriented and possess the physical and psychological endurance necessary to lead a team of staff members for long hours in busy, potentially stressful environments. Foodservice managers also function as business administrators and can shift fluidly from one professional role to another as needed.
If you’re interested in a fast-paced and gratifying career that combines customer service with culinary knowledge and business administration, you may want to become a foodservices manager. Make a smart investment in your professional future and stand out from your competition by earning the Management Certificate in the Business of Hospitality from The School of Hospitality Business in the Broad College of Business at Michigan State University, a recognized authority in hospitality business education, research, and service.