Food Service Manager

Food service managers coordinate the day-to-day operations of restaurants and other dining establishments. In addition to managing the human-resource and administrative operations such as hiring and training new staff, they also coordinate multimple departments, determine maintenance schedules, and order necessary supplies. They ensure that the customer’s dining experience is pleasant and timely, and handle any complaints or concerns that arise.

Job Skills

The most important skill required of food service managers is strong communication. They need to be able to communicate well verbally in order to motivate their employees. Often, it is necessary for them to be familiar with multiple languages. Written communication is a must as well, due to the importance of clearly written supply orders. Other important qualities include self-discipline, problem-solving skill, and a clean and professional appearance.


In 2002, food service managers earned a median annual salary of $35,790. Earnings ranged from the lowest 10 percent, who earned less than $21,760, and the highest 10 percent, who earned more than $67,490. The highest median earnings were found in special food services, and the lowest were found in elementary and secondary schools. Most salaried food service managers receive benefits, free meals, and the opportunity for training and advancement.

Training and Education

Some food service managers work their way up from lower-level positions by demonstrating their aptitude for the job and ability to handle more responsibility. While not required, a bachelor’s degree in restaurant or food service management can add an extremely strong boost to the resumes of those interested in a career in this field. An associate degree from a community college or trade school can also prepare potential managers. Managers for national and regional restaurant chains are usually recruited from 2- and 4-year college-level hospitality management programs.


Out of the nearly 3 million culinary jobs in 2002, about 386,000 people were employed as food service managers.

Job Outlook

Between 2002 and 2012, the number of food service managers is expected to grow at a rate similar to the average. A majority of new jobs will be created in full-service restaurants and limited-service eating places. The best job prospects will go to those with a bachelor’s or an associate degree in restaurant and institutional food service management, and opportunity will be higher for salaried employees than for self-employed managers.

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