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How to Become A Restaurant Manager

This article provides an overview of Restaurant Manager careers and the requirements to become a restaurant manager. This article will outline a restaurant manager's job duties, salary levels, and employment prospects, as well as discuss the career's necessary skills, training, educational requirements, and certification requirements.

Restaurant Culinary Management

Restaurant Manager Job Duties

Restaurant managers run the daily operations of restaurants that prepare and serve meals and beverages to customers. A restaurant manager's job duties can vary depending on the type of restaurant that they manage. In large and full-service restaurants, they would share many duties with an executive chef who would oversee kitchen operations and food preparation. In a small or limited-service restaurant, many of these kitchen responsibilities would also fall on the restaurant manager. The job duties of a restaurant manager can include:

  • Coordinating activities between various departments (kitchen, dining room, and banquet operations)
  • Ensuring customer satisfaction
  • Overseeing inventory
  • Ordering food, equipment and supplies
  • Arranging for routine maintenance and upkeep of the restaurant and its equipment
  • Planning for routine services, such as linen service
  • Performing administrative functions
  • Maintaining records
  • Performing work shift scheduling
  • Performing human resource functions, including recruiting, hiring, and firing
  • Performing employee training
  • Monitoring employee performance
  • Supervising routine food preparation operations in limited-service eating establishments (e.g., fast food restaurants, sandwich shops, etc.)
  • Assisting executive chefs in selecting successful menu items
  • Inspecting the quality of fresh food items
  • Pricing various dishes
  • Cooking, depending on the type and size of the restaurant
  • Bussing and cleaning tables, depending on the type and size of the restaurant
  • Tracking industry trends and conducting market research
  • Handling financial operations, such as budgeting, paying bills, and payroll
  • Handling cash receipts and performing banking duties

Restaurant Manager Job Skills

Restaurant management is a demanding job with long work days of 12 or more hours, often 7 days a week. It also requires a very wide range of skills, including:

  • Good organization and attention to detail
  • Good business skills and comfort dealing with money and other financial matters
  • Good people interaction skills for dealing with both customers and employees
  • Good ability to deal with problem employees and irate customers
  • Good employee motivation skills
  • Good communication skills
  • Flexibility and an ability to deal with a rapidly and ever-changing environment
  • Good ability to deal with crisis
  • Good ability to coordinate many things simultaneously
  • Good problem resolution skills
  • Good ability to deal with stress

Restaurant Manager Income

The Bureau of Labor Statistics categorizes restaurant managers with food service managers. As of 2002 they reported that food services managers made about $35,790, with the top 10% earning $67,490. In 2002, the median income for full-service restaurant managers was $37,280. The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) reports that the typical range of income for a restaurant manager is between $30,000 and $70,000.

Training and Education Required to Become a Restaurant Manager

National and regional restaurant chains strongly prefer to hire individuals who graduate from 2-year or 4-year college hospitality management programs with degrees in restaurant and institutional food management. A bachelor's degree in food service management is a very strong preparation for a career in restaurant management.

Most restaurant chains also have rigorous management training programs.

Self-service and fast-food restaurants, fill management positions by promoting experienced preparation and service workers.

The NRAEF provides certification to enhance an individual's credentials. They provide the certified Foodservice Management Professional (FMP) credential recognizing professional achievement for food service managers.

Click here for information on schools offering Restaurant Management Training and the programs that they offer.

Restaurant Manager Employment

The food services industry is a huge industry with $1 billion per day in sales. According to the NRAEF, half of all adults eat in a restaurant every day. Over 10 million people are employed by the food service industry. In 2002, there were about 386,000 food service managers in the United States. Of that, almost 290,000 were restaurant managers of full-service or limited-service restaurants.

Restaurant Manager Job Outlook

The need for restaurant managers is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations over most of the next decade. Most new jobs will come in full-service restaurants and limited-service eating establishments. Individuals with an associate or bachelor degree in food service management should have the best prospects for employment.


Restaurant Manager Training

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