What Food Service Managers Do
Food service managers are responsible for the daily operation of restaurants or other establishments that prepare and serve food and beverages.
Food service managers work in restaurants, hotels, school cafeterias, and other establishments where food is prepared and served. They often work evenings, weekends, and holidays. The work can be hectic, and dealing with dissatisfied customers can be stressful.
How to Become a Food Service Manager
Most applicants qualify with a high school diploma and several years of work experience in the food service industry. However, some may receive additional training at a community college, technical or vocational school, culinary school, or 4-year college.
The median annual wage for food service managers was $55,320 in May 2019.
Employment of food service managers is projected to grow 1 percent from 2019 to 2029, slower than the average for all occupations. Those with several years of work experience in food service and a degree in hospitality, restaurant, or food service management will have the best job opportunities.
Food service managers are responsible for the daily operation of restaurants or other establishments that prepare and serve food and beverages. They direct staff to ensure that customers are satisfied with their dining experience, and they manage the business to ensure that it is profitable.
Food service managers typically do the following:
- Hire, train, oversee, and sometimes fire employees
- Order food and beverages, equipment, and supplies
- Oversee food preparation, portion sizes, and the overall presentation of food
- Inspect supplies, equipment, and work areas
- Ensure that employees comply with health and food safety standards
- Address complaints regarding food quality or service
- Schedule staff hours and assign duties
- Manage budgets and payroll records
- Establish standards for personnel performance and customer service
Managers coordinate activities of the kitchen and dining room staff to ensure that customers are served properly and in a timely manner. They oversee orders in the kitchen, and, if needed, they work with the chef to remedy any delays in service.
Food service managers are responsible for all functions of the business related to employees. For example, most managers interview, hire, train, oversee, appraise, discipline, and sometimes fire employees. Managers also schedule work hours, making sure that enough workers are present to cover each shift. During busy periods, they may expedite service by helping to serve customers, processing payments, or cleaning tables.
Managers also arrange for cleaning and maintenance services for the equipment and facility in order to comply with health and sanitary regulations. For example, they may arrange for trash removal, pest control, and heavy cleaning when the dining room and kitchen are not in use.
Most managers prepare the payroll and manage employee records. They also may review or complete paperwork related to licensing, taxes and wages, and unemployment compensation. Although they sometimes assign these tasks to an assistant manager or a bookkeeper, most managers are responsible for the accuracy of business records.
Some managers add up the cash and charge slips and secure them in a safe place. They also may check that ovens, grills, and other equipment are properly cleaned and secured, and that the establishment is locked at the close of business.
Food service managers held about 352,600 jobs in 2019. The largest employers of food service managers were as follows:
|Restaurants and other eating places||49%|
|Special food services||4|
Full-service restaurants (those with table service) may have a management team that includes a general manager, one or more assistant managers, and an executive chef.
Many food service managers work long shifts, and the job is often hectic. Dealing with dissatisfied customers can sometimes be stressful.
Injuries and illnesses
Kitchens are usually crowded and filled with dangerous objects and areas, such as hot ovens and slippery floors. As a result, injuries are a risk for food service managers, who spend some of their time helping in the kitchen. Common hazards include slips, falls, and cuts that are seldom serious. To reduce these risks, managers often wear nonslip shoes while in the kitchen.
Most food service managers work full time. Managers at fine-dining and fast-food restaurants often work long shifts, and some work more than 40 hours per week. Managers of food service facilities or cafeterias in schools, factories, or office buildings usually work traditional business hours. Managers may be called in on short notice, including evenings, weekends, and holidays. Some managers may also manage multiple locations.
This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of food service managers.
For more information about the Food Protection Manager Certification, visit
For more information about food service managers, including a directory of college programs in food service, visit
For more information about food service managers and certification as a Foodservice Management Professional, visit
For general information about food service managers, visit
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Food Service Managers,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/food-service-managers.htm (visited ).