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Most applicants qualify with a high school diploma and several years of work experience in the food service industry as a cook, waiter or waitress, or counter attendant. Some applicants have received additional training at a community college, technical or vocational school, culinary school, or 4-year college.Education
Although a bachelor’s degree is not required, some postsecondary education is increasingly preferred for many manager positions, especially at upscale restaurants and hotels. Some food service companies, hotels, and restaurant chains recruit management trainees from college hospitality or food service management programs. These programs may require the participants to work in internships and to have real-life food industry-related experiences in order to graduate.
Many colleges and universities offer bachelor’s degree programs in restaurant and hospitality management or institutional food service management. In addition, numerous community colleges, technical institutes, and other institutions offer programs in the field that lead to an associate’s degree. Some culinary schools offer programs in restaurant management with courses designed for those who want to start and run their own restaurant.
Most programs provide instruction in nutrition, sanitation, and food preparation, as well as courses in accounting, business law, and management. Some programs combine classroom and practical study with internships.Work Experience in a Related Occupation
Most food service managers start working in industry-related jobs, such as cooks, waiters and waitresses, or hosts and hostesses. They often spend years working under the direction of an experienced worker, learning the necessary skills before they are promoted to manager positions.Training
Managers who work for restaurant chains and food service management companies may be required to complete programs that combine classroom instruction and on-the-job training. Topics may include food preparation, sanitation, security, company policies, personnel management, and recordkeeping.Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
Although certification is not required, managers may obtain the Food Protection Managers Certification (FPMC) by passing a food safety exam. The American National Standards Institute accredits institutions that offer the FPMC.
In addition, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation awards the Foodservice Management Professional (FMP) designation, a voluntary certification to managers who meet the following criteria:
The certification attests to professional competence, particularly for managers who learned their skills on the job.Important Qualities
Business skills. Food service managers, especially those who run their own restaurant, must understand all aspects of the restaurant business. They should know how to budget for supplies, set prices, and manage workers to ensure that the restaurant is profitable.
Communication skills. Food service managers must give clear orders to staff and be able to communicate effectively with employees and customers.
Customer-service skills. Food service managers must be courteous and attentive when dealing with patrons. Satisfying customers’ dining needs is critical to business success and ensures customer loyalty.
Detail oriented. Managers deal with many different types of activities. They ensure that there is enough food to serve to customers, they maintain financial records, and they ensure that the food meets health and safety standards.
Leadership skills. Managers must establish good working relationships to maintain a productive work environment. Carrying out this task may involve motivating workers and leading by example.
Organizational skills. Food service managers keep track of many different schedules, budgets, and staff. Their job becomes more complex as the size of the restaurant or food service facility increases.
Physical stamina. Managers, especially those who run their own restaurant, often work long shifts and sometimes spend entire evenings on their feet helping to serve customers.
Problem-solving skills. Managers need to be able to resolve personnel issues and customer-related problems.
Average Length of Employment
Top Careers Before Food Service Director
Top Careers After Food Service Director
Hispanic or Latino9.1%
Black or African American0.6%
Food Service Director
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Johnson & Wales University18.6%
Culinary Institute of America16.1%
University of North Dakota11.4%
University of Florida8.5%
University of Phoenix6.1%
Michigan State University4.3%
Indiana University of Pennsylvania3.2%
Pennsylvania State University3.1%
Florida International University3.1%
University of Wisconsin - Stout2.8%
Iowa State University2.7%
Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts2.3%
New York University2.2%
West Virginia University2.0%
University of Akron1.8%
Food Service Director
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|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|Food Services Director||MDM Hotel Group Ltd/Miami Dadeland Marriott Hotel||Miami, FL||Jun 15, 2015||$86,000|
|Food Service Director||Fig & Olive USA Inc.||Los Angeles, CA||Feb 01, 2011||$75,000|
|Assistant Director of Dining Services||The President and Trustees of Williams College||Williamstown, MA||Jan 17, 2013||$72,446 -
|Food Service Director||212 Lafayette Associates LLC||New York, NY||Aug 12, 2016||$70,958|
|Food Service Director||212 Lafayette Associates LLC||New York, NY||Oct 14, 2016||$70,958|
|Food Service Director||Bradley Academy||Goodyear, AZ||Sep 14, 2016||$70,346|
|Food Service Director||Old Bridge Management Corporation||Dale City, VA||Dec 15, 2010||$70,000 -
|Senior Food Service Director||Aramark Corporation||Philadelphia, PA||Aug 27, 2011||$67,480|
|Food Service Director||Rocky Creek Retirement Properties, Inc.||Tampa, FL||Sep 21, 2013||$66,500|
|Food Service Director||Fig & Olive USA Inc.||Los Angeles, CA||Feb 01, 2011||$65,000|
|Director of Dining Services||Compass Group USA Inc.||Emporia, KS||Aug 15, 2016||$65,000|
|Food Service Director||Aramark Healthcare Support Services LLC||Plattsburgh, NY||Oct 01, 2010||$65,000 -
|Food Service Director-Retail||Aramark Campus, LLC||Washington, DC||Oct 01, 2010||$64,018|
|Director of Dining Services||Compass Group USA Inc.||Emporia, KS||Oct 09, 2016||$61,050|
|Director of Dining Services||Compass Group USA Inc.||Emporia, KS||Aug 21, 2016||$61,050|
|Associate Director of Dining Services||The President and Trustees of Williams College||Williamstown, MA||Jan 17, 2010||$60,154 -
|Food Services Director||Riceit LLC||Dallas, TX||Jan 10, 2016||$60,000|
|Food Service Director||Lori's Diner International||San Francisco, CA||Apr 03, 2013||$59,301|
|Food Service Director||Rocky Creek Retirement Properties, Inc.||Tampa, FL||Sep 21, 2010||$58,677|
|Director of Dining Services||Kandle Dining Services, Inc.||NC||May 07, 2015||$58,436|
|Food Services Director||China Town Inc.(Joseph Yang)||Conway, AR||May 03, 2011||$55,245|
|Food Safety Services Director||GIC Trade, Inc.||Alexandria, VA||Sep 15, 2012||$55,000|
|Food Service Director||Water Under Lock, Inc.||Anchorage, AK||Oct 22, 2015||$54,471|
|Director of Dining Services||Compass Group USA Inc.||Hialeah Gardens, FL||Nov 07, 2015||$54,000|
|Director of Dining Services||Compass Group USA Inc.||Hialeah Gardens, FL||Mar 09, 2015||$54,000|
|Director of Dining Services||Met II Hotel, LLC||Miami, FL||Jun 15, 2010||$53,000|
|Director of Dining Services||Kandle Dining Services, Inc.||NC||May 07, 2015||$52,488|
|Food Service Director & Executive Chef||East India Co., LLC||Portland, OR||Sep 06, 2014||$52,175|
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