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Become A Food Service Director

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Working As A Food Service Director

  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Training and Teaching Others
  • Getting Information
  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
  • Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates
  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • Repetitive

  • $60,110

    Average Salary

What Does A Food Service Director Do

Food service managers are responsible for the daily operation of restaurants and 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. 

Duties

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 perform a variety of administrative tasks, such as managing employee records and preparing the payroll. 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 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.

Those who manage their own business often deal with suppliers and arrange for the delivery of food and beverages and other supplies.

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.

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How To Become A Food Service Director

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:

  • Have supervisory experience in food service
  • Have specialized training in food safety
  • Pass a multiple-choice exam

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.

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Food Service Director Jobs

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Average Length of Employment
Dietary Supervisor 3.8 years
Food Manager 3.7 years
Chef Manager 3.6 years
Catering Manager 3.0 years
Food Supervisor 2.9 years
Top Employers Before
Chef 7.4%
Manager 6.5%
Sous Chef 5.7%
Cook 5.4%
Line Cook 2.6%
Top Employers After
Chef 4.8%
Director 4.4%
Manager 4.2%
Cook 3.9%
Owner 2.7%

Do you work as a Food Service Director?

Food Service Director Demographics

Gender

Male

55.1%

Female

43.4%

Unknown

1.5%
Ethnicity

White

66.7%

Hispanic or Latino

13.2%

Black or African American

11.0%

Asian

5.8%

Unknown

3.3%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

58.6%

French

11.7%

German

5.4%

Italian

5.4%

Chinese

4.5%

Arabic

3.6%

Thai

2.7%

Mandarin

1.8%

Yoruba

0.9%

Cantonese

0.9%

Ilocano

0.9%

Japanese

0.9%

Greek

0.9%

Korean

0.9%

Tagalog

0.9%
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Food Service Director Education

Schools

Johnson & Wales University

18.1%

Culinary Institute of America

15.8%

University of North Dakota

11.9%

University of Florida

8.7%

University of Phoenix

6.8%

Michigan State University

4.4%

Florida International University

3.6%

Pennsylvania State University

3.0%

Indiana University of Pennsylvania

3.0%

Purdue University

2.9%

Cornell University

2.8%

University of Wisconsin - Stout

2.7%

Iowa State University

2.7%

Auburn University

2.4%

Ashford University

2.2%

Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts

2.0%

West Virginia University

1.8%

Strayer University

1.8%

Florida State University

1.8%

New York University

1.7%
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Majors

Business

21.0%

Culinary Arts

17.1%

Hospitality Management

12.0%

Management

10.0%

Food And Nutrition

9.6%

Dietetics

6.5%

Health Care Administration

4.6%

Education

2.6%

Criminal Justice

2.4%

Accounting

1.9%

General Studies

1.6%

Marketing

1.5%

Psychology

1.4%

Human Resources Management

1.3%

Elementary Education

1.2%

Liberal Arts

1.2%

General Education, Specific Areas

1.1%

Communication

1.1%

Finance

1.1%

Political Science

0.9%
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Degrees

Bachelors

32.6%

Other

31.4%

Associate

18.2%

Masters

10.5%

Certificate

5.8%

Diploma

0.9%

Doctorate

0.4%

License

0.2%
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Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Food Service Director Salaries

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 -
$82,000
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 -
$75,000
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
Director of Strategic Growth-Food Products Gourmet and More, LLC San Leandro, CA Oct 01, 2012 $65,000
Director of Dining Services Compass Group USA Inc. Emporia, KS Aug 15, 2016 $65,000
Food Service Director Fig & Olive USA Inc. Los Angeles, CA Feb 01, 2011 $65,000
Food Service Director Aramark Healthcare Support Services LLC Plattsburgh, NY Oct 01, 2010 $65,000 -
$80,000
Director of Dining Services Compass Group USA Inc. Emporia, KS Aug 21, 2016 $61,050
Director of Dining Services Compass Group USA Inc. Emporia, KS Oct 09, 2016 $61,050
Associate Director of Dining Services The President and Trustees of Williams College Williamstown, MA Jan 17, 2010 $60,154 -
$65,154
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 Service Director & Executive Chef East India Co., LLC Portland, OR Sep 06, 2010 $55,952
Food Service Director & Executive Chef East India Co., LLC Portland, OR Sep 06, 2011 $55,952
Food Services Director China Town Inc.(Joseph Yang) Conway, AR May 03, 2011 $55,245
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

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Top Skills for A Food Service Director

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  1. Menu Items
  2. Food Service Operations
  3. Food Safety
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Developed variety of menu items catering to customers with food allergies and diet restrictions such as gluten-free and vegan items.
  • Monitor food service operations to ensure conformance to nutritional, safety, sanitation and quality standards.
  • General responsibilities included food production, sanitation, food safety, ordering and inventory and general budget responsibilities.
  • Train subcontractor Food Production personnel on proper operation of kitchen equipment.
  • Increased decentralized meal service to rehabilitation patients.

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