A food service manager regulates the guest dining experience with profitability in mind, from motel buffets to five-star restaurants. This includes maintaining restaurant supplies, maximizing revenue streams and developing staff.
A career in hospitality is perfect for an individual who tirelessly strives for excellence and loves the thrill of dazzling guests each evening. This line of work isn’t for everyone, however, so before you subject yourself to long hours on your feet, learn what it takes to become a food service manager.
Food service managers schedule, hire, discipline and develop the restaurant staff. They interact with guests to ensure their satisfaction, work with chefs to convey guest feedback, implement daily specials and regulate the consistency of the overall dining experience. A food service manager also tracks the inventory of paper supplies, liquor, menus and other restaurant items, keeping supplies stocked and within the restaurant’s budget. All the while, a food service manager seamlessly assists the floor staff as needed, bartending, conducting simple table maintenance, running food to tables and ushering guests to tables.
Most food service managers start as assistant managers, managing front-of-house workers like bussers or hosts. As they gain experience, they’re given more prominent departments like servers or bartenders. Eventually, food service managers become general managers, where they manage hourly employees and subordinate managers.
With time and experience, food service managers can open their own restaurants or pursue employment in corporate hospitality.
As of May 2006, the average annual earnings for food service managers has been $43,020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This figure varies widely according to experience level and location. Senior managers of metropolitan restaurants can earn $70,810 or more, while junior-level managers of limited-service establishments can earn $27,400 or less.
Many food service managers start their careers at the low end of the pay scale, but the opportunity for advancement is remarkable for the right candidate. Most prominent food personalities, like the Food Network’s Guy Fieri, began careers as food service managers.