USA Career Guide- Food Service Managers

Education needed to be Food Service Managers

The level of education required for a food service manager depends largely on the type of establishment. Many larger establishments or upscale restaurants and specialty restaurants require a college degree in hospitality and management or a formal education in a related field.
 The minimum educational requirements for most food service managers is a high school diploma, a background or training in food service and preparation, and prior experience working in a service position of a restaurant.

Almost 1,000 colleges and universities offer bachelor’s degree programs in restaurant and hospitality management or institutional food service management. For those not interested in a bachelor’s degree, community and junior colleges, technical institutes, and other institutions offer programs in the field leading to an associate’s degree or other formal certification.


Most restaurant chains and food service management companies have rigorous training programs for management positions. Through a combination of classroom and on-the-job training, trainees get instruction and work experience in all aspects of how to run a restaurant or institutional food service facility, including food preparation, nutrition, sanitation, security, company policies and procedures, personnel management, record-keeping, and report preparation. Training on the use of the restaurant's computer system is increasingly important as well.


To enhance career prospects many candidates take up voluntary certification to show professional competence. The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation awards the Foodservice Management Professional (FMP) designation to managers who meet several criteria, including passing a written exam, completing coursework, and meeting experience requirements.

Pay of Food Service Managers

The median annual wage of food service managers was $48,130 in May 2010. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $30,480, and the top 10 percent earned more than $80,410.

 Median Annual Wages of Food Service Managers (May 2010)
Traveler accommodation    $55,010
Special food services      52,890
Full-service restaurants      51,210
Elementary and secondary schools      46,810
Limited-service eating places      43,080
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Job Prospects of Food Service Managers

Employment of food service managers is expected to decline 3 percent from 2010 to 2020, as the number of eating and drinking establishments opening is expected to decline from the previous decade.
Job opportunities for food service managers are expected to be highly competitive. Most openings will result from the need to replace managers who retire or transfer to other occupations.
Although practical experience is an integral part of becoming a food service manager, applicants with a degree in hospitality or restaurant or institutional food service management should have an edge when competing for jobs at upscale restaurants.

Industrial Overview of Food Service Managers

Food service managers held about 320,600 jobs in 2010.
The following industries employed the most food service managers in 2010:
Limited-service eating places    20%
Full-service restaurants      20% 
Special food services       4%
Traveler accommodation    2%
Elementary and secondary schools    2%

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
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