Food Service Manager

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Job Outlook:
Little or no change
Education: High school diploma or equivalent
High: $100,520.00
Average: $67,130.00
Average: $32.27

What they do:

Plan, direct, or coordinate activities of an organization or department that serves food and beverages.

On the job, you would:

  • Keep records required by government agencies regarding sanitation or food subsidies.
  • Investigate and resolve complaints regarding food quality, service, or accommodations.
  • Maintain food and equipment inventories, and keep inventory records.

Important Qualities

Business skills. Food service managers must understand all aspects of the restaurant business, including how to budget for supplies, comply with regulations, and manage workers.

Communication skills. Food service managers must give clear orders to staff and be able to convey information effectively to employees and customers.

Customer-service skills. Food service managers must be courteous and attentive when dealing with patrons.

Leadership skills. Managers must establish good relationships with staff to maintain a productive work environment.

Organizational skills. Managers have many different responsibilities, including scheduling and overseeing staff, budgeting, and maintaining financial records. The larger the establishment, the more complex their job is.

Physical stamina. Managers often work long shifts and sometimes spend entire evenings actively helping to serve customers.

Problem-solving skills. Managers need to be able to resolve personnel issues and customer-related problems.


A3 Your Strengths Importance

Characteristics of this Career

92% Dependability  -  Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
91% Leadership  -  Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
89% Self-Control  -  Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
87% Cooperation  -  Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
86% Stress Tolerance  -  Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
84% Attention to Detail  -  Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
84% Concern for Others  -  Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
82% Integrity  -  Job requires being honest and ethical.
80% Initiative  -  Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
80% Persistence  -  Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
79% Achievement/Effort  -  Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
76% Adaptability/Flexibility  -  Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
76% Social Orientation  -  Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
73% Independence  -  Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
66% Analytical Thinking  -  Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
A3 Your Strengths Importance


100% Enterprising  -  Work involves managing, negotiating, marketing, or selling, typically in a business setting, or leading or advising people in political and legal situations. Enterprising occupations are often associated with business initiatives, sales, marketing/advertising, finance, management/administration, professional advising, public speaking, politics, or law.
72% Conventional  -  Work involves following procedures and regulations to organize information or data, typically in a business setting. Conventional occupations are often associated with office work, accounting, mathematics/statistics, information technology, finance, or human resources.
A3 Your Strengths Importance

Values of the Work Environment

78% Independence  -  Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
61% Relationships  -  Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
61% Support  -  Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.


A3 Your Strengths Importance

Abilities | Cognitive, Physical, Personality

75% Oral Comprehension  -  The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
75% Oral Expression  -  The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
72% Problem Sensitivity  -  The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
69% Written Comprehension  -  The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
66% Deductive Reasoning  -  The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
66% Speech Clarity  -  The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.

Job Details

Evaluate quality of materials or products.
Resolve customer complaints or problems.
Evaluate quality of materials or products.
Schedule product or material transportation.
Monitor organizational procedures to ensure proper functioning.
Manage organizational or project budgets.
Prepare staff schedules or work assignments.
Monitor organizational compliance with regulations.
Manage guest services.
Maintain regulatory or compliance documentation.
Develop organizational policies or programs.
Estimate cost or material requirements.
Analyze data to inform operational decisions or activities.
Recommend organizational process or policy changes.
Perform manual service or maintenance tasks.
Maintain operational records.
Manage inventories of products or organizational resources.
Evaluate employee performance.
Manage human resources activities.
Purchase materials, equipment, or other resources.
Analyze data to inform operational decisions or activities.
Maintain operational records.
Determine resource needs.
Recruit personnel.
Direct facility maintenance or repair activities.
Monitor activities of individuals to ensure safety or compliance with rules.
Provide basic information to guests, visitors, or clients.
Advise communities or institutions regarding health or safety issues.
Manage guest services.
Create new recipes or food presentations.
Prepare foods or meals.
Provide basic information to guests, visitors, or clients.
Schedule activities or facility use.
Negotiate sales or lease agreements for products or services.
Collect payments for goods or services.
A3 Your Strengths Importance

Attributes & Percentage of Time Spent

97% Contact With Others  -  How much does this job require the worker to be in contact with others (face-to-face, by telephone, or otherwise) in order to perform it?
95% Responsible for Others' Health and Safety  -  How much responsibility is there for the health and safety of others in this job?
95% Work With Work Group or Team  -  How important is it to work with others in a group or team in this job?
95% Face-to-Face Discussions  -  How often do you have to have face-to-face discussions with individuals or teams in this job?
90% Telephone  -  How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?
89% Electronic Mail  -  How often do you use electronic mail in this job?
88% Frequency of Decision Making  -  How frequently is the worker required to make decisions that affect other people, the financial resources, and/or the image and reputation of the organization?
86% Indoors, Environmentally Controlled  -  How often does this job require working indoors in environmentally controlled conditions?
85% Responsibility for Outcomes and Results  -  How responsible is the worker for work outcomes and results of other workers?
84% Spend Time Standing  -  How much does this job require standing?
82% Importance of Being Exact or Accurate  -  How important is being very exact or highly accurate in performing this job?
81% Deal With External Customers  -  How important is it to work with external customers or the public in this job?
80% Freedom to Make Decisions  -  How much decision making freedom, without supervision, does the job offer?
80% Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets  -  How much does this job require wearing common protective or safety equipment such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hard hats or life jackets?
79% Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results  -  What results do your decisions usually have on other people or the image or reputation or financial resources of your employer?
79% Structured versus Unstructured Work  -  To what extent is this job structured for the worker, rather than allowing the worker to determine tasks, priorities, and goals?
78% Physical Proximity  -  To what extent does this job require the worker to perform job tasks in close physical proximity to other people?
78% Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People  -  How frequently does the worker have to deal with unpleasant, angry, or discourteous individuals as part of the job requirements?
78% Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions  -  How much does this job require making repetitive motions?
77% Spend Time Walking and Running  -  How much does this job require walking and running?
77% Coordinate or Lead Others  -  How important is it to coordinate or lead others in accomplishing work activities in this job?
74% Time Pressure  -  How often does this job require the worker to meet strict deadlines?
74% Importance of Repeating Same Tasks  -  How important is repeating the same physical activities (e.g., key entry) or mental activities (e.g., checking entries in a ledger) over and over, without stopping, to performing this job?
70% Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings  -  How often does this job require exposure to minor burns, cuts, bites, or stings?
66% Letters and Memos  -  How often does the job require written letters and memos?
66% Frequency of Conflict Situations  -  How often are there conflict situations the employee has to face in this job?
66% Duration of Typical Work Week  -  Number of hours typically worked in one week.
A3 Your Strengths Importance

Tasks & Values

75% Performing for or Working Directly with the Public  -  Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
67% Getting Information  -  Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
65% Working with Computers  -  Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.

What Food Service Managers Do

food service managers image
Food service managers ensure that customers are satisfied with their dining experience.

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 runs efficiently.


Food service managers typically do the following:

  • Hire, train, discipline, and sometimes fire employees
  • Order food and beverages, equipment, and supplies
  • Oversee food preparation and other kitchen operations
  • 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 service delays.

Food service managers are responsible for all functions of the business related to employees, including overseeing staffing and scheduling workers for each shift. During busy periods, managers may expedite service by helping to serve customers, process payments, or clean tables.

Managers also arrange for cleaning and maintenance of 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.

In addition, managers have financial responsibilities that include budgeting, ensuring cash flow, and monitoring operational costs. They may set sales goals and determine promotional items.

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.

Work Environment

Food service managers held about 357,500 jobs in 2022. The largest employers of food service managers were as follows:

Restaurants and other eating places 49%
Self-employed workers 33
Special food services 5
Accommodation 2

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.

Food service managers’ work is often hectic, and dealing with dissatisfied customers may 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 may spend some of their time helping in the kitchen. Common hazards include slips, falls, and cuts. To reduce these risks, managers often wear nonslip shoes while in the kitchen.

Work Schedules

Most food service managers work full time, and some work more than 40 hours per week. Work schedules vary and may include early mornings, nights, weekends, and holidays. They may be called in at short notice.

Managers of food service facilities or cafeterias in schools, factories, or office buildings may be more likely to work traditional business hours.

Getting Started

High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED)
Some College Courses

How to Become a Food Service Manager

Food service managers
Some food service managers start working in industry-related jobs, such as cooks.

Food service managers typically need a high school diploma and several years of experience in the food service industry working as a cook, waiter or waitress, or supervisor of food preparation and serving workers. Some receive additional training at a community college, technical or vocational school, culinary school, or 4-year college.


Food service managers typically need a high school diploma, but education requirements for individual positions may vary from no formal educational credential to a college degree.

Employers may prefer to hire candidates who have postsecondary education, especially for jobs 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 food-industry–related experiences in order to graduate.

Many colleges and universities offer a bachelor’s degree in restaurant and hospitality management or institutional food service management, both of which may be part of a personal and culinary services program. Another field of degree that may be helpful for managers is business. In addition, numerous community colleges, technical institutes, and other institutions offer associate’s degree programs. 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 related jobs, such as cooks, waiters and waitresses, or supervisors of food preparation and serving workers. They often spend years working in the food service industry, gaining experience and learning the necessary skills before they are promoted to manager positions.


Food service managers typically receive on-the-job training of at least 1 month. Topics covered during this training may include food preparation, sanitation, security, company policies, personnel management, and recordkeeping.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Some states and localities require that food service managers have food safety certification. For more information, contact your state or local health department.

Although certification is not always required, managers may obtain the Food Protection Manager Certification (FPMC) by passing a food safety exam. The American National Standards Institute accredits institutions that offer the FPMC.

Job Outlook

Employment of food service managers is projected to show little or no change from 2022 to 2032.

Despite limited employment growth, about 39,600 openings for food service managers are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Most of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.


Food service managers will be needed to oversee food preparation and service as people continue to dine out, purchase takeout meals, and have food delivered to their homes or workplaces. However, more dining establishments are expected to rely on chefs and head cooks instead of hiring additional food service managers, which should limit employment growth in this occupation.

Contacts for More Information

For more information about the Food Protection Manager Certification, visit

American National Standards Institute

For more information about food service managers, visit

National Restaurant Association

Society for Hospitality and Foodservice Management

Similar Occupations

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of food service managers.

Occupation Job Duties Entry-Level Education Median Annual Pay, May 2022
Bartenders Bartenders

Bartenders mix drinks and serve them directly to customers or through wait staff.

No formal educational credential $29,380
Chefs and head cooks Chefs and Head Cooks

Chefs and head cooks oversee the daily food preparation at restaurants and other places where food is served.

High school diploma or equivalent $56,520
Lodging managers Lodging Managers

Lodging managers ensure that guests have a pleasant experience at an accommodations facility. They also plan, direct, or coordinate activities to ensure that the facility is efficient and profitable.

High school diploma or equivalent $61,910
Sales managers Sales Managers

Sales managers direct organizations' sales teams.

Bachelor's degree $130,600
Waiters and waitresses Waiters and Waitresses

Waiters and waitresses take orders and serve food and beverages to customers in dining establishments.

No formal educational credential $29,120

Information provided by CareerFitter, LLC and other sources.

Sections of this page includes information from the O*NET 27.3 Database by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license.

CareerFitter, LLC has modified all or some of this information. USDOL/ETA has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.