How to Become a Food Service Manager

How to Become a Food Service Manager

The food service manager should be highly skilled in multi-tasking, and be able to juggle several things at once.

Are you looking for a rewarding career in the food services industry? Consider becoming a food services manager. They are responsible for the smooth operation of a food services or culinary business, including but not limited to: restaurants, cruise ships, hospitals, prisons, schools, luxury hotels, and countless other environments. The conditions are sometimes hot and unpleasant, because, unlike the restaurant Manager or Assistant Manager, they are usually always around the food or the kitchen. The old adage, "If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen," truly applies here. The job is considered to be stressful my some but if you enjoy it, it will be worth the negatives.

Requirements/Qualifications

The requirements of a food service manager are similar to those of a kitchen manager or restaurant manager, but the focus is on the service aspect of food, rather than the cooking or management of the business. The food service manager should be highly skilled in multi-tasking, and be able to juggle several things at once. They should be proficient in preparing meals quickly and will often be involved directly in the food preparation process. To be a food service manager, you will need background in the culinary arts or food services certification from a training academy or specialty school.

Typical Education

The typical education path for a food service manager usually involves a certificate in food services from a vocational school or a degree or certificate in nutrition or a hospitality area.

An Alternate Route

$48,130
High School or GED
1 to 5 years
None
320,600
-3%
(10,600)
Find Related CareersSOURCE: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

If you do not have a degree in the food services industry, sometimes all you need is a certification in food services or a hospitality area, or a similar area of study. You could also work in a variety of food-related settings to gain experience in the field, then fulfill the certification requirements when you are ready to move into the position. In most cases, you will have to have a certification in safety of food or other areas in order to do this job. Some people who work in this position decide to work as a food services/catering manager. This position employs all the skills necessary for a food services manager, but also allows you to branch out into the catering business. Some even decide to start their own catering business later on.

To become a food services manager, follow these steps, and focus on the skills needed to excel in this career choice:

1) Get your certificate in a food services or hospitality field. Most positions as a food service manager require that you pass certain tests or standards before being allowed to work in this position. Of particular concern are the safety issues involved in food service, so you will have to prove your knowledge of everything from the proper temperature to cook foods, to serving methods and more.

2) Get experience as a food service worker or restaurant employee. Working in any capacity in an area of food service will give you the experience and skills necessary to do your job well. You can also express to the manager when you are hired, that you have a desire to move into a position of management when the opportunity comes up. Most employers will appreciate your desire to move up, even if the only position that is currently open is that of "dish-washer."

3) Connect with others in the food service industry. Use Facebook or social media to connect and network with others who work in the business. Sometimes you can get job leads that way, or at least share ideas with others who work in the business.

4) Consider starting your own business. If you are the entrepreneurial type, consider staring your own catering or food services business. It takes a few thousand dollars to invest in your business at first, but a catering business can be very lucrative over time.

5) Learn the industry and the new opportunities that exist. Keep up with the times by reading online ads and job openings for careers in the food service industry. Sometimes you may have to start at the bottom, but with time, you can develop a reputation as an expert in the food services industry, and this will open up more doors for you.

The food service manager is a skilled, multi-talented person who knows how to balance many things, how to lead people in a kitchen environment, and is generally very efficient. If you are organized and assertive, you may find a career in this field to be highly rewarding. The first step is getting the proper education. So why not start today?

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