How to Become a Restaurant Manager

Those with experience in the restaurant or food service industry — whether as a cook, server or some other role — will have a leg up over competitors seeking positions in restaurant management. It takes hard work and persistence, plus the right education and a certain set of skills, to make it to the top in restaurant management.

The responsibilities of a restaurant’s daily operations fall to the person in charge — the restaurant or food service manager. Working in restaurants isn’t the only option, however. Food service managers can find employment anywhere food and beverages are sold: colleges and universities, nursing homes, hotels, catering companies, hospitals, schools, sports stadiums … the possibilities are vast.

Restaurant managers are tasked with overseeing staff and making sure customers are happy with their experience at the establishment. Profitability is a key component — restaurant managers must make decisions to ensure their place of business makes money.

Other day-to-day tasks include:

  • Managing budgets and employee payroll
  • Creating staff schedules
  • Delegating tasks
  • Hiring and training employees
  • Performing inspections
  • Ordering food, drinks, special equipment and necessary supplies
  • Ensuring the restaurant and its employees are in compliance with industry standards as they relate to food safety and cleanliness

Like most managerial roles, restaurant managers often work long shifts in excess of 40 hours per week. This is especially true for those who work at fast food and fine-dining establishments. The schedule is a bit gentler for those who work at schools and office buildings that have cafeterias and/or set mealtimes. Managers at chain or franchise restaurants may be called on to cover employee shifts when needed, and they must sometimes work weekends, holidays and nights.

Career Growth

The good news for aspiring restaurant managers is that the growing U.S. population and rise in disposable income among households will create a demand for a greater number and variety of restaurants. More people will eat out or choose to have meals delivered to their houses or offices than ever before. Therefore, more restaurants, cafeterias and catering services are expected to open and be profitable in the coming years, and all will need restaurant managers.

Employment is expected to grow 5 percent by 2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Salary Potential

The median annual salary for food service managers is $48,690.

Education Required

While experience in the food service industry is a key qualifier for employers looking for restaurant managers, more formal qualifications like education are a huge plus. Earning an associate or bachelor’s degree in business can be beneficial.