Becoming a Restaurant Manager: Job Description & Salary Information

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What are the pros and cons of a restaurant management career? Get real job descriptions, career prospects and salary info to see if becoming a restaurant manager is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of Working as a Restaurant Manager

Restaurant managers are responsible for ordering food and supplies, managing staff and ensuring they've created a business where customers are satisfied and have a good dining experience. Before you consider this career, take a moment to look over some of the pros and cons.

PROS of a Restaurant Management Career
High school degree or GED with significant work experience may be sufficient for employment*
Good career option for those with interests in culinary arts and business*
Opportunities for self-employment (approximately 40% of food service managers were self-employed as of 2012)*
Some restaurants will pay for training*

CONS of a Restaurant Management Career
Little or no growth (2% from 2012-2022)*
Long hours are often necessary*
Injuries are common (cuts and burns)*
High turnover rate*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information

Job Duties

Restaurant managers oversee the kitchen, dining room and business functions of restaurants and food service establishments. Managers interview, hire and fire staff; purchase supplies, including food and beverages; and cater to the needs of customers. They also handle a restaurant's human resources operations, such as payroll and employee benefits. Managers are expected to have knowledge of the restaurant industry and sharp business skills.

Job Outlook and Salary Information

The BLS projected that opportunities for food service managers could increase 2% from 2012-2022. This decline was anticipated due to a drop in the number of new restaurants and bars opening in the U.S. However, the BLS noted that food service managers might find new opportunities in grocery stores as well as other retail and recreation settings. The BLS determined that restaurant managers earned a median salary of around $48,560 as of May 2014.

What Are the Requirements?

Most restaurant managers are expected to have experience in the restaurant industry as a chef, server, bartender or host. Managers should have the ability to multitask and be excellent customer service representatives. They also need to be detail-oriented and possess accounting and business skills. Because they deal face-to-face with customers, managers should be personable and willing to listen to and respond to customer needs and demands. Managing a restaurant requires long hours of standing, walking and dealing with stressful surroundings, so managers should also have physical and emotional stamina.

Education Requirements

Although many managers advance to their positions through restaurant work experience, employers often prefer candidates who have earned an associate's or bachelor's degree in hospitality management or a related field. Employers are increasingly interested in candidates who have degrees, according to the BLS. Restaurant chains usually offer their own training programs for newly hired managers. The BLS also reports that some restaurants will pay for business and computer courses.

Real Job Postings

Most restaurants seek candidates with restaurant experience, but because this is a highly competitive job market, candidates with degrees may have the best chances for employment. Experience working with customers is vital, and knowledge of food preparation, health and safety standards, food inventory and purchasing is also preferable. Below is a list of job postings for restaurant managers from March 2012:

  • An Arizona restaurant was seeking a manager with more than five years of experience. The successful candidate needed a high school diploma, excellent communication skills and strong hospitality skills.
  • A Philadelphia restaurant was seeking a manager with at least 3-5 years of fine dining experience. The restaurant preferred a manager with front-of-the-house skills, such as service techniques, food and beverage management, guest interaction and general supervision.
  • A Florida restaurant was searching for a front-of-the-house manager with an associate's degree or at least one year of management experience. The restaurant also preferred a candidate who had food safety certification and a willingness to relocate if necessary.

How to Stand Out in the Field

Although most employers don't require managers to have professional certification, prospective managers may look into credentials offered by an organization such as the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF). NRAEF features a Foodservice Management Professional (FMP) credential that may be attractive to some employers. Certification can also help you distinguish yourself from other hopeful managers competing for the same jobs.

You also might look into the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute, which offers the Certified Restaurant Manager (CRM) credential. If you lack the experience requirements needed to take the CRM exam, you could qualify by completing the institute's Food and Beverage Management Specialization program, which is offered online (www.ahlei.org).

Alternative Career Options

If you decide a restaurant management job is not right for you, you might want to investigate related career options. You could work as a manager at a hotel or casino, or you could be a manager at another type of business, such as retail.

Lodging Manager

If you'd like a different type of management position, you might look into lodging management. Lodging managers work in hotels and motels and are also dedicated to customer service. The BLS expected job opportunities for lodging managers to grow about 8% between 2010 and 2020. Lodging managers earned a median salary of approximately $47,000 as of May 2011.

Gaming Manager

Gaming managers work in casinos, overseeing the operation of gaming tables, supervising staff and serving customers. The BLS reported that jobs in the gaming industry were projected to grow 11% from 2010-2020. The median salary of gaming managers was around $67,000 as of May 2011.

Retail Supervisor

If you're interested in a management job outside of the hospitality industry, you can also explore the idea of working as a retail supervisor. Retail supervisors hire, train and supervise salespeople, cashiers and customer service representatives. As of May 2011, the BLS reported that these supervisors earned a median salary of approximately $36,000; 8% growth in employment was expected from 2010-2020.

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    2. Purdue University

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George Mason University

  • Master of Business Administration

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Purdue University

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Kaplan University

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  • Bachelor of Business Admin
  • AASBA in Food/Hotel Management

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The Art Institutes

  • Hotel & Restaurant Management (BS)
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  • Food & Beverage Operations (C)
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Virginia College

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  • Certification - Business Administration
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Full Sail University

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  • M.S. - Internet Marketing
  • B.S. - Music Business

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Herzing University

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Colorado State University Global

  • MS - Management
  • MS - Organizational Leadership
  • BS - Business Management
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