What Do Food Service Managers Do?
The field of food service management does not include head cooks or chefs. Food service managers have many of the same duties as restaurant managers, but in larger-scale operations. You’ll find this position at universities, conference centers and other large institutions.There are over 320,000 people working as food service managers in the United States. Only about a two percent increase is expected for this occupation over 10 years, but since it is a fairly large field, that equals about 6,240 openings each year.
Food Service Managers Skills and Abilities
Since there are so many things to coordinate in food service, as a manager you must be good at time management and coordination of activities and personnel. You will have to be able to maintain focus on both the process of acquiring, preparing and serving food and the dynamics of working with a large team of employees. Communication skills and big-picture thinking are essential, as is ability to train others. Some human resources work is required, such as hiring and firing.
Food Service Managers Duties
Since food service managers must oversee every aspect of the dining experience, duties span the areas of business, personnel and food preparation. Your daily tasks may include:
- Working with chefs and nutritionists to plan menus
- Approving recipes
- Budgeting and overseeing payroll
- Communicating with suppliers to negotiate rates
- Ordering supplies
- Keeping inventory records
- Verifying supply orders after they are delivered
- Analyzing reports to determine efficiency and profitability, and making adjustments as needed
- Keeping up with the latest trends and government requirements in the field
- Maintaining accurate records to comply with government requirements
- Ensuring that proper sanitization and food handling procedures are being followed
- Creating and publishing workplace policies and procedures
- Recruiting, hiring and training employees
- Coordinating employee schedules
- Conducting performance evaluations and dealing with employee issues
- Scheduling use of facilities
- Verifying the quality of food being served by performing taste tests
- Establishing and spot-checking portion sizes
- Establishing and monitoring standard presentation and garnishing of dishes
- Reviewing records and reassessing menu offerings to increase profitability
- Ensuring that liquor laws are understood and obeyed
- Helping out in the serving area on occasion
- Listening and responding to customer feedback
Food Service Managers Tools and Technology
As a food service manager, you will use computers, printers and cash registers, as well as organization systems of your choice. You may also use thermometers and other kitchen-specific tools on occasion. The software you’ll need for this job includes programs specific to the restaurant and food service industry, as well as accounting, scheduling, inventory management and point-of-sale (POS) software.
Education and Training for Food Service Managers
Although you may only need a high school diploma for this career, you might consider a learning program in hospitality, restaurant management, food service management or culinary science. You will likely need around five years of experience in the industry to break into this field.
Food Service Managers Salary
Food service managers can make a good living. The median annual salary is $48,500, but some earn closer to $30,000 while others can make as much as $82,300. This is typically a full-time, salaried position with a lot of responsibility.
Food Service Managers Jobs by Geography
California has the most food management professionals of any state: over 50,000. Texas comes in second with over 27,000. These two states predict a job increase of over 10 percent during a 10-year period. Rhode Island, New Jersey, New York and Nevada each have a median salary of $60,000 or more for this career, but these states don’t predict a high rate of growth. When beginning a job search in the field of food service management, consider both the number of openings and the typical wage.