Become a Fast Food General Manager: Salary and Career Information

Find out how to become a fast food general manager. Research the education and training requirements, and learn about the experience you need to advance your career in fast food management.

Should I Become a Fast Food General Manager?

General managers in the food services and hospitality industry work closely with employees in a customer service environment. In today's fast food industry, these positions require strong leaderships skills, since managers must train a team of workers to meet business and food quality goals. Dealing with unhappy customers can be quite stressful as well, and many fast food managers put in long hours on the weekends and evenings.

Career Requirements

Degree Level None required, though many employers prefer a college degree
Degree Fields Food service management or hospitality
Certification Optional Foodservice Management Professional (FMP) certification from the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation
Experience Two or more years of food service management experience usually needed
Key Skills Customer service, leadership and interpersonal communication skills; office management skills, understanding of payroll procedures; food management skills and knowledge of food safety and sanitation regulations
Salary (2014) $48,560 per year (Median salary for food service managers)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2014)

Step 1: Take Related Classes

Fast food general managers are usually required to have a high school diploma or equivalent. Taking classes in math, accounting, communication, business or computer science while still in high school can help students develop useful skills needed as a general manager at a fast food establishment.

Success Tip:

  • Consider a college degree. Although a college degree is not normally a requirement for a general manager position at a fast food restaurant, many employers prefer candidates with postsecondary experience in hospitality or food service management. Training can be found in the form of associate's and bachelor's degree programs, as well as non-degree certificate programs. These programs typically require students to take classes in food preparation, sanitation, cost control, human resources management and menu planning. Internships and work requirements at food establishments are often part of the program.

Step 2: Gain Experience

Employers often seek experienced professionals for general manager positions at fast food establishments. Experience requirements can range from two years to five or more years. Experience can be acquired by taking lesser management positions within the food service industry.

Success Tips:

  • Seek experience with a target company. Those interested in a general management career with a particular company might be best served by gaining experience within the same company as a food service employee or server. This offers a chance to learn the company's standards and could pave the way for internal advancement.

Step 3: Seek Optional Certification

The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation offers certification as a Foodservice Management Professional (FMP), which can showcase the recipient's professionalism and management skills. Acquiring the certificate requires three years of leadership experience or an associate's degree combined with two years of experience. Applicants also need to already hold Food Protection Manager certification, which can be earned from the ServSafe program. After meeting these requirements, an applicant must pass the FMP exam. Having this voluntary certification may qualify food service managers for higher-paying positions.

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