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Restaurant Manager: Job Info & Career Requirements

Restaurant managers oversee in the daily operations of restaurants, including the preparation and serving of meals and beverages. For more information about education requirements, employment outlook and earning potential for restaurant managers, read on.

Career Definition for Restaurant Managers

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), restaurant managers have many responsibilities, but their main priority is to ensure that their restaurant is operating at a profit. Restaurant managers handle the business side of an establishment and may be in charge of ordering food and beverage stocks, budgeting, and handling other administrative duties. Managers must lead a staff of waiters, cooks, hostesses, and bartenders, and they may have to step in to serve food, greet guests, and make drinks when situations arise. Because of the customer-oriented nature of the food service industry, restaurant managers must be adept at creating a friendly and welcoming environment for both patrons and staff (www.bls.gov).

Education High school diploma or equivalent; postsecondary degrees are available
Job Duties Ensure operational profit, order stock, handle budgeting
Median Salary (2015)* $48,690 (all food service managers)
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 5% (all food service managers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Required

A high school diploma or its equivalent is the minimum educational requirement for becoming a restaurant manager. Certificate and associate degree programs in restaurant administration and management are also available; some aspiring professionals pursue bachelor's degrees in business. Many restaurant managers begin their careers by working as waiters, waitresses, cooks, or counter help, and train on the job.

Skills Required

Restaurant managers need to have excellent interpersonal and organizational skills. Initiative, leadership abilities, and reliability are key. Restaurant managers should also be physically fit and have the stamina necessary to stand on their feet and move around for long periods of time. Administrative and communication skills, such as those associated with giving orders and providing direction to staff, are also important.

Career and Salary Outlook

Restaurant managers can advance in the industry by transitioning from smaller to larger restaurants. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job opportunities for food service managers nationwide are expected to grow by 5% between 2014 and 2024. The BLS also reports that, in May 2015, the median annual wage for food service managers (including restaurant managers) was $48,690 (www.bls.gov).

Alternate Career Options

Similar career options in this field include:

Chefs and Head Cooks

Chefs and head cooks supervise food preparation activities and kitchen staff at food service establishments and restaurants. While the majority of culinary professionals learn on the job, some students pursue apprenticeships or formal training at cooking or technical schools, 2-year and 4-year colleges, or within the military. The BLS reports that employment prospects for chefs and head cooks are expected to increase by a faster-than-average rate of 9% between 2014 and 2024. Those who were employed in May 2015 received median yearly salaries of $41,500, also according to the BLS (www.bls.gov).

Lodging Managers

The responsibilities of lodging managers are similar to those of restaurant managers in that they must do their best to see that business travelers and vacationing visitors enjoy their stay. They are also responsible for making sure that their hotel or motel operates in an efficient and profitable manner. Although high school graduates with significant experience in hospitality may qualify for some management jobs, completion of a certificate, associate's, or bachelor's program in hotel management is usually required by smaller and full-service hotels. The BLS reports that lodging managers who were employed in the field in May 2015 earned median annual wages of $49,720, with an 8% increase in job growth expected from 2014 to 2024 (www.bls.gov).

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