Food & Beverage Operations Management: Process & Example

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  • 0:00 The Food & Beverage Manager
  • 0:38 Sourcing Food from Vendors
  • 2:04 Planning the Menu
  • 2:44 Planning the Space
  • 3:36 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Yuanxin (Amy) Yang Alcocer

Amy has a master's degree in secondary education and has taught math at a public charter high school.

Expert Contributor
Steven Scalia

Steven completed a Graduate Degree is Chartered Accountancy at Concordia University. He has performed as Teacher's Assistant and Assistant Lecturer in University.

After reading this lesson, you'll understand the varied job duties of a food and beverage operations manager. You'll see how the manager interacts with people to be successful.

The Food & Beverage Manager

Meet John. He is the food and beverage manager for a large upscale hotel in the area. As the food and beverage manager, he is in charge of feeding customers. He has been doing his job for a few years now and he loves it.

Now it's easy for him to do his job, but that wasn't always the case. When he first started, he had so much to learn. Now he's in a position to teach others. Because he is passionate about food, teaching others about the food industry comes natural to him. Let's let him explain what it's like to be a food and beverage manager.

Sourcing Food from Vendors

In order to serve food and drinks to his customers, John must first source his raw food items from vendors. These vendors are the primary group with whom John interacts. This is not a simple run to the grocery store. It is about starting relationships with food vendors, like small family farms or larger, more commercial farms. John needs to find vendors with quality food that can deliver on time to his hotel.

John also takes the price of food from each vendor into consideration. He'll have to use several of them, not just one. He'll have one or more drink vendors depending on whether he wants to offer more choices to the hotel guests. He'll work with multiple food vendors too, including many small local farms that deliver straight to the hotel. John likes locally sourced foods, so he has an egg vendor, a milk vendor, a produce vendor, and a meat vendor. He has to coordinate with each of them so they arrive at the hotel in an organized manner. John can't have all his vendors arrive at the same time. That would be chaotic as there won't be enough employees to help him unload and store all the food.

Speaking with potential drink vendors, John will find out how often they can deliver, what types of drinks they offer, and how much the drinks cost with delivery fees. John may speak to several vendors before deciding to go with one that has the best quality for the best price.

Planning the Menu

After John has found vendors for all his food needs, he now needs to plan the menu. Planning the menu isn't a simple task. John needs to figure out the right prices for the right amount of food.

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Additional Activities

Food & Beverage Operations Management - An Essay Prompt:

This essay prompt is designed to enable students to apply their knowledge on food and beverage operations management to a commonly known food company.

Essay Prompt:

The food and beverage industry is not as simple as it seems at first glance. Anyone that has managed and operated a restaurant or even a street food stand can vouch for the extensive planning required in order to produce a high quality product for customers. This essay prompt will allow you to dig deeper into the planning that goes on behind the scenes in these establishments. In particular, we'll study McDonald's given that is has a world renowned supply chain and franchise model that paved the way for the rest of the industry.

Online research for McDonald's can be done by exploring the company's annual report, news releases, and reputable online articles. Based on this research, discuss the following topics in a short essay format (75 words minimum each):

  1. Who are the main suppliers that source McDonald's ingredients? Pick one of these suppliers and discuss why you believe McDonald's chose them.
  2. What stands out on McDonald's menu in comparison to menus of its competitors (e.g. Wendy's, Subway, etc.)?
  3. How would you describe the space of McDonald's restaurant locations? What is a noticeable change that you have observed in the past decade?


There are many possible points that can be discussed by students. Below is an example of the points that might be mentioned.

  1. Two of McDonald's largest suppliers are Cargill and Coca-Cola. These suppliers were selected because of their own strong supply chain and distribution network, allowing all of McDonald's franchises to get their products on time.
  2. McDonald's is famous for its Happy Meal, which includes a toy for customers with each meal. There are also many different possible combinations of meat, fish, and vegetarian options.
  3. The McDonald's space is family oriented, especially with its Ronald McDonald parks across the world. Recently, the company introduced a McCafe product line and created a coffee shop corner in many of its locations in order to attract a different type of clientele. The company also offers free wi-fi in order to attract new customers.

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