Associate's degree programs food and beverage management typically take two years to complete, and schools require applicants to hold a high school diploma or GED. Accepted students may need to take math and English placement tests. Many programs have internship or fieldwork requirements that dovetail with classroom learning so that students can graduate with real-world experience.
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Associate's Degree in Food and Beverage Management
Courses examine food and beverages as offered in hotel and restaurants, commercial food service, institutional or catering settings. Students learn principles of safe food storage, preparation and handling, menu planning and accounting.
Students typically participate in classroom learning as well as lab sessions and cooperative education opportunities where core hospitality and business concepts are explored and implemented. Course topics include:
- Accounting for restaurants
- Food safety practices
- Technology in the restaurant industry
- Food and beverage facilities management
- Purchasing for food and beverage operations
- Human resources in hospitality settings
Job Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects the number of food service manager jobs to increase by five percent from 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). The BLS reported that the median annual salary for food service managers was $48,690 in May 2015.
Continuing Education and Professional Credentials
According to the BLS, many restaurant and hotel chains provide their own corporate training to newly hired managers and may be willing to pay for outside courses that will help the manager perform the duties of the job. Voluntary professional certifications are also available.
The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEP) operates the ManageFirst Program, which offers continuing education courses and accompanying exams in topics such as sanitation, human resources management, alcohol service and responsibilities, customer service and controlling expenses (managefirst.restaurant.org). Participants who complete a minimum number of required and elective exams may earn the voluntary ManageFirst Professional® (MFP) credential.
The NRAEP's voluntary Foodservice Management Professional (FMP) certification program recognizes managers who possess minimum work and training requirements and earn passing score on the certification exam. In order to qualify for the exam, candidates must already hold ServSafe Food Protection Manager Certification, which requires food safety training and an exam that includes proper personal hygiene and workplace sanitation, food receiving, preparation and storage that minimizes the risk of cross-contamination as well as pest management in food service settings (www.servsafe.com).
Associate's degree programs in food and beverage management prepare students for entry-level management jobs in restaurants and other food service establishment. Students graduate with basic skills in food and drink safety, facilities management, and hospitality operations; gradautes may also be prepared to seek professional certifications and credentials.