Become a Dining Room Manager: Education and Career Roadmap

Mar 09, 2020

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

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Career Info

Dining room managers oversee various aspects of restaurant operations, including hiring, training, and sometimes firing employees. Customer service, such as keeping diners satisfied with their experience, is an important component of this position. Dining room managers may also assume inventory duties and perform administrative tasks, like keeping records and employee payroll. Dining room managers are often required to stand for many hours at a time, and sometimes they must motivate difficult employees and calm demanding diners. They should have leadership skills, organizational skills, customer service skills, problem solving skills, and the ability to use related technology, such as point of sale and inventory management software. In 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that food service managers earn a median annual pay of $54,240.

Earn a College Degree

Although an individual can become a dining room manager by first gaining an entry-level position and then working their way up, more employers are hiring managers who have a degree in hospitality management or a related area. An associate's degree program is designed to introduce students to classes in practical business, accounting, and dining room and beverage management. Students may also complete an internship. Graduates may enter the workforce or transfer to a 4-year university and complete a bachelor's degree program.

Many colleges and universities offer bachelor's degree programs in hospitality or food service management. These programs combine classroom and practical experience to produce well-rounded graduates, prepared for management in the food industry. Students may take courses in accounting, food service trends, special events, and legal issues in hospitality. During these programs, students may choose, or even be required, to complete an internship.

Dining room managers are required to manage employees and work collaboratively with management teams. Communication skills are essential in order to perform this job successfully. Students may wish to take coursework that can improve communication skills, such as English or writing courses. Working collaboratively with classmates may also help individuals to communicate effectively with others.

Gain Experience

Experience is an essential requirement for dining room managers. Prospective managers may gain experience in several ways, such as working in an entry-level position in the restaurant industry. Alternatively, individuals who choose to complete degree programs may gain experience by committing a substantial amount of hours to an internship before graduating. Finally, some companies may have in-house training programs for entry-level dining room managers. They may receive training in all aspects of restaurant operations and the computerized system used by the restaurant.

Consider Certification

Managers may choose to become certified to improve their employment prospects. Voluntary certification can be a strong indication of professionalism, knowledge, and experience to prospective employers. The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation offers the Foodservice Management Professional (FMP) designation. Applicants must pass a written examination to earn this credential, as well as fulfill coursework and experience requirements.

Joining a professional organization, such as the Society for Foodservice Management, may be helpful to dining room managers at any point in their career. Membership in professional societies allows for valuable networking opportunities with experienced professionals in the field. Members may also receive newsletters and invitations to educational seminars to enhance their career development.

To recap, the education requirements for aspiring dining room managers vary, but many employers are looking for individuals who have completed some postsecondary courses or have worked their way up through a kitchen environment.

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