Become a Kitchen Supervisor: Step-by-Step Career Guide

Learn how it's possible to become a kitchen supervisor through work experience or formal education in the culinary arts. Explore a few educational and career pathways for this profession. View article »

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  • 0:03 Kitchen Supervisor Career Info
  • 0:53 Gain Experience as a Cook
  • 1:28 Consider Earning a Degree
  • 2:16 Find Job as Kitchen Supervisor
  • 2:47 Advance in Career

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Video Transcript

Kitchen Supervisor Career Info

Kitchen supervisors make sure that workers in a restaurant or food service kitchen make food safely, efficiently, and properly. Supervisors may also have administrative duties, such as shift scheduling and inventory management. Kitchen supervisors can work at upscale restaurants, fast-food restaurants, hotel kitchens, and catering businesses. These professionals can start at entry-level restaurant positions and work their way up through experience, or obtain a degree in culinary arts or hospitality.

Regardless, these professionals should have strong communication skills, a service orientation, critical thinking skills, and the ability to manage others well. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, food service managers in general earned a median annual pay of $48,690 in 2015.

Career Requirements at a Glance

Degree Level Although not required, an associate's degree or certificate is useful
Degree Field Culinary arts or hospitality
Experience Professionals can advance to kitchen supervisor by starting at entry-level kitchen positions
Salary $48,690 in May 2015 (Median salary for food service managers)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Gain Experience as a Cook

One way to become a kitchen supervisor is to start at an entry-level kitchen position and work towards advancement as experience is accumulated. Some relevant positions include assistant cook or food preparation worker. These jobs involve performing a specific task, or a limited number of tasks, under the direction of a chef or supervisor. An important consideration regarding this path is that those who worked their way up in one specific place may have trouble finding an equivalent position elsewhere, without either obtaining formal education or spending more time in a lower-level position.

Consider Earning a Degree

While not necessarily required, a degree from an accredited institution may improve chances of obtaining a supervisory position, especially when combined with relevant work experience. Degree programs in culinary arts or hospitality are offered at several types of institutions, including culinary schools, technical schools, and colleges with a department of culinary arts.

Programs vary in length and breadth; associate's degree programs generally take 2 years to complete and involve typical general education requirements in the humanities and sciences, in addition to culinary arts courses. Certificate programs offered by technical schools and culinary schools may be 1-2 years in length and generally only have courses in culinary arts and relevant fields without additional requirements.

Find Job as Kitchen Supervisor

Kitchen supervisors are employed in a wide variety of locations; options are available based on experience, education, and personal preference. Positions can be found at upscale restaurants with larger menus and items made to order, or at places with more limited services such as fast-food restaurants or supermarket delicatessens offering prepared dishes. Other potential places of employment include hotel kitchens, catering businesses, and cafeterias at schools, hospitals, or larger businesses.

Advance in Career

Professionals that have an associate's degree or certificate in culinary arts or hospitality might want to consider obtaining a bachelor's degree. Relevant work experience and a bachelor's degree in hospitality, restaurant, or food service management can increase job prospects at upscale restaurants.

Once again, there are a few paths to becoming a kitchen supervisor. One might work their way up from entry-level kitchen positions or start out with a certificate or degree in culinary arts or hospitality before entering the field.

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