Become an Assistant Kitchen Manager: Career Requirements and Info

Research the requirements to become an assistant kitchen manager. Learn about the job description and duties and see the step-by-step process to start a career in kitchen management. View article »

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  • 0:05 Assistant Kitchen…
  • 0:43 Gain Experience
  • 1:23 Get a Degree
  • 2:11 Get Certified

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Assistant Kitchen Manager Career Info

Assistant kitchen managers help oversee many aspects of an establishment's kitchen operations. They prepare food, manage staff, ensure customer satisfaction, train new employees, and supervise inventory. Jobs in this field may be stressful, with long work weeks, difficult employees, or demanding customers. Assistant kitchen managers should be service oriented and should have management skills, critical thinking skills, organizational skills, problem solving skills, and knowledge of industry software. In early 2016, Payscale.com found that assistant kitchen managers earned a median annual salary of $34,009.

Gain Experience

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the most important qualification of a job as a food service manager is restaurant experience. Employers typically require assistant kitchen managers to have earned service experience in a similar type of establishment, such as casual dining or high-volume concessions.

Most restaurants have entry-level positions available that provide a starting point for those candidates seeking a future career as an assistant kitchen manager. Aspiring applicants may want to consider acquiring the necessary work experience through entry-level jobs like food servers or host, which can lead to positions of higher responsibility as they gain familiarity with a restaurant's operation.

Get a Degree

Food service workers with college degrees often have increased chances of employment and advancement opportunities. Interested parties may opt to take courses in hospitality management, which teaches students the business behind operating successful destinations for people away from home, like hotels or restaurants. These programs also teach students general business skills, such as marketing and accounting, in addition to topics specific to hotel and restaurant management.

Similarly, students may complete food service management programs, which focus specifically on the skills needed to run a restaurant, as well as basic business principles. Students can take courses in nutrition, catering, and wine service. Both hospitality and food service management programs offer associate's or bachelor's degrees, depending on the school.

Get Certified

Aspiring assistant kitchen managers seeking to advance their careers may want to pursue professional certification. Some states require food safety training and certification for managers. ServSafe, which is a nationally recognized food safety program that meets regulatory and accreditation requirements, maintains a list of each state's food safety laws. While certification usually isn't required for advancement, it provides a useful indication of professional ability which may appeal to employers.

Candidates can apply for Food Protection Manager (FPM) Certification through the National Restaurant Association (NRA), which requires a 90 multiple-choice question examination with a 75% passing score. The NRA also offers the Foodservice Management Professional (FMP) designation for supervisors in the restaurant industry with at least three years of experience or degreed applicants with two years' supervisory experience. All FMP applicants must have also previously taken and passed the FPM Certification exam within the past five years. Qualified FMP applicants must pass a two-part, 175-question exam.

Assistant kitchen managers should check with their state regarding NRA certification renewals. Management designations are typically valid for five years. A refresher course may be necessary to meet recertification requirements.

To recap, an individual will primarily need experience in a food service environment in order to obtain a job as an assistant kitchen manager, though some postsecondary education and certification can help bolster job prospects.


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