Director of Dining Services: Job Description and Requirements

Mar 24, 2021

As a director of dining services, managing and overseeing a large-scale food service operation is not a simple task, and it requires knowledge related to nutrition, food safety, and administration. An associate's degree in food service or hospitality management is needed to get a job in this field, but management experience is also often necessary. Directors of dining services might work in hospitals, educational institutions, or retirement residences.

Essential Information

A director of dining services tends to be a food service manager employed by a large institution, such as a school, senior living residence or hospital. Requirements for the job usually include an associate's degree related to food service management and some previous managing experience. Numerous voluntary credentials are available in this field.

Required Education Associate's degree
Additional Requirements Managerial experience
Licensure and Certification Optional; credentials include certified dietary manager (CDM), certified food protection professional (CFPP), registered dietetic technician (DTR)
Projected Job Growth (2019-2029) 1% for food service managers*
Median Salary (2019) $55,320 annually for food service managers*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Director of Dining Services Job Description

A director of dining services is usually in charge of managing the dining and food preparation staff at a large institution. Responsibilities include ordering the food, preparing and delivering it and cleaning up afterward, according to the December 2010 job listings on A dining services director also plans the menu, which includes making healthy food choices.

Administrative duties are part of the job as well. These include interviewing and training staff, maintaining records and ordering supplies while working within a budget. This food service professional must adhere to company policies and state and Federal regulations in reference to cleanliness and safety.

Education Requirements

Formal education requirements can be met by pursuing a 2-year program such as food service management or hospitality and culinary management. In addition, the position usually requires previous managerial experience. A director of dining services should be able to communicate well with residents, families, staff and vendors.

Prospective dining service directors in a food service management-related program can take courses in culinary cuisine, nutrition and food trends. Practical training in food preparation and operations may also be included; students can gain real-world experience by working in a restaurant.

Directors looking to enhance their education can earn a Master of Business Education/Master of Public Health. This dual degree program provides a background in accounting, finances, economics and other subjects related to management.

Licensure and Certification Requirements

A certified dietary manager license and a dietetic technician certification are two credentials available in this field. A certified dietary manager, certified food protection professional (CDM, CFPP) must pass a nationally acknowledged exam. Candidates for the CDM, CFPP certification exam qualify for the exam through training and experience.

A registered dietetic technician (DTR) is one who has finished a 2-year degree granted by an accredited college and finished at least 450 hours of practice through a dietetic technician program. They have also passed the registration examination for dietetic technicians. Some employers may require this credential.

Career and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of jobs for food service managers is predicted to increase slower than the average from 2019-2029 ( The BLS reported that food service managers earned a mean annual salary of $59,820 in 2019.

Becoming a director of dining services requires at least an associate's degree plus managerial work experience, but a master's degree in business and/or public health could make you a more attractive candidate. There are also several optional accreditations you can pursue. Job growth for all food service managers is expected to rise slower than average through the year 2019.

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