How to Become a Food and Beverage Service Manager

Mar 09, 2020

Learn how to become a food and beverage service manager. Research the education, career requirements and experience required for starting a career as a food and beverage service manager.

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Food and Beverage Service Managers

Career Requirements

Education Required High school diploma or equivalent
Certification Voluntary; the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation offers the Foodservice Management Professional (FMP) designation
Experience 2-4 years of experience working in a restaurant or bar setting
Key Skills Strong customer service and problem-solving skills; detail-oriented and able to work well with others
Salary $58,960 (2018 average for all food service managers)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS); job listings (October 2012).

Food and beverage service managers supervise the daily operations of a dining establishments and bars. They not only oversee wait staff and kitchen workers, but order supplies, ensure customer satisfaction, create schedules, and train new employees. Additionally, food and beverage service managers handle administrative duties, including payroll, employee records, and customer complaints. These professionals may work at upscale restaurants, fast food chains and even cafeterias. The job often requires long hours, and many establishments are busiest on evenings and weekends. Managers also have to deal with customer complaints, which requires strong customer service skills and the ability to solve problems.

How much can you earn as a food and beverage service manager? Earnings vary greatly by establishment but, overall, food service managers earned an average yearly salary of $58,960, as of May 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Step 1: Gain Food Service Experience

The main requirement for food and beverage service managers is industry experience. You can gain this experience by acquiring one of the many entry level food and beverage service positions, such as waiter, bartender, line cook, food preparer, dishwasher or host. With time, experience and demonstrated industry skills, these professionals usually earn promotions to more advanced positions.

Step 2: Consider College

No specific educational requirements exist to become a food and beverage service manager. However, obtaining a postsecondary certificate or degree may improve career opportunities and is often preferred by employers. You can find food service programs through 2-year and 4-year colleges and universities. Food service management curricula may include courses in sanitation, food production, personnel management, and nutrition. Because food service workers often work nights and weekends, many are able to balance their school and work schedules relatively easily.

Step 3: Pursue Career Advancement

Once you've gained experience and potentially education in food service, you may move up the ladder to management. You might earn a promotion at your current place of employment, or you may have to look outside your establishment to find an open manager position. If you're having trouble obtaining a management position, you may want to turn to a food and beverage service recruiting firm, which helps connect establishments seeking employees with workers seeking employment.

Step 4: Consider Certification

After gaining experience in management, you might consider earning certification, which can demonstrate expertise in the industry and a commitment to your career. The National Restaurant Association offers the Foodservice Management Professional designation, which is a voluntary certification that requires at least 3 years of management experience or an associate's degree, food safety certification, and passage of a certifying exam.

To become a food and beverage service manager, you'll need experience in the industry before advancing to management, and education and certification may improve your job opportunities.

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