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Kitchen Manager: Job Info & Career Requirements

Read about the many duties that kitchen managers have and what type of training is common for them. Discover what skills are needed, as well as what prospective kitchen managers can look forward to as far as career outlook and income. Information is also available on related career options.

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Career Information for Kitchen Managers

A kitchen manager ensures a smooth running professional kitchen with few errors, accidents, staff squabbles, or equipment issues. While restaurants refer to kitchen staff as 'back of the house', their work directly impacts the success of a restaurant. Incorrectly prepared food or poor timing can give a restaurant a bad reputation that can put it out of business.

A kitchen manager is responsible for the maintenance of kitchen equipment and may also assist in product acquisition and menu development. The kitchen manager supervises, coordinates, and motivates kitchen staff, which may consist of a few general line cooks or several specialties such as prep cook, grill cook, and chef. A kitchen manager may work the line during a rush or help plate food as needed. Kitchen managers may also be responsible for employee scheduling, food orders and food quality, sanitation inspections, and kitchen equipment, according to CareerBuilder.com.

Education High school diploma or equivalent; postsecondary degrees are available
Job Duties Ensures smooth kitchen operation, supervises kitchen staff
Median Salary (2015)* $48,690 (all food service managers)
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 5% (all food service managers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Kitchen managers come from a variety of backgrounds. Many kitchen managers began as line cooks or wait staff. Others have an associate or bachelor's degree in restaurant and hospitality or culinary arts. While there are no educational requirements for kitchen manager, those who aspire to become a restaurant manager or open their own place may find formal education extremely helpful, particularly with respect to the study of food costs, vendor contracts, and marketing.

Job Skills

The job of a kitchen manager is tough. They work long hours and must be able to motivate and mentor their subordinates in a hot, pressure-packed kitchen beholden to demanding diners. A kitchen manager must possess superb interpersonal skills and know how to work with both line cooks and sometimes difficult chefs in order to keep conflict to a minimum. The ability to speak Spanish is highly desired by employers and can make life easier for a kitchen manager. Despite the 'heat of the kitchen,' many thrive on the excitement and frenzy of the restaurant business.

Career and Economic Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expected food service managers in general, the broader category to which kitchen managers belong, to see a 5% uptick in employment from 2014 to 2024. The BLS reported a median annual salary of $48,690 as of May 2015.

Alternative Career Options

Similar career options in this field include:

Lodging Manager

A lodging manager may work for places such as a hotel, bed and breakfast, resort, or convention center. Managers make sure that guests have a trouble-free experience, but they also monitor and train staff in helping this goal reach fruition. Applicants' education varies from a high school diploma to a bachelor's degree, along with work experience. The median income for lodging managers in 2015 was $49,720 per year, based on information from the BLS. An 8% increase in job opportunities was predicted for lodging managers for the 2014 to 2024 decade, per the BLS, which is about as fast as average.

General and Operations Manager

Kitchen managers may consider this option after they've gained considerable experience and perhaps have earned a bachelor's degree. Categorized by the BLS among top executives, general and operations managers monitor daily operations, create staff schedules, and establish policies. Managers working in restaurants earned a mean salary of $71,340 in 2015. An average job growth of 6% was predicted for top executives from 2014 to 2024, according to the BLS.

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