Top School in San Francisco for Restaurant Management Programs

School and Ranking Information

Prospective students thinking of careers in restaurant or catering management have six schools to consider in the San Francisco area. Based on rankings, program offerings, and proximity, the following schools are considered the best in the area:

  • Winner: San Francisco State University's larger program and significantly lower tuition costs give it an edge. It offers certificate's and associate's degrees and is ranked by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Runner-Up #1: University of San Francisco is also ranked by U.S. News & World Report. It offers bachelor's degrees and externship opportunities.
  • Runner-Up #2: Laney College offers an associate's or certificate program in restaurant management. It is located outside of San Francisco in Oakland.

School Comparison Chart

Category San Francisco State University University of San Francisco Laney College
Ranking Ranks at #50 among Regional Universities (West)* Ranks at #106 among National Universities* N/A
Location San Francisco, CA San Francisco, CA Oakland, CA (7.4 miles from San Francisco)
School Type 4-year, public 4-year, private not-for-profit 2-year, public
Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2012-2013) $6,440 (in-state), $18,098 (out-of-state)** $38,884** $1,144 (in-state), $5,704 (out-of-state)**
Restaurant and Catering Management Degree Levels Offered Certificates; bachelor's degrees Bachelor's degrees Certificates; associate's degrees
Undergraduate Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal program time) 46% (for 2005 entering class)** 70% (for 2005 entering class)** 22% (for 2008 entering class)**
Noteworthy AACSB-accredited AACSB-accredited Offers classes approved by the National Restaurant Association

Sources: *U.S. News & World Report 2013 rankings, **NCES College Navigator

Winner: San Francisco State University

  • Students can network with professionals in the field by joining the Hospitality Management Society, a student organization
  • SFSU embraces older and non-traditional students and offers them a variety of ways to offset costs, including fellowships

San Francisco State University offers a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management with an emphasis in restaurant and catering management through its College of Business. Students take 78 credits (prerequisites, core courses, and emphasis area courses) in addition to general education requirements that, in combination with the major requirements, add up to a total of 120 credits. Topics covered in the program include business essentials, such as accounting, business finance, and business statistics, along with advanced studies about the hospitality industry, such as hotel operations management and restaurant and catering management. An internship in hospitality and tourism management is also required. Students gain practical experience by working in the student-managed Vista Room, an on-campus fine-dining restaurant. A certificate in hospitality and tourism management is also available through the College of Extended Learning.

Runner-Up #1: University of San Francisco

  • USF students sign an honor pledge to uphold academic integrity
  • Although USF is a Jesuit Catholic institution, it welcomes students of all faiths as well as those who do not subscribe to any faith

The hospitality management major at the University of San Francisco leads to a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. Students can choose a track in hotel and restaurant management. The major requires 128 credits, which consist of university-wide general education requirements, general business and management essentials, hospitality management core courses, and courses within the student's chosen specialty. The USF program has two special features. The first is a senior-year capstone course in catering and fine dining management, and the second is a required 800-hour work experience in a hospitality setting.

Runner-Up #2: Laney College

  • Students have two facilities in which to gain on-campus food service experience: a bistro and a cafeteria
  • Culinary arts faculty have had experience in award-winning restaurants

The two-year Associate of Science in Restaurant Management program at Laney College focuses exclusively on what goes on in the kitchen and the restaurant manager's office. In addition to general education requirements, the program includes courses that address real-life considerations. For example, students learn the necessary principles and concepts of accounting through courses in kitchen and restaurant management rather than general accounting courses. Laney focuses on developing the applied skills and practical knowledge needed for a career specifically in the culinary arts and does not emphasize general business theory courses that may have broader applications across fields. If students prefer not to take general education courses, it's also possible to earn a certificate in restaurant management at Laney.

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