Food Service Manager: What Is It and How to Become

Food Service Manager: What Is It and How to Become

A food service manager is a key figure in the food and beverage industry. They’re responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of a restaurant, ensuring that everything runs smoothly and efficiently. From managing inventory to meeting customer needs, a food service manager plays a vital role in the success of a restaurant.

One of the primary responsibilities of a food service manager is overseeing the inventory. They must keep track of what food and beverages are in stock, as well as monitor the usage and ordering of supplies. By carefully managing the inventory, they can ensure that the restaurant has enough stock to meet customer demand, without wasting resources or running out of vital items.

In addition to managing inventory, food service managers are also responsible for ensuring that all employees are performing their duties effectively. This includes training new staff members, conducting performance evaluations, and providing guidance and support to help employees excel in their roles. They must also be prepared to handle any issues or conflicts that arise, mediating disputes and ensuring a positive work environment for all employees.

Food service managers must also possess excellent communication skills. They need to be able to communicate effectively with their team members, as well as with customers and other stakeholders. Whether it’s discussing menu options with a customer or giving instructions to the kitchen staff, clear and concise communication is essential in this role.

Furthermore, food service managers must stay up to date with industry trends and changes. They need to be aware of new food safety protocols and regulations, as well as emerging culinary trends. By keeping themselves informed, they can ensure that the restaurant is always providing the best possible experience for its customers.

To become a food service manager, a combination of formal education and related work experience is typically required. Many food service managers start their careers in entry-level positions within restaurants and work their way up through the ranks. Others may choose to enroll in formal management programs or seek certifications to enhance their skills and qualifications.

What Does a Food Service Manager Do?

One of the main responsibilities of a food service manager is recruiting and training employees. They seek out and hire qualified individuals, and then provide them with the necessary training to perform their job effectively. They also create work schedules and ensure that employees have the necessary resources to perform their tasks.

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Food service managers are also responsible for ensuring that the establishment complies with all food safety and sanitation regulations. They oversee the implementation of proper food handling and storage procedures, and they ensure that employees adhere to these principles. This helps to prevent foodborne illnesses and ensures that customers are receiving safe and high-quality food.

Another important aspect of a food service manager’s role is overseeing the financial operations of the establishment. They are responsible for managing the budget, paying bills, and keeping track of inventory. They analyze financial data to identify areas where costs can be reduced, or where revenue can be increased. This helps to ensure that the business is running efficiently and profitably.

In addition to these managerial responsibilities, food service managers also have to deal with the daily challenges that arise in a fast-paced, customer-oriented environment. They may have to handle customer complaints or resolve conflicts among employees. They are always on their feet, helping out in different areas of the restaurant as needed.

To become a food service manager, one must typically have a high school diploma or equivalent. Some employers may also require additional qualifications, such as a degree in hospitality management or a related field. Taking online certification courses in food safety and management can enhance a candidate’s chances of getting hired.

The job outlook for food service managers is relatively stable. Although the industry can be competitive, there are always opportunities for skilled and experienced individuals. Food service managers can work in a variety of establishments, including restaurants, cafeterias, hotels, and food stores.

Responsibilities and Skills

Some specific responsibilities of a food service manager may include:

1. Scheduling

Food service managers are in charge of creating employee schedules, ensuring that the right number of staff members are available to meet the needs of the establishment. They must also be able to adjust schedules and assign tasks as needed, to accommodate changes in customer demand or staff availability.

2. Staff Management

Food service managers are responsible for hiring, training, and evaluating staff members. They must set performance expectations, provide feedback, and address any performance or behavioral issues that arise. They also need to ensure that employees have the necessary skills and knowledge to perform their job effectively.

3. Inventory and Ordering

4. Financial Management

Food service managers need to keep track of the financial aspects of their establishment. This includes budgeting, analyzing financial statements, and ensuring that the business operates within budgetary constraints. They may also be responsible for processing payroll, keeping track of revenue and expenses, and ensuring compliance with financial regulations.

Food service managers also need a variety of skills to perform their job effectively. These may include:

  • Strong leadership and management skills
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Problem-solving and decision-making abilities
  • Attention to detail and organizational skills
  • Knowledge of foodservice principles and best practices
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced and high-pressure environment
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Education and experience requirements for food service managers can vary. Some employers may require a bachelor’s degree in hospitality or a related field, while others may consider equivalent work experience. Certain states, such as Texas, may also require food service managers to have specific licenses or certifications before they can work in the role. Formal education or training in foodservice management can provide a solid foundation and enhance job opportunities.

In terms of career growth, foodservice managers can move up to become restaurant general managers or executive chefs. They may also choose to join larger organizations or move into other related careers, such as working in catering services or foodservice consulting. The future outlook for food service managers is generally positive, as the industry continues to grow and there will always be a need for skilled managers in the foodservice sector.

Overall, being a food service manager can be a rewarding career option for those who enjoy working in the food industry and have strong organizational, leadership, and communication skills. While the job comes with its share of responsibilities and challenges, it also offers the opportunity to work with a diverse team and contribute to creating memorable dining experiences for customers.

Step Two: Help Others

To be successful in this role, you’ll need to have strong leadership qualities and be able to effectively communicate and delegate tasks. You’ll also need to have a solid understanding of food and beverage safety principles, as well as knowledge of any required licenses and certifications. Sometimes, additional education may be needed, such as an accredited postsecondary diploma or degree in a related field.

If you’re interested in pursuing a career in food service management, consider seeking out opportunities to work in different positions within a restaurant or company. This will give you a well-rounded understanding of the industry and help you develop the skills needed to be an effective manager. You can also seek out additional training and certifications, such as those offered by the Anab-CFP, to further enhance your knowledge and increase your chances of promotion.

One important aspect of helping others in this industry is ensuring that they have the resources and support they need to do their jobs effectively. This may include providing training and ongoing education, offering guidance and support, and being available to answer questions and provide feedback. By being a resource and mentor to others, you can not only help them succeed but also contribute to the overall success of your team and your establishment.

So, if you’re looking for a rewarding occupation where you can combine your love of food and people, consider a career as a food service manager. With the right education, experience, and qualities, you can take on the responsibility of leading a team and helping others in the food service industry.

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Become Better

If you’re interested in a career as a food service manager, there are many opportunities to grow and improve in your role. Whether you’re just starting out or have years of experience, here are some steps you can take to become a better manager in the food service industry:

Educate Yourself

Visit online resources and websites that provide information on food service careers. They can give you a guide on what the job entails, the requirements needed, and the skills you should have. Many schools and colleges also offer programs and courses specifically designed for aspiring food service managers.

Gain Experience

On-the-job training is important in the food service industry. Seek out roles that allow you to gain experience in different areas, such as front-of-house or back-of-house management. This will give you a well-rounded understanding of how a restaurant or food service establishment operates.

Develop Managerial Skills

Being a food service manager requires excellent managerial and leadership skills. Take on projects or responsibilities that allow you to practice these skills, such as overseeing staff schedules, ensuring timely and efficient service, and managing inventory and food safety.

Seek Professional Development

Join industry organizations and associations that offer resources and networking opportunities for food service managers. These can provide additional training and certifications to enhance your skills and knowledge. For example, becoming a member of the National Restaurant Association can provide access to a range of resources and certifications.

Remember, becoming a better food service manager is a lifelong journey. Continually seek out opportunities to learn and improve, and you’ll be on the path to a successful and fulfilling career in the food service industry.


What are the main responsibilities of a food service manager?

The main responsibilities of a food service manager include overseeing the operations of a food service establishment, ensuring food safety and quality standards are met, managing staff, creating and implementing menus, and handling customer service issues.

What skills should a food service manager have?

A food service manager should have strong leadership abilities, good communication and interpersonal skills, excellent problem-solving and decision-making skills, and the ability to multitask and work in a fast-paced environment. They should also have knowledge of food safety regulations and basic business management principles.

Is a Texas Food Manager Certification required for a food service manager in Texas?

Yes, in Texas, a food service manager is required to have a Texas Food Manager Certification. This certification ensures that the manager has the necessary knowledge and skills to handle food safely and prevent foodborne illnesses.

What is the process for obtaining a Texas Food Manager Certification?

The process for obtaining a Texas Food Manager Certification involves completing a food manager certification course, passing an exam, and obtaining a certificate. The certification course can be taken online or in-person, and the exam is typically multiple-choice. Once the exam is passed, the certificate is issued, and it is valid for five years.

Dave Pennells

By Dave Pennells

Dave Pennells, MS, has contributed his expertise as a career consultant and training specialist across various fields for over 15 years. At City University of Seattle, he offers personal career counseling and conducts workshops focused on practical job search techniques, resume creation, and interview skills. With a Master of Science in Counseling, Pennells specializes in career consulting, conducting career assessments, guiding career transitions, and providing outplacement services. Her professional experience spans multiple sectors, including banking, retail, airlines, non-profit organizations, and the aerospace industry. Additionally, since 2001, he has been actively involved with the Career Development Association of Australia.