What Does it Mean to Study Restaurant Management?
Restaurant managers are responsible for the day-to-day details of operating restaurants and other establishments that prepare and serve meals and beverages to customers. This includes overseeing the kitchen, dining room, and banquet operations; maintaining positive customer relations and creating appealing menu options; watching inventory and ordering food, equipment, and supplies; and ensuring the restaurant is regularly repaired and maintained. The restaurant manager is also responsible for the administrative and human resources functions such as hiring and firing of staff, training, and staff evaluations.
In larger restaurants, the management team consists of a general manager, one or more assistant managers, and an executive chef. One of the most important tasks of food service managers is assisting the chef in selecting successful menu items and daily or weekly specials. Managers and executive chefs analyze recipes to determine food, labor, and overhead costs and to assign prices to various dishes. Menus must be developed far enough in advance that supplies can be ordered and received in time from distributors. To minimize food costs and spoilage, many managers use inventory-tracking software to compare the record of sales with a record of the current inventory.
What Do Restaurant Managers Do?
As a restaurant manager you must be a good communicator, motivating your employees to work as a team, to ensure that food and service meet appropriate standards. Health and safety standards need to be rigorously maintained, and your staff must fully participate in keeping the work environment safe and clean. You and your staff are also required to run the business legally, paying close attention to seating limits, hours of operation, and drinking age restrictions.
In addition to your regular duties, you could perform a variety of administrative assignments, such as keeping employee work records, preparing payroll, and completing paperwork to comply with licensing laws and reporting requirements of tax, wage and hour, unemployment compensation, and Social Security laws. This work may be delegated to an assistant manager or bookkeeper or contracted out, but most general managers retain responsibility for the accuracy of business records. Managers also maintain records of supply and equipment purchases and ensure bills are paid.
Career training in restaurant management can help you advance to positions at better restaurants, hotels or catering companies. A business degree in restaurant management can teach you how to use the technology used to track orders, control inventory, seat patrons and enter actual food and drink orders through the point-of-service (POS) system. Computers also allow you to efficiently keep track of employee schedules and payroll. Savvy restaurant managers can use the Internet to stay updated on industry trends and innovations, get recipe ideas, and advertise.
Types of Restaurant Management Degrees
Believe it or not, there's more to learn about food than can be taught in the kitchen alone. Two- and four-year degree programs in restaurant management or culinary management can help students learn about important subjects such as nutrition, sanitation, and food planning and preparation, as well as accounting, business law and management, and computer science. Online or hybrid degree programs in restaurant management are also a helpful option to keep in mind, especially for working professionals with busy work schedules.
Bachelor's Degrees in Restaurant Management
A Bachelor of Science in hotel, restaurant and institutional management consists of liberal arts and business courses, as well as specialized courses in technical applications. Expect the program curriculum to focus largely on theory and skill development, with an additional emphasis on practical work experience, perhaps through an internship.
A bachelor's degree completion program is designed for working culinary professionals who have an associate's degree in culinary arts. You may study business courses such as human resource management, accounting, hospitality law and ethics. Courses in marketing, customer service, communication and leadership can help you develop critical thinking and interpersonal skills.
The Life of a Restaurant Manager
Restaurant managers put in long hours--generally 50 or more per week. They can be the first to arrive in the morning and the last to leave at night. Managers of institutional food service facilities, such as school, factory, or office cafeterias, work more regular hours because the operating hours usually conform to the operating hours of the business or facility they serve. A willingness to relocate may be essential for advancement to positions with greater responsibility. Managers typically advance to larger establishments or regional management positions within restaurant chains. Some eventually open their own restaurants.
Restaurant Management Certification, Licensure, and Associations
Certification has become more common as the restaurant industry moves toward increased professionalism and more uniform service standards. Although it's not required for employment or advancement in the occupation, voluntary certification serves as recognition of your professional competence, particularly if you've acquired most of your skills on the job.
The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation grants two forms of individual credentials.
- The first is the Foodservice Management Professional (FMP) designation, which requires assessments, including examinations and an evaluation of education and/or experience.
- The second credential is a Certificate of Course Completion that verifies the learner has successfully completed courses in food service management topics.