Job Description of a Cafeteria Manager
Cafeterias exist in schools, hospitals, corporate offices and as part of chain restaurants. Cafeteria managers ensure compliance with health and safety standards and plan and provide nutritious meals.
A cafeteria manager oversees employees and food production. General managerial responsibilities include hiring and mentoring employees and scheduling work hours. Cafeteria managers take inventory, order food and supplies and check the quality and quantity of orders received. They ensure that cafeteria operations follow all sanitation and health regulations and that meals meet nutritional standards.
Managers often handle customer complaints and resolve issues related to food quality. They monitor the food's taste and appearance and may consult with the chef to plan healthy and cost-effective menus. Cafeteria managers keep detailed administrative records regarding meal plans, costs and hours worked. They often handle receipts and cash, and they manage employee information such as tax records.
Cafeteria managers might assist with the promotion of various cafeteria or company initiatives, such as creating an environmentally friendly food service or advertising and arranging for customer donations to a local charity. In a larger cafeteria, they often communicate with the supplier that provides the cafeteria with food.
Successful cafeteria managers should be calm, flexible and mentally alert. They should be able to handle the stress of juggling multiple activities at once and need to maintain a professional appearance. Cafeteria managers should be able to start projects, lead others and communicate effectively. Many positions require managers to be on their feet and perform heavy lifting. The ability to speak another language might be helpful.
Positions in school cafeterias generally require a high school diploma or GED. Restaurant chains usually offer training programs for employees to move into managerial positions. For employees entering as managers of a corporate cafeteria, a postsecondary degree is increasingly necessary. Cafeteria managers might be recruited from educational programs in hospitality or food service. Bachelor's and associate's degrees are available, as well as certificates. Course topics might include nutrition, sanitation and business.
Experienced cafeteria managers are eligible for the Foodservice Management Professional (FMP) certification, which is a professional credential awarded by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. The requirements for becoming an FMP include accumulating 2-3 years of managerial experience in the food service industry and holding a lower-level food safety certification, such as the Food Protection Manager Certification from ServSafe.
Salary Info and Employment Outlook
The average annual salary of food service managers, including cafeteria managers, was $52,580 as of May 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Jobs for food service managers were predicted to decrease 3% during the 2010-2020 decade, due to fewer new establishments opening, per BLS reports.
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