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Restaurant Manager: Job Info & Career Requirements

Restaurant managers oversee in the daily operations of restaurants, including the preparation and serving of meals and beverages. For more information about education requirements, employment outlook and earning potential for restaurant managers, read on.

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Career Definition

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), restaurant managers have many responsibilities, but their main priority is to ensure that their restaurant is operating at a profit. Restaurant managers handle the business side of an establishment and may be in charge of ordering food and beverage stocks, budgeting and handling other administrative duties. Managers must lead a staff of waiters, cooks, hostesses and bartenders, and they may have to step in to serve food, greet guests and make drinks when situations arise. Because of the customer-oriented nature of the food service industry, restaurant managers must be adept at creating a friendly and welcoming environment for both patrons and staff (www.bls.gov).

How to Become a Restaurant Manager

Education Required

A high school diploma or its equivalent is the minimum educational requirement for becoming a restaurant manager. Certificate and associate degree programs in restaurant administration and management are also available; some aspiring professionals pursue bachelor's degrees in business. Many restaurant managers begin their careers by working as waiters, waitresses, cooks or counter help and train on the job.

Skills Required

Restaurant managers need to have excellent interpersonal and organizational skills. Initiative, leadership abilities and reliability are key. Restaurant managers should also be physically fit and have the stamina necessary to stand on their feet and move around for long periods of time. Administrative and communication skills, such as those associated with giving orders and providing direction to staff, are also important.

Career and Salary Outlook

Restaurant managers can advance in the industry by transitioning from smaller to larger restaurants. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job opportunities for restaurant managers nationwide are expected to show little or no change in growth between 2012 and 2022. The BLS also reports that, in May 2012, the median annual wage for food service managers (including restaurant managers) was $47,960 (www.bls.gov).

Alternate Career Options

Chefs and Head Cooks

Chefs and head cooks supervise food preparation activities and kitchen staff at food service establishments and restaurants. While the majority of culinary professionals learn on the job, some students pursue apprenticeships or formal training at cooking or technical schools, 2-year and 4-year colleges or the military. The BLS reports that employment prospects for chefs and head cooks are expected to increase by a slower-than-average rate of 5% between 2012 and 2022. Those who were employed in May 2012 received median yearly salaries of $42,480, also according to the BLS (www.bls.gov).

Lodging Managers

The responsibilities of lodging managers are similar to those of restaurant managers in that they must do their best to see that business travelers and vacationing visitors enjoy their stay. They are also responsible for making sure that their hotel or motel operates in an efficient and profitable manner. Although high school graduates with significant experience in hospitality may qualify for some management jobs, completion of a certificate, associate or bachelor's program in hotel management is usually required by smaller and full-service hotels. The BLS reports that lodging managers who were employed in the field in May 2012 earned median annual wages of $46,810, with minimal or no change in job growth expected through 2022 (www.bls.gov).

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics