Food Service Manager  What They Do

Just the Facts

Food Service Managers Career Video

Insider Info

dotRestaurant managers oversee everything. They look after what's on the menu and who's doing the cooking. They also do the budgeting and deal with customers. You could say restaurant managers are like conductors of their own culinary orchestras.

Restaurant managers must juggle a variety of duties every day. The end goal is that the customer goes home happy and well fed. Managers must prepare the menu, hire staff and keep an eye on inventory and costs. They must also be familiar with local regulations regarding health and safety. Plus, there are rules about the sale of alcoholic beverages.

In many restaurants, the manager has one or more assistant managers to help them.

dotRestaurant managers work in stand-alone restaurants, hotel dining rooms, bars, private clubs and cafeterias. Basically, they can work anywhere food is served. They can work in formal dining rooms or fast food joints.

dotCompetition is always fierce. Managers must always keep an eye out for what other restaurants are doing. They always try to provide quality food and service at a reasonable price, and make a profit.

dotSince people like to eat out at all hours, restaurants set their hours based on the clients they wish to serve. This means that managers often have to work in off-hours. It just depends on the restaurant and the management structure.

If a manager doesn't have any assistant managers, they may have to pull 12-hour shifts to make sure everything is sailing smoothly. In larger places, the manager may have two or three assistant managers to oversee the day-to-day operations. Then the manager only has to put in a regular 9-to-5 kind of shift. Full-time managers often average 40- to 60-hour weeks.

dotManaging a restaurant can be a physically demanding occupation. Restaurant managers are always on the go. The job can entail all sorts of physical activity. It sometimes involves heavy lifting when supplies come in.

Managers may have to be in their office one minute, in the dining room the next and then the kitchen or loading dock. These varied duties would make it difficult for a physically challenged person.

dotBeing a restaurant manager certainly has its ups and downs. "Typically, all restaurant employees, not only managers, suffer from sore feet and back problems," says Emanuel Valergakis, a restaurant manager. "You can expect to take a bad fall on a slippery floor at least once in your career."

Restaurant manager Eric Brandt agrees. "You are moving around for long periods of time when you work as a dining room manager, and you are stationary for long periods when you are a kitchen manager," Brandt says. "Both are really hard on your legs and back. Bad backs are rampant in the industry, along with burns and cuts."

Just the Facts

Want a quick overview of what this career is about?Check out Just the Facts for simple lists of characteristics.

At a Glance

Managers are responsible for the overall running of the restaurant

  • You have to juggle a variety of duties
  • Salaries vary widely
  • Most employers look for practical experience