Food industry managers are responsible for the day-to-day operations of restaurants and other establishments that serve food and beverage. In performing their managerial job duties, today’s food industry workers deal with the pressure to keep up with fast-changing consumer trends.
As food companies are on their toes to stay visible and relevant to their market, food industry managers are keeping pace with modern customer needs. Serving food to millennials, for one, can be tricky as they prefer to spend their money on “experience” than objects. For this reason, small businesses that offer local authentic food and products have taken the spotlight in recent years.
Many food companies have explored ideas to combine consumer needs with technological advancements in efforts to provide more convenient access to food services. Today, it takes no more than just a click or a tap on a smartphone to order food, grocery shop, or check social media for food adventures. Ensuring that all these elements are in place is one of the critical managerial job duties.
The restaurant industry is second on the list of the largest employers in the United States. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that food service occupations will rise by up to 11% in the next eight years. There are several positions in every food establishment or company. Employers in this industry are looking for qualified individuals with precise operations and management skills.
We list top 10 managerial job duties and managerial positions in the food industry:
A Kitchen Manager is responsible for “back of the house” operations. It is their job to hire and supervise kitchen staff, purchase food supplies, and ensure the proper training of all staff to execute techniques according to food preparation, cooking, and safety standards. Teamwork is a top priority for kitchen managers. They need to coordinate with everyone involved in the kitchen area to make sure the food looks good, all orders are served on time, and customer complaints are handled efficiently.
Five-year work experience is typically required to land this position. There is no formal education needed, but if you want to get a shot at career advancement, you have to obtain certifications from culinary arts schools or technical schools.
You can acquire a Food Protection Manager Certification (FPMC) by passing a food safety exam at the American National Standards Institute. You also need to have supervisory experience in food service and specialized training in food safety.
Kitchen managers’ median annual pay is at $55,320 ($26.60 per hour).
Executive Chef is one of the most challenging positions in the food industry, but it is one of the most coveted jobs. An executive chef must possess strong management and customer service skills. You will need to have a degree in culinary arts or have a lot of experiences in the field. Ingenuity at work and full compliance with food hygiene standards are also essential in becoming an executive chef.
As head of the kitchen, the executive chef is expected to:
- Oversee the preparation and provision of safe, healthy, and well-presented food
- Design food and decide on presentation aesthetics
- Ensure safety and sanitation of work environment
- Plan menu
- Keep track of the budget
- Direct equipment maintenance
- Take charge of payroll, food costs, and other pertinent kitchen and staff records
- Make administrative decisions such as hiring new kitchen personnel
- Supervise work performance, give reviews, and take disciplinary actions
Given these numerous responsibilities, an executive chef usually works long hours. They are mostly on 12-hour shifts.
At least 5 years of work experience is the most crucial requirement for this position. Get a bachelor’s degree or receive training from culinary arts school, community college, technical schools, and 4-year colleges. Most executive chefs start as line cooks. They learn from the head chef they work for and get career advancement tips.
Executive chef hopefuls take apprenticeship programs that include on-the-job training. The American Culinary Federation offers and sponsors apprenticeships around the country. You qualify for one if you are at least 17 years of age and have a high school diploma.
Although there are no licenses required for this job, you can get a certification for this position. The American Culinary Federation awards a Certified Executive Chef (CEC) certification to individuals who pass both practical and written examinations. You need least three years of experience as a chef and a high school diploma or equivalent. Recertification is required every five years.
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the median annual salary of an executive chef is $51,530 ($24.78 per hour).
Catering Managers, also called Event Planners, plan parties, banquets, conventions, and other events that a restaurant caters to. They see to it that the restaurant commits to, and fully executes, its functions following the client’s specification and demands. They coordinate with all parties involved to make sure the catering service rolls smoothly and efficiently. They are also responsible for booking rentals for equipment and facilities, establishing customer satisfaction, and maintaining client relationships.
To become a Catering Manager, you should be proficient and well-trained in the areas of food production and food service. You need to have experience in supervising operations and training for catering staff. Catering managers spend a lot of time in their offices planning out the details of events. In most cases, however, they travel to meeting sites, hotels, and convention centers.
The best way to win a job in catering management is through relevant experience, but the position explicitly requires hopefuls to earn a bachelor’s or an associate’s degree in Hospitality, Food Service Management, or any related field. Licenses are not needed, and certification is voluntary, but most companies look for candidates with ServSafe training for a competitive edge.
The median annual pay for catering managers is $50,600 ($24.33 per hour).
A Beverage Manager’s responsibilities vary depending on the event or venue. The work typically consists of the menu and physical layout planning, sourcing beverage and supplies from vendors, creating drink recipes, and most importantly, ensuring good returns. Beverages Managers also play a crucial role in hiring, promoting, and firing the department staff. They work in bars, lounges, restaurants, hotels, cafes or other related establishments. They usually work with bartenders or work as bartenders themselves.
Beverage Managers are often hired in catering services to ensure that drinks are served according to client’s demands. Beverage management teams, led by the Beverage Manager, should comply with certain health strict standards.
Formal education is not exactly a requirement for this position, but Beverage Managers are usually expected to have years of experience under their belts. You need to be customer oriented, have leadership and organization skills, and stamina for long days of beverage preparation and service.
A beverage manager makes $31,986 a year.
Food and Beverage Director
Food and Beverage Directors work with various clients or food service outlets. Some of their work includes handing food cost management, creating specific menus for events like banquets and catered services, and overseeing inventory. They have to be on their feet in many places for long hours. Large establishments like full-service hotels, restaurants, schools, and hospitals hire them.
To be a Food and Beverage Director, you must have years of experience in the industry. Most companies hire candidates with formal education such as Hospitality or Restaurant Management. The job also requires industry training. You need to have excellent communication and leadership skills, too.
Food and beverage directors are paid $64,007 annually. The Beverage Director occupation is projected to grow 14% from 2018 to 2028, “faster than the average” for all other jobs, says the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Restaurant General Manager
Dealing with the day-to-day functions of the restaurant, General Managers do lots of paperwork and deal with customer complaints. Their most common responsibilities include food, supplies, and equipment purchasing, and taking charge of establishment licenses and inspections. They are also responsible for hiring staff whom they interview, train, and assess. General Managers also fire personnel for misconduct or low performance.
If you start at entry-level positions, you can work your way up and become the Restaurant General Manager. There is no education required for this position, but a bachelor’s degree in Hospitality and Restaurant is critical to advancing your career. Experience is essential even if you don’t hold either associate’s or bachelor’s degree. Obtain certification from the National Restaurant Association Education Foundation for a step closer to the position.
The median pay for general restaurant managers according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics is $55,320.
Human Resource Manager
Human Resource Managers must legally, fairly, and adequately manage employees. It is their job to develop hiring strategies for front-of-the-house or back-of-the-house personnel or both. HR Managers in the food industry work in offices on usual business hours. They screen, interview, and assess candidates. At times they may have to travel for recruitment, selection, and induction. They also do payroll and evaluate the performance of each staff.
Did you know that in the food industry, the HR department plays a vital role in helping avert costly lawsuits? Consumer groups may hold a food business liable for low quality food products or services and, unless dealt with accordingly, these complaints can escalate to litigation. The Human Resources Manager ensures that employees are appropriately trained in food safety and quality control and that they undergo regular evaluations to ensure they’re up-to-date with the standards.
You have to earn a bachelor’s degree to become a Human Resource Manager. Training sessions, seminars, and at least five years of experience are needed to become one. Certifications and licenses are not required but are a plus for career advancement. Some companies look for candidates with a Master’s Degree in Business Administration.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that the median annual pay for HR Managers is $116,720 or $56.11 per hour.
Public Relations Manager
Competition is fierce in the food industry. With an effective Public Relations strategy, a food establishment can get ahead in the game.
Highly proficient in the industry’s ins and outs, Public Relations Managers can build an impeccable reputation for the company. The workplace of a food business’ Public Relations Manager may vary, but they’re usually in their office organizing press conferences, preparing media kits or advertising and marketing communication, and countering negative publicity by running highly targeted campaigns. To keep up with the ever-changing Public Relations landscape, food business PR Managers regularly attend seminars, meetings, and conferences. They also conduct client visits and work on-site with them.
Interested in becoming a PR Manager in the food industry? You must hold a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations, Journalism, Marketing, Communications, Business, and related fields. BLS data indicate that the median annual wage for PR Managers is $61,150 ($29.40 per hour).
Food Production Manager
What else could be the core idea behind every food business other than the commitment to prepare, present, and serve food of the best quality? The food industry’s primary concern is to satisfy consumers by serving them healthy, fresh, and good-tasting meals or beverages. Food Production Managers are tasked to ensure all these.
A Food Production Manager oversees the processing of food products as well as machinery involved in the production of food. It is their specific duty to ensure that the production process meets every quality, health, and sanitation standard in the book, particularly as mandated by law. They manage the daily operations, arrange schedules for workers, and monitor employee performance. In 2019, most food production workers were on a 40-hour weekly shift. Industrial Food Production Managers’ median annual wage is $105,480.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), industrial food production employers favor candidates with a bachelor’s in Business Administration or Industrial Engineering. Work experience must be at least five years.
A degree in Food Science Manufacturing also opens doors to employment opportunities in this field. The National Agricultural Library of the U.S. Department of Agriculture lists the colleges and universities offering Food Science programs.
Large establishments hire Assistant Managers to help General Managers handle the day-to-day operations. In a restaurant setting, assistant managers take charge of the “front of the house.” They help in recruitment, training, and evaluation of the staff; calculate kitchenware needs and equipment; manage vendors or supplier contracts; oversee staff performance; ensure the proper serving of food, and handle cash received from patrons. In the restaurant setting, the General Manager and the Assistant Manager usually split their schedules and take turns working at the front of the house, the kitchen, and the office.
There isn’t just a single path to landing an Assistant Manager’s job in a restaurant business. Work experience required is less than five years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While no specific degree is required, candidates are strongly encouraged to obtain education and training in Hospitality Management, Business Management, Hotel and Catering Services Management. Now more than ever, these programs have become critical to most foodservice companies.
Because Assistant Managers work under the directive of the Manager or supervisor, you need to have the ability to follow orders. Your strong interpersonal skills and leadership skills also matter. The average base pay for assistant managers is $36,720.
The International Council on Hotel Restaurant, and Institutional Education (ICHRIE), a non-profit professional association, offers educational opportunities, programs, training, and conferences for Assistant Managers and other workers or business owners in the food industry for their professional and personal growth.