Food service managers
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Overview
Food service managers are responsible for the daily operation of restaurants or other establishments that prepare and serve food and beverages. They direct staff to ensure that customers are satisfied with their dining experience, and they manage the business to ensure that it is profitable.
Predicted employment growth
Over the next decade, jobs for food service managers are expected to grow by 9%, and should have about 37,100 job openings a year.
Safety from automation
Food service managers are less likely to be automated than 77% of other careers.
Workforce size
Food service managers, with 308,700 workers, form a larger workforce than 85% of careers.
Education
Only 23% of food service managers have a bachelor's degree or higher.
Education attained by food service managers
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Context: workers with bachelor's degrees
This is near the middle of all careeers' percentages of bachelor's holders.
Salaries
The median (middle) salary for food service managers is higher than 58% of all other jobs' middle salaries. The graph shows inflation-adjusted salaries for most food service managers.
This job's median $54KAll jobs' median $39K$52K$38K20142015201620172018$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K
Context: Median Salary
Gender
Women account for 46% of food service managers -- that's a larger percentage than 60% of other jobs.
Gender of food service managers
Men
Women
Context: Salary inequity
For each career, we compared the median (middle) men's salary to the median women's salary. For food service managers, the median men's salary was 33% more the median woman's salary.
Race/Origin
About 22% of food service managers are minority, and 23% are foreign-born.
Race/origin of food service managers
White
Black
Pacific Islander
Hispanic
Asian
American Indian
Multiracial
Other
Context: Foreign-born workers (23%)
Where are the most jobs?
We ranked the number of jobs in Food Service Managers per thousand workers in each state, DC, and Puerto Rico. The darker the blue, the higher the job density.
AKMEVTNHWAIDMTNDMNMINYMARIORUTWYSDIAWIINOHPANJCTCANVCONEMOILKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
Job benefits
Employer or union-sponsored pension plans are offered to 26% of food service managers, and 40% have company-sponsored health insurance (17% have dependents enrolled in their employer's health plan).
Employer-provided health coverage for food service managers
100% premiums covered
Partial premiums covered
Plan with no cost sharing
No health insurance
The downside
Some jobs are more stressful than others, and some are just plain dangerous. The following list gives the percentages of food service managers who report hazardous or difficult situations typically occurring at least once a week.
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety (100%)
  • Time Pressure (71%)
  • Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People (70%)
  • Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings (69%)
  • Frequency of Conflict Situations (53%)
SOURCES:24.0 O*NET
Salary and diversity
Salary overview
What do food service managers earn?

In this section, we want to give you a clear idea of what you can expect to earn in this career. We use two sources of data here: the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which asks employers to classify their workforce and to report salaries using the SOC-specialty level of reporting, and the American Community Survey (ACS), which asks people to classify their jobs using the broad classifications that ididio uses for career profiles, and to self-report their salaries. For some jobs, the differences in survey approaches between BLS and ACS can paint a very different end-picture. Whenever possible, we provide data from both sources.

The BLS-compiled salary data is reported by companies for their employees. This data excludes self-employed workers. We first show the distribution of salaries for food service managers, and then we show how the middle (median) salary for food service managers compares to the BLS-computed median salaries of other careers.
Distribution: Salaries for food service managers (BLS Salary Data)
$54K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Context: Median salaries across careers (BLS Salary Data)
$54K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
We compiled household data from the ACS to determine the salaries that people working at least 35 hours a week report themselves to earn. Unlike the BLS estimates, this data includes self-employed wages. We first show the full salary distribution for all food service managers, and then we show how the median (middle) salary for food service managers compares to the median ACS-reported salary of other careers.
Distribution: Salaries for food service managers (ACS Salary Data)
$37K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Context: Median salaries across careers (ACS Salary Data)
$37K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Employers and salary
A look at employers and corresponding salaries
The donut shares the break-down of workers by employer type, and following we show the salary distributions for these workers based on those employer types. For some careers, the salaries can be vastly different between private, government, and self-employment. As with our salary overview, we view the both the BLS economists' salary profiles and the household-reported salaries from ACS to get a thorough understanding of where food service managers work and for what salary. We have the great faith in the accuracy of economist-vetted BLS data; however, the BLS restrictions on which employers are surveyed skews the data a bit (read more in the sources), and the ACS responses provide different and useful categorizations of employers and salaries.
Employers of Food service managers (ACS)
Private for-profit (76.5%)
Private not-for-profit (1.7%)
Local government (1.2%)
State government (0.8%)
Federal government (0.3%)
Self-employed incorporated (12.1%)
Self-employed not incorporated (7.1%)
Working without pay (0.4%)
Distribution: Salaries of food service managers by type of employer (ACS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type calculated by aggregating individual household survey responses.
$37K$33K$36K$39K$51K$30K$35K$22K$40K$0$20,000$40,000$60,000$80,000$100,000$120,000Working without paySelf-employed not incorporatedSelf-employed incorporatedFederal governmentState governmentLocal governmentPrivate not-for-profitPrivate for-profitAll
Distribution: Salaries of food service managers by type of employer (BLS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type as reported by BLS based on large employer-focused surveys. We note that smaller employer categories are not included by BLS.
$54K$63K$54K$61K$0$20,000$40,000$60,000$80,000$100,000$120,000State governmentLocal governmentPrivateAll
Age and career advancement
Salary growth for food service managers

The biggest take-away from the following two charts is the relationship between salary and experience that we can infer from age. Does this job seem to attract especially younger or older workers? Does it reward experience?

Take a minute a look at how much you might expect your salary to increase with each five years' experience, as well as how the numbers working in this career changes. We only provide this data when there are enough consistent ACS survey responses to allow a reasonable margin of error, so for some careers you will see gaps in our reporting of salary by age.

$43K$32K$44K$41K$37K$42K$43K$43K$22K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120KSalary distribution20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64
050K100K150KNumber employed20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Gender and Equity
Food service managers and gender

With 46% women, this occupation has a higher percentage of women than 60% of careers.

Context: Women in the workforce
46%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Gender of Food service managers
Men (54%)
Women (46%)
Distribution: Salaries by gender

As we'll illustrate at the bottom of this section, the median (middle) salary for all full-time male workers in the US exceeds the full-time median salary for women by 20%, and the difference for food service managers tops that, with the median salary for men 33% higher than the median salary for women. This chart shows you the salary range for most workers by gender.

$31K$42K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100KWomenMen
Context: Salary Inequity

Nationwide there are twenty careers for which men do not have a higher median (middle) salary than women. The chart below shows the salary inequity, the percentage by which the median men's salary is higher than the median women's salary, for most jobs. Food service managers have one of the higher percentage increases for men's salary, with the increase for the men's median salary over the women's median salary in this job even higher than that for 83% of other jobs.

33%0%20%40%60%80%100%

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Race/Origin
Race and origin of food service managers

The representation of minority and foreign-born workers is quite different between careers, and the relative pay of those workers also varies significantly between careers. There is a higher percentage of minority food service managers than for 59% of other careers. This career hires a larger percentage of foreign-born workers than most other careers.

Race/origin of food service managers
White (72% )
Asian (9% )
Black (9% )
Other (5% )
Multiracial (2% )
Hispanic (1% )
American Indian (1% )
Pacific Islander (0% )
Context: Representation of minorities in the workforce
22%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Context: Representation of foreign-born workers
23%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Distribution: Salaries for food service managers by race/origin

For some careers, there is a pay disparity depending on race or origin, though this is not prevalent. We calculate standard errors for all of our calculations, and when the error is high we do not show results. Therefore, for some jobs will have omitted race/origin categories.

$31K$31K$31K$32K$32K$37K$39K$41K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100KHispanicAmerican IndianOtherMultiracialBlackWhitePacific IslanderAsian
Distribution: Salaries for food service managers by nativity
$36K$38K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100KAll native citizensAll foreign-born

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Pathways to this career
Education requirements and salary
Education attained by food service managers

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), food service managers typically hold a high school diploma or equivalent.

Sometimes the typical education identified by the BLS differs a bit from the reality of the how much education current workers actually have. The donut shows the education level held by people currently working as food service managers as reported in responses to the American Community Survey. Following, we investigate whether education level influences salary for food service managers.

Education attained by food service managers
None
High School
Some College
Associate's Degree
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Deg/Doct
Doctorate
Details: Education and training recommended for food service managers

Although a bachelor’s degree is not required, some postsecondary education is increasingly preferred for many manager positions, especially at upscale restaurants and hotels. Some food service companies, hotels, and restaurant chains recruit management trainees from college hospitality or food service management programs. These programs may require the participants to work in internships and to have food-industry–related experiences in order to graduate.

Many colleges and universities offer bachelor’s degree programs in restaurant and hospitality management or institutional food service management. In addition, numerous community colleges, technical institutes, and other institutions offer associate’s degree programs in the field. Some culinary schools offer programs in restaurant management with courses designed for those who want to start and run their own restaurant.

Most programs provide instruction in nutrition, sanitation, and food preparation, as well as courses in accounting, business law, and management. Some programs combine classroom and practical study with internships.

Details: Licensing and certification recommended for food service managers

Although certification is not required, managers may obtain the Food Protection Manager Certification (FPMC) by passing a food safety exam. The American National Standards Institute accredits institutions that offer the FPMC.

In addition, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation awards the Foodservice Management Professional (FMP) designation, a voluntary certification to managers who typically meet the following criteria:

  • Have supervisory experience in food service
  • Have specialized training in food safety
  • Pass a multiple-choice exam

The certification attests to professional competence, particularly for managers who learned their skills on the job.

Distribution: Salary by education level

What level of education is truly needed for food service managers? Below we see the distribution of food service managers salaries based on the education attained. These comparisons are based on all survey responses by those who identified themselves as food service managers, and are not intended as a statistical analysis of salary differences that would correct for non-educational factors that could contribute to high or low earnings.

$28K$31K$36K$39K$47K$53K$51K$0$50K$100K$150KNone (9%)High School (30%)Some College (29%)Associate's Degree (9%)Bachelor's Degree (20%)Master's Degree (3%)Professional Deg/Doct (0%)
Certificate/degree pathways

The Department of Education recommends the following college degree programs as preparation for this career. You can click a program row to learn more about the program and explore a list of schools that offer the program.

Program
Education
Education level of awarded degrees
Less than bachelor's
bachelor's degree
Higher than bachelor's
Gender
Gender of graduates
Men
Women
Race/Origin
Race/origin of graduates
White
Minority
International
Number of degrees awarded in 2017
Hospitality Administration/Management
11,586
Hotel/Motel Administration/Management
3,372
Restaurant, Culinary, and Catering Management
2,455
Restaurant/Food Services Management
1,753
Foodservice Systems Administration/Management
1,269
Hotel, Motel, and Restaurant Management
419
Culinary Science
170
Sommelier
133
Switching Careers
Most common new jobs
The most common next careers for food service managers

What jobs will most food service managers hold next year?

The data in this chart comes from person interviews for the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey. The survey interviews households eight times over a two-year period, allowing us a glimpse into how people move from job to job. You can see more details from the results of the survey in our last tab in this section, and you can read about our methodology in our source descriptions.

Here we see all of the jobs that at least 1% of food service managers reported holding in their second year's survey. Is your future job on this list?

Food service managersFirst-line supervisors of food preparation and serving workersCooksWaiters and waitressesFirst-line supervisors of retail sales workersGeneral and operations managersCashiersFood preparation workers
Lateral career moves
Lateral job transitions for food service managers

A lateral career transition is a move to a job with similar pay and responsibilities. A move to such a job can offer a change of pace without an increase in stress or a decrease in pay. The following table simply identifies all 7 jobs which were held by at least 1% of survey respondents before working as food service managers as well as 1% of respondents after working as food service managers. Select a row to investigate the job's full description and determine if it truly offers an opportunity for a lateral transition.

Lateral-move careers for food service managers
Annual openings
How many openings are expected each year?
Salary
Salary distribution for people in this occupation. Range is 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Gender
Men
Women
Cashiers
659,300
$0$200K$20K
Waiters and waitresses
522,900
$0$200K$21K
Cooks
358,700
$0$200K$21K
General and operations managers
210,700
$0$200K$67K
First-line supervisors of retail sales workers
171,800
$0$200K$39K
Food preparation workers
158,000
$0$200K$19K
First-line supervisors of food preparation and serving workers
147,300
$0$200K$25K
Full prior and next career listings
Prior and next careers for food service managers: full listings

What do people typically do before and after they work as food service managers? Here are the full lists of all jobs that at least 1% of food service managers surveyed reported as holding a year earlier or later.

Choose which type of transition to view
Prior jobs
Next jobs
Prior careers for food service managers
Annual openings
How many openings are expected each year?
Salary
Salary distribution for people in this occupation. Range is 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Gender
Men
Women
Percentage Transitioning
What percentage worked in this job the previous year?
Cashiers
659,300
$0$200K$20K
1.9%
Waiters and waitresses
522,900
$0$200K$21K
3.0%
Cooks
358,700
$0$200K$21K
3.3%
General and operations managers
210,700
$0$200K$67K
4.0%
First-line supervisors of retail sales workers
171,800
$0$200K$39K
2.1%
Food preparation workers
158,000
$0$200K$19K
1.6%
First-line supervisors of food preparation and serving workers
147,300
$0$200K$25K
7.0%
Managers (specialized areas)
84,000
$0$200K$72K
1.2%
Food service managers
37,100
$0$200K$37K
48.3%
Chefs and head cooks
20,500
$0$200K$31K
1.8%
No occupation
6.7%
Read about food service managers
Responsibilities and activities
Responsibilities and activities

Food service managers typically do the following:

  • Hire, train, oversee, and sometimes fire employees
  • Order food and beverages, equipment, and supplies
  • Oversee food preparation, portion sizes, and the overall presentation of food
  • Inspect supplies, equipment, and work areas
  • Ensure that employees comply with health and food safety standards
  • Address complaints regarding food quality or service
  • Schedule staff hours and assign duties
  • Manage budgets and payroll records
  • Establish standards for personnel performance and customer service

Managers coordinate activities of the kitchen and dining room staff to ensure that customers are served properly and in a timely manner. They oversee orders in the kitchen, and, if needed, they work with the chef to remedy any delays in service.

Food service managers are responsible for all functions of the business related to employees. For example, most managers interview, hire, train, oversee, appraise, discipline, and sometimes fire employees. Managers also schedule work hours, making sure that enough workers are present to cover each shift. During busy periods, they may expedite service by helping to serve customers, processing payments, or cleaning tables.

Managers also arrange for cleaning and maintenance services for the equipment and facility in order to comply with health and sanitary regulations. For example, they may arrange for trash removal, pest control, and heavy cleaning when the dining room and kitchen are not in use.

Most managers prepare the payroll and manage employee records. They also may review or complete paperwork related to licensing, taxes and wages, and unemployment compensation. Although they sometimes assign these tasks to an assistant manager or a bookkeeper, most managers are responsible for the accuracy of business records.

Some managers add up the cash and charge slips and secure them in a safe place. They also may check that ovens, grills, and other equipment are properly cleaned and secured, and that the establishment is locked at the close of business.

Personality and skills
Personality and skills

Can you see yourself in the ranks of food service managers? Here are the skills and traits that could lead to success.

Business skills
Food service managers, especially those who run their own restaurant, must understand all aspects of the restaurant business. They should know how to budget for supplies, set prices, and manage workers to ensure that the restaurant is profitable.
Communication skills
Food service managers must give clear orders to staff and be able to communicate effectively with employees and customers.
Customer-service skills
Food service managers must be courteous and attentive when dealing with patrons. Satisfying customers’ dining needs is critical to business success and ensures customer loyalty.
Detail oriented
Managers deal with many different types of activities. They ensure that there is enough food to serve to customers, they maintain financial records, and they ensure that the food meets health and safety standards.
Leadership skills
Managers must establish good working relationships to maintain a productive work environment. Carrying out this task may involve motivating workers and leading by example.
Organizational skills
Food service managers keep track of many different schedules, budgets, and staff. Their job becomes more complex as the size of the restaurant or food service facility increases.
Physical stamina
Managers, especially those who run their own restaurant, often work long shifts and sometimes spend entire evenings on their feet helping to serve customers.
Problem-solving skills
Managers need to be able to resolve personnel issues and customer-related problems.
Trends in employment
Salary trends
Distribution and trends: Salaries for food service managers
Choose actual dollars or inflation-adjusted dollars to view
Adjusted for inflation
Historic dollars

In 2018, the median (middle) salary for food service managers was higher than 58% of all other jobs' middle salaries. This graphic shows how the salary distribution (adjusted for inflation) has changed for this job over recent years. The gray line, as a comparison, shows the median salary of all US workers.

This job's median $54KAll jobs' median $39K$52K$38K200420052006200720082009201020112012201320142015201620172018$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K
Projected versus actual employment
Exploring actual employment trends versus projected trends

Currently, jobs for food service managers are anticipated to grow by 9% over the next decade, which is faster growth than is predicted for 57% of other jobs.

The projected employment for food service managers is the best guess created by talented economists and statisticians at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, as you look through several careers you'll notice that the projections are heavily influenced by past performance and may miss current trends. No one can tell the future, and as new information and better techniques are developed, actual counts and future projections may change. Here's a glimpse at the actual counts versus the projections over time.

20002010202020300200,000400,000600,000
Employment counts
Actual measured employment
BLS 10-year predictions
Variation by state
Employment
State-by-state employment numbers

Some careers tend to be centered in specific parts of the country. For example, most jobs in fashion are in New York or California. Let's see if your dream job is easy to find in your dream location! We have a few choices for viewing the data that can help you get a full employment picture.

Job density versus job count

Which states hire the most food service managers? We wonder if that's a fair question since states come in all sizes, so instead let's start with the question of which states have the highest density of people working as food service managers. You can choose to view the number of jobs per state if you prefer.

BLS vs ACS data

This map defaults to employment information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which provides job totals carefully compiled for accuracy and with a primary focus on how employers describe their workers. The BLS job totals do not count self-employed workers. We've also compiled totals using the Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) which are based on how workers describe themselves. Sometimes ACS results are quite a bit different from the employer-based BLS data.

Choose the metric to review
Jobs per 1000 working
Number of jobs
Use this data source
BLS
Number of Food Service Managers per 1,000 workers (BLS)
Select a state to see local area details
AKMEVTNHWAIDMTNDMNMINYMARIORUTWYSDIAWIINOHPANJCTCANVCONEMOILKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
0.01.02.03.04.0
Salary
Salaries by state
Let's get a feel for where food service managers earn the highest salaries. There are several choices for which data we consider and how we view that data, and each can lead to different conclusions, so please read on...
Median salary versus state ratio

We use two methods to compare salaries across states:

  • In-state comparisons: the ratio of median (middle) salaries for food service managers compared to the median salary for all people working in each state, or
  • Median salary: the unaltered median salaries for food service managers.

We hope the ratio allows perspective about how salaries may compare to the regional cost-of-living.

BLS vs ACS data

We have two sources for statewide salary information with important distinctions. The BLS data is created by surveying companies, missing individuals who are self-employed or work for smaller companies. The ACS data is compiled from multi-faceted household surveys and may reflect the inconsistencies that people may have in reporting information.

Choose the metric to review
In-state comparisions
Median salary
Use this data source
BLS
Median salary ratio: Food Service Managers to all workers (BLS)
The darkest shading corresponds to states in which food service managers earn the highest salary when compared to other jobs in the state. We think this ratio might be a better indicator than the actual salary for your buying power as a state resident.
Select a state to see local area details
AKMEVTNHWAIDMTNDMNMINYMARIORUTWYSDIAWIINOHPANJCTCANVCONEMOILKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
0.00.51.01.52.0
Compare to similar jobs

If this job interests you, then use the dots below to find other jobs you might like. The dots closer to the top represent jobs that are like Food service managers (shown with a blue star). Look for the dots to the right to find the best salaries! (We pulled salary data from BLS, and they give a top salary value of just over $200K to protect privacy, so our graph would go much higher if the salaries were not top coded.)

How should the career similarity be computed

There are a number of ways to measure the similarity of jobs, here are a few we provide:

  • Interests: Also known as a Holland Code - Are you a thinker? A helper? What fits your personality?
  • Environment: Are there hazards? Will you be comfortable? Will it be stressful?
  • Knowledge: What do you need to know the most about?
  • Physical Abilities: Do you need to especially strong or coordinated?
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