5 Beneficial Aspects of Becoming a Culinary or Restaurant Manager
Dining out is one of America's favorite pastimes. In fact, according to one survey, people in the U.S. eat out 4.5 times per week, on average (not including breakfast).* It's such a popular activity that the nation's restaurant industry can generate over $709 billion in sales during a single year.** And that means it also provides a lot of appealing career opportunities.
People who've completed culinary and restaurant management training hold some of the most compelling jobs in the industry. After all, every dining establishment and food-service operation needs to be overseen by qualified managers who know what it takes to satisfy customers, coordinate staff, and meet financial expectations.
In short, this area of hospitality is frequently a great fit for dedicated, enthusiastic, and detailed-oriented people who love food and enjoy creating great shared experiences. Plus, for their efforts, restaurant and culinary managers often get to benefit from rewarding aspects of this vocation such as:
1. Fulfilling Personal Interactions
Managing a restaurant or other type of culinary operation isn't as much about the food or beverages as it is about the people. From customers to employees to suppliers, people are at the heart of every establishment's success. They require the most attention. As a result, they also provide the most opportunity for attaining a deep sense of accomplishment and satisfaction in your management career.
For example, consider the most common complaint that people have when dining out. According to the same survey mentioned earlier, the number one thing that tends to irritate American diners the most is bad service.* But that means service is an area where a good culinary or restaurant manager can really shine. Every guest provides a chance to demonstrate that you and the establishment you manage care about offering a positive experience. That's why, handled correctly, every personal interaction—no matter the situation—can become a gratifying moment of connection.
Managers hold the key to creating the type of delightful atmosphere that people hunger for. When guests feel cared about and leave satisfied, it can produce enormous feelings of pride and achievement. And the same can be said about interactions with staff and outside suppliers. It's the new and returning people you get to serve, along with the ones you work alongside every day, that make culinary management such a special vocation.
2. Daily Variety and Direct Impact
For most restaurant managers, few days are ever exactly alike. Each day can present new challenges. And managers are responsible for such a wide variety of interesting and important matters that boredom becomes rare or impossible. Plus, with each task they undertake, they know that they are directly contributing to the success of the businesses they manage.
Some of the most common responsibilities of culinary and restaurant management professionals include:
- Coordinating and supervising the activities of all staff
- Ensuring that effective communication happens between kitchen and front-of-house staff
- Inspecting work areas and making sure that food safety and health standards are followed
- Assigning work duties to staff members and scheduling their shifts
- Hiring and training new employees
- Resolving customer complaints
- Ordering supplies and arranging for deliveries
- Overseeing the quality of food preparation and presentation
- Assisting with any service needs during busy times
- Maintaining accurate financial and employee records
- Assisting with menu planning and price setting
- Opening or locking up the establishments they manage
3. Employer Diversity
The culinary industry offers a lot more variety of employment settings than you might realize. And many workplaces in this sector are known for their fun and upbeat atmospheres. But significant differences do exist between various types of establishments, which means that you can probably pursue work with a restaurant or other culinary operation that fits your personality and interests. For example, it's possible to find job opportunities with employers like:
- Fine-dining restaurants
- Family-style restaurants
- Sports bars and nightclubs
- Limited-service restaurants
- Hotels and resorts
- Conference and special-event centers
- Catering services
- Corporate or institutional cafeterias
4. Good Income and Advancement Potential
In 2015, the average yearly income of food-service managers in the U.S. was $53,640. But a lot of managers within the industry earned even higher annual wages. For instance, culinary managers who worked for general or special hospitals averaged incomes of $75,790 and $82,120, respectively. And those who worked for traveler-accommodation establishments earned $62,570, on average.***
Plus, many restaurant managers receive additional benefits such as free meals, healthcare insurance, retirement savings plans, and paid holidays. As they gain experience, many of them also receive opportunities to advance into bigger roles with larger culinary providers where they can earn end-of-year bonuses or, in some cases, share in company profits.
5. Being Part of a Consistently Vibrant Industry
Qualified restaurant managers can feel confident about their career choice. Year after year, this industry provides a popular and fundamental pastime. Americans simply love going out to eat and connecting with friends, family, and business acquaintances over expertly prepared meals. It's why the U.S. is home to about one million restaurant locations. And it's also why, between 2015 and 2025, about 1.7 million new jobs could be created within the industry.**
How You Can Start Benefitting
Increasingly, employers in this industry are placing a high value on formal training. So it's worth your time to explore the options available at culinary and restaurant management schools. Their programs often cover everything you need to know before going after jobs in the field. And many of them incorporate internships at actual dining establishments.
Why not take a moment to check out the options near you? All it takes is your current zip code to see a list of relevant schools right away!
* Zagat, "The State of American Dining in 2015," website last visited on August 6, 2015.
** National Restaurant Association, website last visited on August 6, 2015.
*** Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, website last accessed on May 19, 2016.