What does a Food Service Manager do?

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  • Written By: Margo Upson
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 09 November 2019
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A food service manager is in charge of running a culinary business. People who do this job may work in restaurants, cafeterias, banquet halls, hotels, and with catering companies. They may also work at resorts, on cruise ships, at summer camps, and virtually everywhere else that food is served.

The working conditions in this job are rarely pleasant. Hot environments, long hours, and few breaks are all normal. It is a stressful position, and one with very little supervision. Working nights and weekends is usually a given, and there are very few days off. The work is not easy, and those who cannot handle the stress, heat, and hectic rush of the kitchen do not stay in this career for very long.

The number one priority of a food service manager is to lead, or manage, his or her team of cooks and other kitchen workers. Because work in a kitchen is often challenging, usually low-paying, and stressful, it is the manager's job to encourage the other cooks and to strive to keep morale high around the work place. If things get too busy, the manager is expected to step in and assist the cooks until the rush is over. This means that he or she needs to be familiar with all of the recipes and all of the stations in the kitchen.


A food service manager is also typically in charge of running the business side of the company, or at least the food service department of the company. This requires taking care of all of the little details so that the cooks and other workers can do their jobs. Managers must also be on top of all sanitation and safety issues, protecting both the workers and the customers. They work one-on-one with the customers, and may also be responsible for all of the financial transactions of the business, such as making sure bills and the other employees get paid. Marketing and promotion may also be his or her responsibility.

Being good at this job requires that the manager never stops trying to learn and improve his or her skills as a cook, a manager, and as a professional. It takes business savvy and a lot of dedication. The ultimate goal of a food service manager, beyond leading his team or running the business side of things, is to make a profit for the company through the work. Without this, he or she won't be working in the business for long. Regardless of where the person is working, his or her number one priority is to do the job that he or she was hired for: run an efficient and productive kitchen, please the customers, and improve the business.


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Post 1

A large culinary operation often has two food service managers: one for the cooking side and one for the business side. The manger on the business side handles what most managers do: employee salaries, inventory, maintenance supervision -- those things that keep the wheels turning on the cooking side.

Many of these managers once worked on the food prep side of the business, so they understand how the business works. They are usually good administrators, which the food prep managers may or may not be.

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