California Occupational Guides

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Detailed Guide for

Food Service Managers in San Diego County

May also be called: Banquet Directors; Restaurant Managers; Cafeteria Managers; Fast Food Service Managers; and Catering Managers.

What Would I Do?

Food Service Managers run the show in restaurants or other food service establishments. They ensure that customers are satisfied with their dining experience, as well as handle the human resource and administrative functions of operating such establishments. Duties range from the creative—such as developing specialty dishes, to the routine—such as preparing government reports.

The Manager’s duties vary depending upon the size and organization of the establishment. Ultimately, the Manager is held responsible for the profitability of the business. Specific duties the Manager may handle or delegate include: ordering, recording, and purchasing food, supplies, and equipment; inspecting the quality of deliveries; supervising food preparation; and enforcing health, safety, and sanitary laws. In addition, the Manager may help with duties performed by staff when the restaurant becomes extremely busy.

Managers interview, hire, train, schedule, and motivate employees. They also conduct performance reviews, discipline, and fire employees along with face the challenge of retaining good employees. Managers may also maintain employee work records and prepare payroll.

Managers assist chefs in planning menus in most full-service restaurants and large food service facilities. In limited-service eating places, Managers supervise routine food preparation, often mentoring inexperienced staff. In many dining establishments, Managers have one or more assistant Managers who perform delegated duties. In smaller restaurants, one person may work several positions. For example, the Food Service Manager may be the executive chef or the owner.

Many restaurants use computers to track orders and inventory, monitor seating of guests, schedule employees, keep payroll and accounting records, and function as cash registers. Managers may tally receipts and balance them against the record of sales. They also ensure the day’s receipts are deposited at the bank or secured in a safe place.

While franchises do not allow menu changes, full-service restaurants and institutional food service facilities expect Managers to change the menu options to meet specific needs or preferences of their customers. In the highly competitive field of hospitality, Managers also need to review menu options taking into account the past popularity, nutrition, cost, portion size, need for variety, and seasonality of various dishes.

Important Tasks and Related Skills

Each task below is matched to a sample skill required to carry out the task.

View the skill definitions
TaskSkill Used in this Task
Monitor food preparation methods, portion sizes, and garnishing and presentation of food to ensure that food is prepared and presented in an acceptable manner.Sales and Marketing
Monitor budgets and payroll records, and review financial transactions to ensure that expenditures are authorized and budgeted.Administration and Management
Schedule staff hours and assign duties.Management of Personnel Resources
Monitor compliance with health and fire regulations regarding food preparation and serving, and building maintenance in lodging and dining facilities.Monitoring
Keep records required by government agencies regarding sanitation, and food subsidies when appropriate.Deductive Reasoning
Establish standards for personnel performance and customer service.Personnel and Human Resources
Test cooked food by tasting and smelling it to ensure palatability and flavor conformity.Quality Control Analysis
Investigate and resolve complaints regarding food quality, service, or accommodations.Customer and Personal Service
Schedule and receive food and beverage deliveries, checking delivery contents to verify product quality and quantity.Coordination
Source: U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Information Network (O*NET)

Working Conditions

Food Service Managers typically divide their time between the kitchen, dining room, and office. Managers commonly work 10-12 hours per day up to six days a week. Depending upon the normal business hours of the operation, a Manager may work regular hours during the week or work varying hours including evenings, weekends, or holidays.

Managers often experience the pressure of coordinating a wide range of activities while maintaining services. The job can be hectic and stressful during peak dining hours while dealing with upset customers or uncooperative employees. In addition, Managers should be flexible enough to be able to fill in for absent workers on short notice.

Food Service Managers also may experience the typical minor injuries of other restaurant workers such as muscle aches, cuts, or burns. They also might endure physical discomfort from moving tables or chairs to accommodate large parties.

Union representation for Managers is not common in the food services and beverage industry.

Will This Job Fit Me?

The food service management position will appeal those with enterprising interests. Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects, leading people, and making decisions. An interest in working with food and attending to detail will be beneficial for this occupation. Good communication skills and flexibility are helpful to effectively lead employees in promoting a pleasant work environment.

What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?

Wages for Food Service Managers tend to be higher than the rest of the industry in larger or more upscale hotels, resorts, and special food services.

Wages

The median wage in 2016 for Food Service Managers in California is $46,849 annually, or $22.52 hourly. The median wage for Food Service Managers in San Diego County is $47,330 annually, or $22.75 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.

Change to Hourly Wages
Annual Wages for 2016Low
(25th percentile)
Median
(50th percentile)
High
(75th percentile)
California$35,664$46,849$62,117
San Diego County$36,360$47,330$68,544
Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2016 Wages do not reflect self-employment.
View Wages for All Areas

Benefits

Vacation, sick leave, and medical insurance plans are part of the benefit package for almost all salaried Food Service Managers. Some employers pay partial dental, vision, life insurance, and retirement benefits. Employers may also provide merchandise discounts, stock options, and bonus opportunities. Managers who are self-employed must provide their own benefits.

What Do Local Employers Say About Benefits?  Of the 18 employers in San Diego County, most provide medical insurance and vacation, and some provide sick leave, dental insurance, retirement plan, and life insurance benefits to Food Service Managers who work full-time.

Percent of Employers Who Provide
Specific Benefits by Time Base
Benefit TypeFull-TimePart-Time
Medical Insurance72%11%
Vacation72%6%
Sick Leave39%6%
Dental Insurance39%6%
Retirement Plan28%0%
Life Insurance22%6%
Disability Insurance17%6%
Vision Insurance17%6%
Paid Time Off Bank6%6%
No benefits6%22%
Source: EDD/LMID Local Occupational Information Survey.

Of the 14 employers surveyed who responded in San Diego County, who provides medical benefits, many reported that they pay half or more of the cost of medical insurance for full-time, and none reported that they pay half or more of the cost of medical insurance for part-time Food Service Managers.

Percent of Employers Who Paid Medical
Insurance by Portion Paid by Time Base
Portion Paid by Employer:Full-TimePart-Time
All31%0%
Half or more23%0%
Less than Half46%50%
None0%50%
Source: EDD/LMID Local Occupational Information Survey.

What is the Job Outlook?

Most new jobs will arise in full-service restaurants and limited-service eating places as the number of these establishments increase to meet the demands of a growing population. Manager jobs in special food services, such as food service contractors, are expected to increase as hotels, schools, healthcare facilities, and other businesses contract out their food service.

Projections of Employment

In California, the number of Food Service Managers is expected to grow slower than average growth rate for all occupations. Jobs for Food Service Managers are expected to increase by 11.8 percent, or 6,000 jobs between 2012 and 2022.

In San Diego County, the number of Food Service Managers is expected to grow slower than average growth rate for all occupations. Jobs for Food Service Managers are expected to increase by 14.6 percent, or 870 jobs between 2012 and 2022.

Estimated Employment and Projected Growth
Food Service Managers
Geographic Area
(Estimated Year-Projected Year)
Estimated
Employment
Projected
Employment
Numeric
Change
Percent
Change
Additional Openings
Due to Net
Replacements
California
(2012-2022)
50,80056,8006,00011.89,100
San Diego County
(2012-2022)
5,9506,82087014.61,060
Source: EDD/LMID Projections of Employment by Occupation
View Projected Growth for All Areas

Annual Job Openings

In California, an average of 610 new job openings per year is expected for Food Service Managers, plus an additional 910 job openings due to net replacement needs, resulting in a total of 1,510 job openings.

In San Diego County, an average of 86 new job openings per year is expected for Food Service Managers, plus an additional 106 job openings due to net replacement needs, resulting in a total of 192 job openings.

Estimated Average Annual Job Openings
Food Service Managers
Geographic Area
(Estimated Year-
Projected Year)
Jobs From GrowthJobs Due to
Net Replacements
Total Annual
Job Openings
California
(2012-2022)
6109101,510
San Diego County
(2012-2022)
86106192
Source: EDD/LMID Projections of Employment by Occupation
View Data for All Areas

How Do I Qualify?

Education, Training, and Other Requirements

A bachelor’s degree in restaurant and food service management provides strong preparation for a career in food service management. An associate’s degree is also a good training option when combined with related management experience in such fields as tourism, lodging, and food service. Employers often recruit those who have degrees in other fields if they have experience and a demonstrated interest and aptitude for food service management. Chef training in culinary institutes can provide a foundation for this field, but would require experience and additional training to advance to Food Service Manager.

Experience

Some type of food service experience is essential for Food Service Managers. In many chain operated facilities, manager trainees learn entry-level jobs to gain experience in all levels of restaurant or cafeteria operations. Many fast-food chains look for management candidates from their lower-paid workers who have three to four years of responsible work experience and good interpersonal skills.

Early Career Planning

Recommended high school courses include culinary arts, nutrition, economics, health, and accounting. Basic computer knowledge is an important foundation to learn the facilities’ various computer programs. Any restaurant work provides opportunity for hands-on experience and the chance to test interest in food service management. Students should work part time in restaurants or school cafeterias to prepare for this career. Some employers offer internship programs in which the students can gain experience and work credit toward a ProStart National Certificate of Achievement through the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation.

Work Study Programs

Most restaurant chains and food service management companies have rigorous training programs typically lasting six months to a year for management positions. The programs combine classroom and on-the-job training in all aspects of operating the facility. Some training topics include food preparation, nutrition, sanitation, security, company policies and procedures, personnel management, recordkeeping, use of the company’s computer system, and preparation of reports. Courses are available through Regional Occupation Programs (ROP) to give the basic foundation for a career in food service management. Trade or vocational schools, hotel or restaurant associations, and the military are sources of training and experience in food service work. To find an ROP program near you, go to the California Association of Regional Occupational Centers and Programs Web site.

Certification

While food safety certification (ServSafe) is not State mandated for Food Service Managers, it is highly desirable. California requires the owner or at least one person employed by each food service establishment be certified in food safety; however, local county and city codes may impose more stringent requirements for food safety certification. The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation provides renewable certification in food safety for passing a nationally recognized exam. In addition, this association provides Foodservice Management Professional credentialing that employers increasingly prefer in their candidates. The International Food Service Executive Association is another organization among others that provides voluntary certification for Food Managers.

Food Service Managers may also obtain a voluntary certification in Responsible Alcohol Service. The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation provides this certification. For more information, go to the U.S. Department of Labor's Career InfoNet Web site and scroll down to "Career Tools." Click on "Certification Finder" and follow the instructions to locate certification programs.

Where Can I Find Training?

There are two ways to search for training information:

  • Search by Field of Study to find what programs are available and what schools offer those programs. You may use keywords such as: Restaurant, Catering, Food Service, Hospitality, and Culinary.
  • Search by Training Provider to find schools by name, type of school, or location.

Contact the schools you are interested in to learn about the classes available, tuition and fees, and any prerequisite course work.

Where Would I Work?

Food Service Managers not only work in restaurants and fast-food franchises but in less visible establishments like catering businesses. They also work for special food services such as food service contractors who supply food for institutions, government, commercial, or industrial locations. A smaller number work in amusement, gambling, nursing care facilities, and hospitals. Other possible locations include child care centers, children’s homes, and senior residence/apartment complexes.

The largest industries that employ this occupation are as follows:

What Employers Say...

The Employment Development Department surveyed 18 employers in San Diego County which employ 375 Food Service Managers. Here's what they had to say:

About Full-Time/Part-Time: Almost All of these firms employ full-time and many employ part-time Food Service Managers.

About Work Experience:  Of the 18 employers surveyed in San Diego County, most require new hires to have prior work experience as Food Service Managers. In the table below, percentages may not add to 100% since employers may select more than one time period.

How Much Work Experience
Do Employers Require?
More than 5 years 21%
25 to 60 months 38%
13 to 24 months 15%
1 to 12 months 31%
Source: EDD/LMID Local Occupational Information Survey.

About Recruitment:  Of the 18 employers surveyed in San Diego County, many indicate it is moderately difficult to find applicants with experience who meet their minimum hiring requirements, while many indicate it is easy to find applicants without previous experience who meet their minimum hiring requirements to fill vacancies for Food Service Managers.

About Hiring:  Of the 18 employers surveyed in San Diego County, most expect the number of Food Service Managers they employ to remain stable during the coming year.

Hiring Expectations
Expect Employment to Increase 17%
Expect Employment to Remain Stable 78%
Expect Employment to Decline 6%
Source: EDD/LMID Local Occupational Information Survey.

About Vacancies:  Of the 18 employers surveyed in San Diego County, 50 percent hired Food Service Managers during the past year. Of the hiring firms, 67 percent filled existing vacancies, 22 percent filled newly created positions, and 22 percent filled temporary assignments.

Finding a Job

Direct application to employers remains one of the most effective job search methods. Newspapers, online classified ads, professional journals, and trade publications advertise job opportunities as well. College career placement centers provide other contacts for work. Online job opening systems include JobCentral at www.jobcentral.com and CalJOBSSM at www.caljobs.ca.gov.

To find your nearest One-Stop Career Center, go to Service Locator. View the helpful job search tips for more resources. (requires Adobe Reader).

Yellow Page Headings

You can focus your local job search by checking employers listed online or in your local telephone directory. Below are some suggested headings where you might find employers of Food Service Managers.

  • Banquet Halls
  • Cafeterias
  • Caterers
  • Concessionaires
  • Convention Centers
  • Cruise Ships
  • Fast Food
  • Food Service Companies
  • Hotels
  • Lodging
  • Restaurants
  • School Districts

Find Possible Employers

To locate a list of employers in your area, go to "Find Employers" on the Labor Market Information Web site:

  • Select one of the top industries that employ the occupation. This will give you a list of employers in that industry in your area.
  • Click on "View Filter Selections" to limit your list to specific cities or employer size.
  • Click on an employer for the street address, telephone number, size of business, Web site, etc.
  • Contact the employer for possible employment.

Where Could This Job Lead?

A willingness to relocate often is essential for advancement to positions with greater responsibility. In chain operations, Food Service Managers may advance into larger establishments, regional management positions, or administrative jobs such as human resources managers. A Manager may progress from human resources to operations such as a hotel or resort manager. Some eventually open their own food service establishments.

Related Occupations

Below is a list of occupations related to Food Service Managers with links to more information.

OccupationOccupational
Guide
Industry
Report
Occupational
Profile
First-Line Supervisors of Food Preparation and Serving WorkersGuide
First-Line Supervisors of Office and Administrative Support WorkersGuide
Lodging ManagersProfile
Medical and Health Services ManagersGuide
Recreation WorkersGuide
Social and Community Service ManagersProfile

Other Sources

These links are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement by EDD.

For the Career Professional

The following codes are provided to assist counselors, job placement workers, or other career professionals.

SystemCode
SOC - Standard Occupational Classification11-9051
O*NET - Occupational Information Network
   Food Service Managers11-9051.00
   Interest Codes (RIASEC)ECR
CIP - Classification of Instructional Programs
   Restaurant, Culinary, and Catering Management/Manager 120504
   Foodservice Systems Administration/Management 190505
   Hospitality Administration/Management, General 520901
   Hotel/Motel Administration/Management 520904
TOP - Taxonomy of Programs (California Community Colleges)
   Dietetic Services and Management130620
   Hospitality130700
   Restaurant and Food Services and Management130710
   Lodging Management130720