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What are the Different Types of Food Management Jobs?

By Harriette Halepis
Updated May 16, 2024
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While food managers perform many different tasks, food management jobs are all extremely similar. Food service managers are responsible for the day to day operations of a food establishment. Food managers must be able to juggle numerous jobs throughout an average workday. Essentially, a food manager must keep a restaurant, or other food-related outfit, running smoothly at all times.

Managers often oversee staff, purchase inventory, hire and fire employees, and train all new staff members. In addition, managers are required to keep an eye on the dining room area, speak with diners, and ensure that food is sent out in a timely manner. Commonly, managers must also handle payroll, scheduling, the tallying of a cash, and closing of a business at the end of the day.

Good food managers also keep abreast of the latest technology, news, and any food-related information. This knowledge is often applied to the daily running of a food business. It is safe to state that food managers must handle all aspects of a business at one point or another, and they are often the most important person inside of a business next to an actual owner.

There are generally two types of food management jobs, including a general manager and an assistant manager. Sometimes, the executive chef can also be considered part of the management team. Assistant managers are required to oversee any dining room or banquet area, while general managers are required to perform all of the tasks mentioned above. Executive chefs tend to handle the preparation of food, the ordering of certain food items, and the maintaining of kitchen staff.

On occasion, an assistant or general manager may help an executive chef to select menu items that are popular, and remove items that do not sell very well. This type of collaboration changes from business to business. Food management jobs are physically demanding, intellectually stimulating, and entirely rewarding.

Prospective managers should be able to communicate with ease, since these jobs often include a vast amount of communication. In addition, all candidates must have proper schooling or experience before applying for food management jobs. Almost all food managers obtain management positions by working within the food service field. Some managers have secondary education, though this is often the exception.

Most employers only give food management jobs to candidates that show certain personality traits. Reliable, intuitive, and analytical candidates frequently have the best chance of obtaining a food management position. In addition, candidates who can speak different languages are often in demand.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By chivebasil — On Aug 02, 2011

I think there are two key skills to have if you want to be a food manager.

First, you have to communicate. In many cases you are the intermediary between the cooks and servers and the bosses. If you cannot convey important and sometimes sensitive information in an effective way you are not doing your job well. You also have to hire and fire people which takes a delicate touch. Lots of people struggle with this part of the job.

Second, you have to know how restaurants work. I think that any food service manager should have a background in cooking and ideally in serving as well. How can you tell people what to do if you can;t do it yourself? I have worked with managers who did not come from an experienced background and it was almost always a disaster. They don't understand the kinds of strains that get placed on food service workers and they set unrealistic expectations.

By nextcorrea — On Aug 02, 2011

I worked as the kitchen manager for an upscale pizza restaurant for about 3 years and let me tell you, it was the hardest job of my life. Every day brought with it the potential for stress, strain, disaster and a serious butt kicking from the managers above me.

Working in a fancy restaurant like this means that everything has to be perfect. It has to look perfect, taste perfect and include all the right ingredients and proportions that the restaurant requires. On top of this it has to be done fast. This is the golden rule in restaurants, don't keep hungry people waiting.

Eventually the stress got to me. My boss asked me to fire a cook that I had become good friends with and it really put me in an awkward spot. I decided that there were better things I could be doing with my life. Now I only go to restaurants as a customer and I love it.

By tigers88 — On Aug 01, 2011

There is more to food management than just working in the kitchen with food. There are now so many chain restaurant that stretch across the country that there are food managers who really only have administrative duties. They might not set foot in a kitchen for months.

I know this because my dad has worked for corporate restaurants for years. In that time he has worked with every kind of food from Italian to sandwiches to Mexican. In many of these jobs he was responsible for finding deals on bulk food products, finding suppliers for kitchen equipment and managing the people who managed the kitchens themselves. he was a food manager but he had very little to do with food.

I imagine that this is especially the case in really large chains like Panera or Noodles and Co. They probably have huge corporate structures with managers at every possible level. There is a lot that goes into this kind of work.

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