How to Get Food Service Manager Certification

You’ll need to combine a heart for food and a head for business to thrive as a food service manager.

How to Get Food Service Manager Certification

Food service managers oversee all aspects of operations.

You're probably familiar with the saying, "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen." From seasoning the perfect steak to tweaking cocktail recipes, seating guests, and managing budgets, the food industry is a fast-paced environment. If you’re passionate about food and can stand the heat of weekends and late nights spent whipping up culinary perfection, you might consider pursuing food service manager certification.

Food industry employers often look for business-savvy candidates with exceptional communication, customer-service, organizational, and leadership skills. As a food service manager, you must also be detail oriented, able to solve problems, and able to endure some long shifts. In this guide, Monster serves up the ingredients you need to meet your food service management career goals.

What Is Food Service Management?

Food service management is a food-industry and hospitality profession that focuses on a wide range of business functions. Namely, it's centered around food preparation, customer service, employee oversight, marketing, and accounting. Exceptional food service management is critical for fast food and chain restaurants, upscale dining establishments, hotels and resorts, casinos, catering businesses, school or facility cafeterias, and other places where food is served to the public.

What Does a Food Service Manager Do?

Food service managers oversee all aspects of food service operations, from hiring to managing budgets. Most food service managers work full time for restaurants, special food services, and in the accommodation industry. Some work directly for food service management companies that provide food to schools and health-care facilities or catering services. Some food service managers who have a passion for cooking and a flair for management eventually open their own businesses. Those who work for fast food or chain restaurants often manage multiple locations.

The typical duties and responsibilities of food service managers include:

  • Hiring, training, and managing employees.
  • Ordering food and beverages, as well as necessary equipment and supplies.
  • Overseeing food preparation and presentation.
  • Inspecting work areas, equipment, and supplies.
  • Enforcing health and food safety standards.
  • Responding to customer complaints.
  • Creating staff schedules and assigning duties.
  • Managing budgets and payroll records.
  • Ensuring employees offer exceptional customer service and professionalism.

To get a better idea of the skills and duties employers look for in food service managers, take a look at Monster's restaurant general manager job description sample.

How to Become a Food Service Manager

There are no special requirements needed to break into the food service industry. You only need a high school diploma and several years of work experience as a cook, server, or host to become a food service manager. Many food service managers have worked their way up from those entry-level positions by slowly taking on more responsibility, gaining new skills, and demonstrating professionalism on the job. However, earning a degree or obtaining food service manager certification can help you advance more quickly in your career.

Earn a Food Service Management Degree

You don’t need a college degree to work your way into a food service management career, but many employers in the food industry prefer food service managers with postsecondary education. In fact, some employers recruit candidates directly from college hospitality or food service management undergraduate programs.

There are several colleges that offer food service management associate and bachelor’s degrees as well as certificate programs. Many of these colleges also allow you to obtain a food service management degree online.

Some topics food service management degree programs may touch upon include:

  • Food planning and preparation.
  • Nutrition.
  • Restaurant safety and sanitation.
  • Business management.
  • Bookkeeping and accounting.
  • Marketing.

Many food service management college programs require students to complete internships in the food industry prior to graduate. An internship allows you to gain practical, hands-on experience overseeing food planning and preparation as well as the business and marketing side of food service management.

Ready to spice up your career, but worried about the cost of education? Check out these scholarships for hospitality administration and management majors to help fund your future.

Obtain Food Service Manager Certification

Certification is not required to become a food service manager. But having certification can help you develop the critical skills for a food service manager to have at a much faster pace than work experience alone. Additionally, it gives you knowledge of areas such as sanitation and food safety that you might not learn on the job. Upscale restaurants and other higher-paying organizations may be more accessible to job candidates with certification.

There are many food service manager certification options available to you. Among them are the Food Protection Manager Certification (FPMC) designation from the American National Standards Institute, which is offered by six accredited organizations. You must pass a food safety exam to be eligible for the FPMC.

Another option is to pursue the Foodservice Management Professional (FMP) designation from the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. This is a certification program for food service managers who have related supervisory experience, have special food safety training, and can pass a multiple-choice exam.

How Much Do Food Service Managers Make?

Monster data shows the median food service manager salary is $43,276 per year. The amount of money you'll earn depends on the industry you work in and whether you have credentials like a degree or a food service manager certification.

A very experienced food service manager may earn more than $94,770 a year, while an entry-level food service manager may earn about $33,880. Food service managers who work in the accommodation industry earn an average yearly salary of $67,090; those who work in restaurants usually earn around $53,660 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

You can look up the average salary for food service managers in your location by using the Monster Salary Guide.

How to Find Food Service Manager Jobs

After you've obtained food service manager certification along with a degree and a few years of work experience in the industry, it's time to serve up your new career. Before you start applying to food service manager jobs, spice up your food service manager resume with a sprinkle of information about your education, a drizzle of prior work experience, and a pinch of the personal qualities you bring to the table.

Don’t mince your words in your food service manager cover letter either; make sure potential employers know why you’re the right fit for the position.

After you've cooked up exceptional application materials, start your job search: You can find tons of food service manager jobs in your area on Monster. Looking outside your own backyard? Here are the top five states with the most food service manager jobs:

The top five U.S. metro areas with the most food service manager jobs are:

Prepare Your Next Job Search by Signing Up With Monster

Do you have the skills, aptitude, work experience, and food service manager certification employers look for in successful candidates? If so, Monster can dish up a plateful of job results in your area. We’ll also notify you of new job postings and match your resume with recruiters. Upload your resume for free to get started.