The restaurant industry runs on the backs of many qualified and highly-trained individuals. In the farthest reaches of the scenes are the food service managers and executive chefs. These men and women dedicate their lives to ensuring that whatever restaurant they’re affiliated with runs as smoothly as possible, all while creating new and innovative dishes to serve to the general public. Being extremely well-versed in all things food service is an obvious prerequisite for any of these career paths, as is being a team player, being able to think on one’s feet, the ability to adapt to change, and most importantly, the ability to make large, important decisions at a moment’s notice.
Food Service Manager, Executive Chef and General Manager Job Responsibilities
A food service manager is primarily tasked with handling the daily affairs of the restaurant, including the kitchen, bar area, and general dining area. They coordinate all of the activities that occur among these entities, both during the normal business hours and for special events. They make certain that customers are completely satisfied with the service and food they receive from the restaurant, and make every effort possible to rectify the situation if they feel otherwise. Furthermore, they are tasked with ordering all of the food and supplies for the restaurant, and making sure that all of the equipment is up to date and functioning properly. Food service managers are also responsible for hiring the employees and making certain that they’re performing their tasks up to the restaurant’s standards. If staff members need to undergo any disciplinary action or to be fired, it will be the manager’s task to ensure that this happens. Managers are also often tasked with maintaining the employee’s payroll and working schedules, making certain that every aspect of the restaurant runs as efficiently as it can.
In addition to some of these responsibilities, the executive is primarily tasked with ensuring that the kitchen runs as smoothly as possible. Besides training new cooks in the preparation of the restaurant’s dishes, it’s up to the executive chef to create new and exciting menu items to ensure that people return to the establishment. The executive chef is sometimes even the general manager themselves, or even the owner of the establishment.
Food Service Manager, Executive Chef and General Manager Training and Education Requirements
There is usually no general training to become a food service manager or executive chef, as most of the candidates have previous food service experience. However, many larger-scale and chain operations require that interested parties undergo an internship in order to ascend into a management position—this will also be incorporated into a two or four year hospitality and food service program that is offered at many colleges and universities. This training includes education in areas such as food preparation, workplace sanitation, restaurant and personnel management, and other such areas of maintaining a business. Furthermore, many larger restaurants may pay for their managers to undergo computer and other technology-related training as more advanced pieces of technology come onto the market.
Furthermore, though it’s not a specific requirement, many restaurants prefer that their executive chefs attend culinary school before becoming a part of the team. Considering that one of the executive chef’s main responsibilities include crafting a menu and teaching new cooks in those pieces’ preparation, these individuals need to be able to make a variety of dishes and put their own variation on those dishes, in order to make their restaurant’s menu completely unique.
Food Service Manager, Executive Chef and General Manager Salary and Wages
The average wage of food service managers and executive chefs is between $29,000 and $60,000 with the median wage resting at about $37,000. This, of course, varies by location of the restaurant, caliber of the food served, and general industry of service. More specifically, limited-service eating locations, such as smaller delis and eateries, have the lowest earning potential, with wages averaging around $41,000. On the other hand, the highest paying jobs are in the travel accommodation sector, where the average wage is $55,000. Special food services and full service restaurants rest in the middle, where the average earning potential is about $50,000 in each.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Food Service Manager, Executive Chef and General Manager Certifications
The official measure of achievement, as dictated by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, is known as the Foodservice Management Professional award. This is given to individuals who represent the very pinnacle in professionalism and excellence in their field; while it’s not a necessary requirement to join a restaurant’s staff, it’s certainly a designation of exemplary workmanship that will put any candidate leagues ahead of their competition for a management position.
Food Service Manager, Executive Chef and General Manager Professional Associations
The main professional association is the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, which administers the Foodservice Management Professional credential. Interested parties can become Foodservice Management Professional proctors, who are responsible for instructing managers on proper conduct, better management styles, and ways to better the industry on a larger level. Moreover, proctors are responsible for submitting names and giving consideration for individuals who qualify for the extremely prestigious Foodservice Management Professional award.