Food and beverage managers supervise restaurants and bars throughout the U.S. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2008 there were 338,700 individuals employed as managers of food and drink establishments. The number is expected to grow to about 356,700 by 2018. The median annual salary of those employed in this field was $47,210 in May 2009, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The qualifications for food and beverage managers can vary by employer, but there are some similarities across the industry.
The education requirements for employment in this field can vary greatly. According to the BLS, the majority of food and beverage managers have no post-secondary education. It can be helpful, however, to pursue either an associate's or bachelor's degree in hospitality management. Some schools also offer certificate programs that take less than one year to complete. Food service management degrees are typically preferred or required by large companies that specialize in food service and catering.
Experience is as important as education in the food and beverage management industry. For careers requiring a two- or four-year degree, an internship can provide much of the necessary experience to gain employment in this field. Other food and beverage managers are promoted from within the industry, working as waiters or in other staff jobs before being recruited by company management to complete a management trainee program.
Communications skills are among the most important skills that food service managers need to have. Food and beverage managers are in constant contact with employees throughout the course of the day and must be able to both motivate and direct them. They are also regularly in contact with food and beverage suppliers.
Food and beverage managers need to be detail-oriented. They are responsible for keeping track of payroll and daily receipts. They need a strong knowledge of basic accounting procedures and need to be familiar with basic accounting software like Food Services Solutions DayCap or Intuit QuickBooks. Managers with significant experience can obtain certification through the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation as a Foodservice Management Professional, or FMP.
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