A food and beverage manager oversees the day-to-day operation of a restaurant or other dining facility. He handles a number of administrative functions, from ordering food from wholesalers to training employees. Good managerial and communication skills, however, only form part of the picture for a budding food service director. A good working knowledge of meal preparation, food safety and nutrition complete the job skill equation.
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A food and beverage manager conducts many major tasks in a hotel, on a cruise ship or other establishment that serves meals and drinks. The F & B manager's duties encompass office obligations, including checking budgets, payroll and food order invoices from suppliers. He also hires and schedules servers, bartenders and other food service employees, assigns kitchen staff to cooking and preparation tasks, and determines service standards for personnel. A food director needs a thorough knowledge of American and ethnic cuisine, food preparation and the costs of purchasing items for particular dishes. They plan menus for restaurants and special events like banquets.
A good grounding in national and local laws regarding food safety and preparation, including OSHA regulations, will be needed year-round to ensure that the establishment has satisfied patrons and receives high ratings from local food inspectors. Food and beverage managers arrange for purchase and maintenance of stoves, ovens, blenders, cutlery and other items needed to prepare food.
Trade and culinary schools offer diplomas in Food and Beverage Management for courses that may last from a few months to two years. Traditional and community colleges have associate or bachelor degrees in hospitality management or food and beverage management, which contain courses such as hotels and food service law, food sanitation, nutrition and event planning. While not necessary for employment as a food and beverage manager, a college or trade school degree can open the door to choice opportunities at upscale hotels or large institutions, such as schools and hospitals. Fast food establishments and other chain restaurants often promote from within, so just a high school degree will suffice for most food manager jobs with those companies.
The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) issues a Foodservice Management Professional (FMP) certification for industry professionals who complete certain food management courses and pass a written exam. The NRAEF sponsors the SPIRIT Awards each year to honour restaurants with the best atmosphere for employees.
Types of Employers
Food and beverage managers find employment at all types of restaurants and dining facilities, from independently owned diners to fast food franchises. Restaurant owners often serve in a dual capacity as food and beverage managers, handling all of their business's major operations. Hospitals, airlines, colleges and other education institutions need food and beverage managers to create menus and direct food preparation for meals. Hospitality industry organisations, such as hotels, casinos, theme parks and cruise lines, hire F & B directors to complement the entertainment aspect of their businesses with an appropriate dining experience for their customers.
Employment prospects for food and beverage managers will improve by 5 per cent until 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Experienced food service directors can find job easily, especially in large urban areas and at resorts or entertainment meccas, like New York City or Las Vegas. Applicants with a Food and Beverage Management degree can set their sights on positions with the corporate headquarters of restaurant franchises, casinos or concert venues.
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