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There are several paths you can take to become a food manager. Having a two- or four-year college degree can open many opportunities for you. If you don’t have the time or money to invest in a college degree, substantial experience in the restaurant or food service industry also carries a lot of weight. You can also obtain a food service certification, either in addition to or in place of a college degree. A large number of restaurants also require anyone wishing to become a food service manager to undergo in-house training and continuing education.
Many colleges and universities offer courses of study for a student wishing to become a food manager. For instance, some schools have specific associate and bachelor degree programs in restaurant management, food service, and hospitality. You can often tailor these programs to suit your needs. As an example, if you want to become a food manager for a smaller restaurant, you might be responsible for inventory control, bookkeeping, and other administrative functions. If that is the case, you could modify your curriculum to include business administration, accounting, or other such classes.
Although very helpful, having a two- or four-year college degree is not always necessary to become a food manager. Many potential employers are happy to accept candidates who have substantial experience in the food service industry. This experience should not only include working in a restaurant or food service environment, but also management. For instance, if you have held a position that not only involved food preparation but also included overseeing staff, keeping track of inventory, dealing with customer complaints, and so forth, you are more likely to become a food service manager than someone who doesn’t have that depth of experience.
When hiring a food manager, many employers often want potential candidates to have food service certification. In fact, in the U.S., many states now require that any person wishing to become a food service manager obtain specific certification. Although the requirements might vary from state to state, employers generally prefer nationally recognized and accredited programs, such as the Prometic and ServSafe programs. A college degree is not necessary for you to obtain certification, and many individuals rely solely on their experience to carry them through. In all likelihood, though, you will have to complete a course of study in order to pass the required certification exam.
Once you do become a food manager, your employer might require that you undergo additional training in order to retain the position. Quite a few restaurants and other such establishments have their own in-house programs to make sure you follow their particular rules and procedures. Typically, you are paid while undergoing training, but your continued employment might depend on your successful completion of the program. Additionally, you might be required to undergo continuing education so that you can stay up to speed on changes and developments in the food service industry.