How Do I Become a Food Service Supervisor?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 04 October 2019
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Someone who wants to become a food service supervisor may pursue on the job training or a formal education to qualify for jobs in this field. Supervisors handle operations in the kitchen and on the floor as food service personnel prepare and serve meals. Positions can range from jobs in celebrated restaurants with small dining rooms and a limited number of customers each night to institutional facilities where meals need to feed 500 people or more. The type of work candidates are most interested in could influence their career training decisions.

At restaurants, the traditional way to become a food service supervisor is to work up through the ranks. People with an interest in management may work on the line, in the dining room, and in other positions to develop skills. Those who appear to be good candidates may be provided with mentoring and opportunities to assist managers, until they eventually rise into management positions. Some restaurants may ask their staff to get food safety certifications, but formal educational training may not be required.

Institutional settings like schools and prisons may require education for a food service supervisor. This could include training in culinary school to learn how to prepare and manage meals for large groups. Technical training through a two or four year degree program is another option. This training can provide people with practical skills they can use to resolve disputes, manage employees, and control costs in food service settings.


Experience in food service, in both cases, may be necessary to become a food service supervisor. People with educational training may not be familiar with the actual work in the kitchen and in the dining areas. They might need to take assistant supervisor positions to develop skills with mentoring from experienced personnel. Those who work their way through a number of positions acquire experience as they work, and can cite this on applications for supervisor positions.

Once someone has become a food service supervisor, it can help to keep up with developments in the field. Trade publications provide news and information about innovations in food service. Workshops may provide management training, tips on ordering food and supplies, and other information that people might find useful in their administration of a kitchen and its staff. It may also help to attend conferences and events to learn about new cooking techniques, kitchen equipment, management software, and other useful tools.



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