How to be a restaurant manager

restaurant manager with a server
Photo courtesy of CareerOneStop

Find out how to be a restaurant manager

With more than a million restaurants in the United States, there is a demand for good restaurant managers. The restaurant industry needs people who care about people and food to manage these restaurants. The job of a restaurant manager is also known as food service manager.

The table below tells you some facts about a restaurant manager career. It shows that most restaurant managers and owners started from the bottom and worked their way up. This means you may not need a qualification to start on this career path. It also shows that many people have found jobs in restaurants and that even more jobs will open up in the future.

restaurant manager - facts at a glance

About the job


Restaurant managers make sure everything in the restaurant is running as it should. They deal with customers and oversee staff, supplies, and quality. Managers deal with customer service issues and solve problems among the employees. They make sure that the food quality and service is good. Additionally, they ensure that everything is ready before the restaurant opens. They may also manage food preparation, organizing stock, and ordering supplies. Finally, managers make employees clean equipment and follow safety rules.

Restaurant managers are responsible for interviewing, hiring, and supervising new staff members. They may also manage a budget and payroll. Sometimes, managers are also the owners of the restaurant.

Watch this video to learn more about what restaurant owners do


Restaurants managers work in family-owned restaurants, fast-food and other chain restaurants, resorts, and hotels. Restaurant managers usually have an office where they do administrative tasks and manage their day-to-day activities.

Nine out of ten restaurants have fewer than 50 employees. But the workplace can be hectic.


Restaurant managers’ salaries cover a wide range, but they earn an average of $35,570 annually. Annual salaries start at $19,865 and go up to $54,300. Hourly wages range from $9.55 to $26.09

About the person

Qualities you should have:

  • able to keep a positive attitude under stress
  • able to work well with and manage people
  • pleasant, courteous demeanor
  • observant of details
  • able to respond and make decisions quickly

Skills you will need:

  • Hard skills
    strong knowledge and experience of
    kitchen and restaurant practices
  • Soft skills
    conflict resolution

Get qualified

top five cities - restaurant manager

Training and experience

Most people in the restaurant business start in an entry-level job in a restaurant and work their way up. On-the-job experience is the most common way to gain training.

As there is high demand for people to fill entry-level jobs, you can start training for your career by getting a job in a restaurant. On-the-job experience is the most likely way to reach your goal.

What if you do not feel quite ready to apply for a job in a restaurant? Some job centers and other organizations offer free basic job training. Some of the training includes job skills to refugees and immigrants going into restaurant jobs and other food service jobs. You do not need to pay large tuition fees to get basic training for the restaurant business.


As we have learned, nine of ten restaurant managers reached their position by working their way up from the bottom. They probably do not have certification. But certificates can help to get ahead. If you are very committed to advancing quickly, you can get additional training by attending a school or online class. With a part-time course, you can do this at the same time that you are gaining job experience and earning a living.

There are many courses and different certifications in restaurant management. In addition, there are other hospitality jobs on offer at four-year and two-year colleges. Also, at culinary schools and other vocational schools.

Learn about different types of courses:

  • At the following link, scroll down past the best school reviews to see the different kinds of restaurant management courses offered by accredited schools.
  • Learn about the ManageFirst program, a course for training restaurant managers created by the National Restaurant Association. It is offered at many colleges and universities. See if it is offered at your local college.
  • Check the job center’s local training finder for your area.
  • Some people choose to enroll in a two-year business management and administration program before becoming a restaurant manager.
  • You can consider an online course, but make sure it is accredited.

More resources


Watch an interview with Mali Tuba, a former refugee who has been a restaurant manager and has his own restaurant.

Are you interested in starting and managing your own restaurant?

Refugees shaking hands

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