How to Become a Restaurant Manager

How to Become a Restaurant Manager

Like many careers, there are many different paths to becoming a restaurant manager; this career is open to pretty much anyone with a combination of practical experience (or relevant education), strong interpersonal skills and an understanding of business. 


This work would involve overseeing staff, adhering to a budget, dealing with the public, working non-traditional hours, and offers plenty of room for advancement and opportunities for ownership. 


If this sounds like a promising career field, then read on below; we’ll fill you in on the details, such as how you can get into this profession, how much you could earn, and of course, what you’d be doing once you get there.



Education Needed to Become a Restaurant Manager

You don’t typically need any formal post-secondary education to become a restaurant manager, working your way up is often enough to get you into management.


However, many employers will prefer to hire, or will only hire candidates that do have a diploma or degree in a field related to restaurant or hospitality management (which includes general business management).


Success Tip: Whether or not it’s required to start your career, having related post-secondary education can usually help you advance more quickly in your career, and may qualify you for advancement to district manager and top executive positions in large organizations. 




Experience You May Need

If you don’t have a post-secondary education in a related field, not to worry. You can always work your way into the job by starting as host/hostess, bartender, server or kitchen staff. From their, you can move into a supervisor role, and eventually into a management role. 


You can also move into a restaurant manager job from an outside position (typically in some kind of service management capacity), provided some of the skills and competencies transfer well. 



Restaurant Manager: General Job Description

As a restaurant manager, you would be responsible for the business performance of your restaurant, as well as maintaining high standards with regards to food and service. 


A big part of your job would be to ensure that a positive atmosphere for customers and staff is maintained. Depending on the specific restaurant you work for, your responsibilities may also include marketing and business development functions.



General Job Duties

Although your specific duties may vary from job to job, you could expect to be responsible for performing the following duties in any restaurant manager position:


• Organizing and implementing marketing activities, such as promotional events

• Overseeing kitchen and service staff

• Preparing shift and weekly reports, which may include sales reports, staffing and guest issues as well as reports pertaining to food quality

• Performing full cycle hiring and training duties

• Coordinating the operation of the restaurant on a daily basis

• Maintaining high standards of service, health and safety

• Ensuring appropriate levels of stock are maintained, which includes ordering more stock as needed

• Dealing with customer complaints and objections





Is This Career Right for You?

As a quick reference, you will be well-suited for this career if you have the following attributes:


• An interest in a fast-paced, public-facing career

• An interest in a career with many opportunities for advancement

• A willingness to work non-traditional hours

• You enjoy overseeing the work of others

• You’re well organized and can manage a budget

• You’re interested in managing the health, hygiene, safety and security of a workplace




Who Creates Jobs for Restaurant Managers?

The restaurant and food service industry is a large and diverse one. As a result, there are many different types of food service establishments that employ one or several managers, which includes fast-food, casual dining, and fine dining establishments. 


These restaurants may be owned privately, as part of a franchise, or as part of a publicly-traded corporation. Many restaurant managers are also self-employed, managing their own restaurants.



What Kind of Salary Can You Earn?

The salary level you could earn as a restaurant manager can vary greatly, typically depending on the following factors:


• Your professional qualifications (levels of education, experience, etc.)

• The size and budget of your employer

• The region in which you work

• The scope of your job duties and responsibilities

• Whether you are a salaried employee or paid by the hour

• The type of remuneration package you are offered (such as if you get tips and bonuses, or partial ownership)


Restaurant Manager Salary - Alberta: According to the 2015 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans working as part of the Restaurant Managers occupational group earn an average of between $19.12 to $24.46 per hour.


Restaurant Manager Salary - Canada: According to Service Canada, the average salary level of Canadians working in the Restaurant and Food Service Managers occupational group is $36,700 per year.


Restaurant Manager Salary - United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary level of Americans working in the Food Service Managers occupational group is $48,690 per year, with  the highest 10% earning more than $83,000 per year.



Career Advancement Possibilities 

If you display competence and dedication in your work, career advancement opportunities will open themselves up to you. Examples of career opportunities for restaurant managers include (but aren’t limited to):


• An increase in wage or salary

• Partnership in the ownership of the restaurant

• Moving to a bigger, busier or more profitable location

• Moving into a district manager role

• Moving into corporate-level executive management positions with a large organization

• Moving into a specialized role in the food industry, such as sales representative

• Opening your own restaurant or chain of restaurants


Success Tip: Having an education related to restaurant, food service or hospitality management can usually help you advance more quickly, especially in corporate-level positions.



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Work Environment 

Working Hours: Most restaurant managers work full-time. Your working hours could vary quite widely from one job to the next, but would closely reflect the operating hours of the restaurant. Some duties might also be performed when the restaurant is closed, such as doing inventory management. You might also be called in to work on short notice including evenings, weekends, and holidays.


Work Setting: You would likely work within the restaurant itself for a good portion of your time, in order to supervise staff and service. Other duties would be based out of an office that would be located within the restaurant, a different building, or possibly from your own home. The restaurant itself could be a stand-alone building, or it could be located in a hotel, sports complex, national park, hospital, movie theatre, or on a food truck, among other places.


Working Conditions: The job of a restaurant manager can often be quite hectic, as you would have to deal with dissatisfied or intoxicated customers, staff not showing up for shifts, running out of stock during a busy rush, or for a host of other issues that can come up.



Careers Similar to ‘Restaurant Manager’

Listed below are occupations in our database that have similar responsibilities, and/or require similar skills, or are in the same sector of industry, as Restaurant Manager:


Bank Manager

• Bar Manager

• Dance Studio Owner

• Event Planner

• Food Service Manager

• Restaurateur

• Retail Manager

• Small Business Owner

• Wedding Planner




The following resources were utilized in the preparation of this How to Become a Restaurant Manager career guide:



Occupations in Alberta:Restaurant Manager.” (March 28, 2017). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved January 12, 2020.

Management:Food Service Managers.” (Fall, 2002). Bureau of Labor Statistics - United States Government website. Retrieved January 12, 2020.

Explore Careers:Restaurant Manager.” (n.d.). National Careers Service website. Retrieved January 12, 2020.


Please Note: Some of the information for this career guide was gathered from actual job postings, which due to the brief nature of their online presence, are not listed here as sources.




Scholarships for Becoming a Restaurant Manager

The Applicable Majors section below shows fields of study relevant to a career as a restaurant manager. You can search for scholarships matched to that/those fields of study on our All Scholarships by Major page.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Becoming a Restaurant Manager: Applicable Majors

Studying one of the college/university majors listed below can be helpful (or necessary) for becoming a restaurant manager. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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