How to Become a Restaurant Manager
Restaurant Manager Careers & Degrees

When you become a restaurant manager, you are the coordinating force that makes sure that both the front and the back of the restaurant work together in unity.

You are there to solve problems, help customers, and keep things moving according to schedule.

During meal times, your work will be frantic.

You’ll have plenty of areas to cover across all areas of the business.

During off peak times will be busy too, since you’ll have plenty of administrative tasks to complete, as well as ordering, and staff supervision.

If you are looking for a fast paced role in hospitality where no two days are ever the same, then you might like to become a restaurant manager.

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Education Requirements to Become a Restaurant Manager

While there isn’t a formal education requirement to become a restaurant manager, more applicants that are looking for management roles are completing two year associates degrees.

If you are planning to form a full-time career in hospitality, then this is an option that you might like to take.

You can complete an associate’s degree in hospitality management or similar field at community college or vocational school.

This kind of education would give you a good background for work in hospitality.

If you are looking at working for an exclusive restaurant or high-end hotel, then you might like to complete a four year bachelors degree in hospitality management.

These kind of establishments pay a much higher salary, but require plenty of experience.

Many restaurant managers begin their career as a waiter or kitchen worker.

They are noticed for their hard work and problem solving skills, and promoted internally to a higher level position, and eventually to manager.

This is a good alternative route to become a restaurant manager if you are not wanting to attend vocational school.

You can find out more about restaurant educational programs at the National Restaurant Association.

Restaurant Manager Job Description

When you become a restaurant manager, you must work to ensure the smooth operation of a restaurant.

This means coordinating the kitchen and wait staff, making sure customers are comfortable and promptly served.

If there is a problem, the restaurant manager is called in to solve it.

It could be a customer complaint, a stock problem, or a staff injury.

In the fast paced environment many things can go wrong.

A manager solves the problem as quickly and effectively as possible.

A restaurant manager also supervises staff.

This includes recruiting and training new employees.

They also setup employee’s schedules, and counsel any staff who are not performing.

They may promote staff, or sometimes have to let people go.

Administrative duties are also important.

A restaurant manager makes sure that the restaurant is well kept and that stock levels are maintained.

They complete various kinds of paperwork and filing, and may be responsible for financial reporting.

They may also need to answer to an owner or supervisor.

Restaurant managers can work demanding hours and split shifts.

Often overtime is required, particularly in busy times of year such as certain holidays.

Here are some of the duties of a restaurant manager:

  • Make sure service is prompt
  • Resolve customer complaints
  • Ensure a high quality of food and service
  • Supervise staff
  • Monitor stock
  • Financial reports

Restaurant Manager Salary and Career Path

If you want to become a restaurant manager, it’s likely that you will start your career somewhere else in hospitality.

Even with a college degree you will still need to have some entry level experience.

You may work as a waiter or kitchen assistant, or you could work in a hotel, or some other part of the hospitality industry.

With some experience you could expect to be promoted to a restaurant manager.

Some managers go on to work for larger or more exclusive restaurants.

Others become employed in other parts of the food services industry, while some even go on to own their own restaurant.

The median wage of a restaurant manager is around $46,000 a year.

There are good opportunities in this industry and good prospects for promotion.

Some similar roles to restaurant manager you might be interested in include:

  • Hotel manager
  • Customer service manager
  • Hospitality worker
  • Waiter
  • Chef

People pursuing this career face a fast paced and fun career with many benefits.

If you love hospitality and would like to make a career in the restaurant industry, then you might like to become a restaurant manager.

The below information is based on the 2019 BLS national averages.
  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

National Average Salary


Average Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
Colorado- NA -
District of Columbia$74,710
New Hampshire$65,950
New Jersey$83,350
New Mexico$59,350
New York$75,760
North Carolina$61,450
North Dakota$55,040
Rhode Island$63,190
South Carolina$61,340
South Dakota$53,300
West Virginia$46,800
Puerto Rico$32,390
Virgin Islands$47,820

The top earning state in the field is New Jersey, where the average salary is $83,350.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

New Jersey - $83,350
Delaware - $79,320
Washington - $76,770
New York - $75,760
District of Columbia - $74,710
* Salary information based on the May 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Food Service Managers, OCC Code 11-9051, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

QuestionWhat does a restaurant manager do?

A restaurant manager has to ensure that everything is running in the restaurant as smoothly and profitably as it can possibly be.

On one hand, a restaurant manager is the ‘face’ of the restaurant; on the other – the professional is responsible for the quality of the food that is coming out of the kitchen and for handling any customer-related issues.

Of course, the main tasks of a restaurant manager will differ, depending on the actual business, but, in general, specialists are responsible for ordering food and drink supplies; making sure that the kitchen and other rooms are clean to certain industry standards; keeping records of the cleaning manipulations for health inspectors, and so on.

Sometimes restaurant managers might also be the people who hire and train staff; however, the main forte of a professional is, certainly, customer service.

QuestionHow much do restaurant managers make?

On average, restaurant managers make a little less than $45.500 per year in the United States.

In case you decide to choose this career path, you can expect to earn anywhere between $26.500 and $78.000 annually.

The salary would certainly depend on your experience, the employer, and the location.

An entry-level restaurant manager can end up making nearly $13 per hour; while highly experienced professionals can earn over $37.

Restaurant managers in New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut typically have the highest salaries.

QuestionHow much does it cost to become a restaurant manager?

You don’t necessarily need to have a degree, in order to become a restaurant manager.

However, an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree in hospitality and restaurant management will open a lot of doors for you.

In some schools, you can end up paying only $6.000 for your hospitality management education, while others can cost you $45.000 and more annually.

You can always choose to join a restaurant management certification program; there are plenty of those available today (both online and offline).

Those can cost you anywhere between a few hundred dollars to a couple of thousand.

QuestionWhat is the demand for restaurant managers?

Between 2016 and 2026, the restaurant manager job market is expected to grow by 9% in the United States.

The career path will be providing moderate employment opportunities in the future.

The number of positions in limited-service establishments is projected to decline, while full-service restaurants will have plenty of new jobs available.

Those who have a degree will have between employment opportunities.

Foodservice contractors that provide food for different facilities are expected to have plenty of available job positions.

QuestionHow long does it take to become a restaurant manager?

Some future restaurant managers start at the lowest positions in the industry and make their way up throughout the years.

In case you want to achieve the position straight away, you would have to go for a degree.

An associate’s degree will take you 2 years to obtain, while a bachelor’s degree would need 4 years of your time.

If you seek high-level positions, then a master’s degree can help (1-2 years).

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