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how long does it take to be a food service manager

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Mical’s Answer

Hello Jerry, it really depends on your effort to learn and practice what you learn. you will want to start by looking for a job in a food service establishment that will allow you to learn. look for a place where the food service manager can coach or mentor and as a lead can teach you how to be a food service manager in other words where you feel comfortable growing as a food service professional , if you learn your role and love to learn than I would say it can take between 1 to 5 years depending on the food service establishment and how long you are willing to keep the job. Many CEO to great food service companies started at the bottom such as dishwashers or host because as a food service manager you have to understand each role. It’s very important you express to your managers you want To grow in the Industry and show it so they keep you in mind when new positions open up with in the company or cross train you, if they hire someone else instead to fill in those positions don’t give up! Learn from the new hires and share what you already know, stay positive and humble because you will never stop learning in the food service industry.

Mical recommends the following next steps:

Find a Job in the food service industry
Ask questions about how employees have grow in the company
Work on mastering your new skills
Pay attention To the pros and cons of being a manager
Learn to work with different personalities

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Kenji’s Answer

I would like to add one way to what the others have mentioned. Note that it is useful to have experienced at least for a short time physically performing cleaning duties and serving and cashiering duties as a manager but it is not critical to spend a lot of time at it if there are other paths into junior management.

F & B management is a singular discipline that is "Management" while Executive Chefs and Corporate Chefs must by nature of the craft have developed the other Culinary Discipline to some level of mastery. That being said there are hospitality management schools. While touring the various areas of hotel kitchens "on the job" I noticed with some interest that many hospitality school grads were picked up as assistant managers. Most had experienced a semester internship minimally but were basically school kids.

These well educated assistant managers often struggled to manage and compete with senior service people due to the unfamiliarity with the details of the jobs under their oversight. The reason they get the junior manager job over the senior service supervisor often looking for similar jobs is the advancement curve is higher with the hospitality grad. They have trainings which become highly applicable towards senior manager levels not so apparent when they first enter as goofy young junior managers. IF the survive the first bit and get to outlet manager then they FB directors start to use them a lot to assist with their duties for which they have already been trained -- budgeting and policy development usually.

So point is school in the area of Food and Beverage Service Management moving towards Senior management is indeed useful way to miss the bottom up part of achieving the goal.

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Tylor’s Answer

Becoming a food service manager really depends on three factors:

1. Experience and knowledge in the field.
2. Professionalism and mental maturity
3. Opportunity and timing

I personally went from being an hourly worker to a salary food service manager after 5 years of on the job experience.

Everyone is different though, and it can be anywhere from 5-10 years depending on the above factors. My best advice, do not rush into anything, take your time to gain the experience and knowledge first, then worry about advancement second. If you do that, you will move up faster then trying to force yourself into a role you’re not prepared for.


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Peter’s Answer

Hi Jerry,

That is a great question! The answer really depends on what avenue of the profession you plan to pursue. i.e. Restaurant, hotel, catering, supermarket, hospital, university etc. The one thing I would say, the harder you work and more dedicated you are to your job, the faster it will happen. If your boss knows that this is what you want as a career, they may take extra time to show you the ropes. Don't be afraid to go in early and stay late and learn on your own time. That will help you learn faster and get your managers attention. I would say in 3-5 years you would be on your way. Remember, it's a ladder you are climbing. The more you know, the higher you can go.

Best of luck! Chef Peter