Food and Beverage Professional: Skills and Career Paths
Deb Ward / FEBRUARY 22 2021

What does a Food and Beverage Manager do? You are responsible for the operations of a restaurant, ensuring all food and drink is of the highest quality. Typical duties include:

  • Develop a relationship with regular customers
  • Design attractive menus
  • Order food for the kitchen, maintain inventory
  • Follow all safety and sanitation requirements
  • Create restaurant policies and a budget for food and drink
  • Hire and train new staff, create shift schedules
  • Handle complaints and solve problems

To be successful in this role, you typically need to have at least 4 years of experience and a college degree is typically preferred (Bachelor of Science in Restaurant and Hospitality Management), or certification (FMP: Food Service Management Professional), but not necessary. The basic skills required are:

  • Great organizational skills
  • Ability to estimate and forecast food requirements
  • Have a customer-service mindset
  • Have a deep understanding of the food industry
  • Ability to delegate tasks efficiently
  • Good communication and strong leadership skills
  • Strong reporting skills for the owners

Steps to move up into this role include:

  • Get industry experience. Choose an entry-level food and beverage service position such as waiter, line cook, host, or food preparer. Learn and excel at those skills and you’ll earn promotions.
  • Consider a college degree which is often preferred in a management role.
  • Get a certification from the National Restaurant Association. 
  • Once you’ve had some experience, if you’re having trouble moving into management at your current job, you may need to move on to find a new job in order to move up.

Soft Skills that will help you move up in the ranks. Focus on these qualities:

  • Be people-oriented- in fine-dining restaurants, the manager is expected to walk the floor and talk w/ the patrons. They should also be able to communicate with all levels of employees and ensure they’re working efficiently.
  • Have a business focus- learn to effectively price menu items and use food in a way that minimizes waste. Consider portion sizes and ingredients and train staff to work quickly to handle high volumes of customers
  • Be a strong administrator- prepare each day to ensure the restaurant is ready to go when it opens and all ingredients are available and fresh. Set employee tasks and schedules and handle payroll.
  • Be honest- understand that the owner is entrusting you with the policies, profits, and supplies. Any dishonesty is the quickest way to lose that trust.
  • Be willing to learn- you’ll always be learning on the job. Stay up to date on safety and sanitation requirements/certifications. Demonstrate leadership by focusing on employee satisfaction and retention.
  • Be willing to work flexible hours- holidays and weekends are peak times in most restaurants. In management, you’ll need to be available during those times to manage and assist your staff.

Possible related career paths include; Bartender, which doesn’t require any formal education. Lodging Managers also have the responsibility of ensuring customer satisfaction and oversee the daily operations of their property. Chefs and head cooks are also related positions. They manage kitchen staff and oversee food preparation.