What Can I Do with a Degree in Restaurant Management?

Learn more about what you can do with a degree in restaurant management. Find information on restaurant management careers, job outlook, salary, and recommended schools. View popular accredited online culinary schools that prepare students for careers in restaurant management.


The restaurant industry is one of the largest in America. In general, there are very few individuals who do not, at one time or another, patronize a restaurant. Whether the establishment is a national chain or a small neighborhood bistro, every restaurant needs a good manager to make sure the entire operation runs smoothly. Restaurant managers are responsible for coordinating the different parts of the business: the kitchen, the dining area, customer satisfaction, maintaining equipment, ordering food supplies, hiring and firing employees. A good restaurant manager must be aware of everything that is going on in a restaurant: that the customers are being seated in a timely manner and that any complaints are addressed. They must monitor the kitchen staff to ensure that meals are going out quickly, and that potential delays do not become potential problems. Restaurant managers are responsible for seeing that tables and utensils are sanitary. At the end of the night, the manager is in charge of seeing that the restaurant is cleaned, and will pass health and safety inspections, as well as tallying the day’s receipts and placing orders for the next day. Managers in larger restaurants often work with chefs to create the menu, knowing not only what dishes will be popular, but also that the necessary supplies are ordered in stock.


An individual with a four-year degree in restaurant, hospitality or intuitional food service management may find themselves in a number of different industry positions. Larger restaurants and industrial food service facilities often employ a management team, comprising the general manager, the assistant manager (or managers) and the executive chef. Occasionally, the executive chef serves as the general manager as well. Smaller establishments, such as fast-food restaurants or coffee shops, will have a manager more directly responsible for overseeing routine food preparation. Anyone seeking advancement in a restaurant management career will be well served by qualifying for and obtaining Foodservice Management Professional (FMP) certification. FMP requires coursework, passing grade on a written exam, and achievement of basic industry standards as set out by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. Finally, a willingness to relocate is essential to a successful restaurant manager. Larger corporate restaurants will often promote successful managers to regional supervisory positions or have them oversee the opening of new restaurants.

Industry Salary Info

The average restaurant manager typically earns around $46,000 per year. This ranged from a low of under $29,000 to a high of more than $76,000 for the top ten percent. The vast majority earned somewhere between $36,000 and $60,000. Restaurant managers at McDonald’s, for example, earn about $40,000 per year. This wage is on par with restaurant managers at other fast-food chains, such as Burger King, Applebee’s or Chili’s. On the other hand, an executive chef for the Hyatt hotel chain can earn $69,500, while a food and beverage manager for the same company earns $41,500 annually.

Restaurant managers are usually located in one of four major food-service industries, and their corresponding salaries are: Full-service restaurants, $49,420; limited-service food establishments, $41,320; Special food service industries, $52,680, travel industry, $54,710. Restaurant managers, in addition to annual pay, normally receive free food allowances at work. Some full-service restaurants also offer bonuses to their managers, based on sales performance and customer satisfaction.

Job Outlook

The prospective job growth for restaurant managers in the industry over the next decade is supposed to hover around 5 percent, or much slower than average. The job opportunities that exist should be good ones, as many individuals leave the industry and seek employment elsewhere. Slower than average growth in the food service industry is calculated because the rate of opening new eating establishments is expected to decline, especially when compared with the previous decade. However, new avenues for food service managers will appear in such places as grocery stores and the recreation industry, as those industries seek to expand the availability of quick food. One further area of future job growth for restaurant managers will be in the health care and assisted living facility field. As the aging population of the United States continues to expand, the need to feed growing numbers of the elderly will require competent restaurant managers.

Recommended Schools

Matching School Ads

Turn your passion for food into a career at the Culinary Institute of Virginia.


  • Food Service Management
Locations:  Norfolk

Your creativity is a big part of who you are and where you're going. To take it, and your future, as far as you want, you need an education that's focused on developing your talents and putting you on the path toward the creative career that stirs your imagination.


  • Culinary Management (BS)
Locations:  Durham