Working in food and beverage management can be a rewarding career choice for individuals who are passionate about the culinary arts, customer service and business management.
You’ll have the opportunity to use your creativity and skills to create memorable dining experiences for customers in a variety of settings, such as restaurants, hotels, and catering companies.
What skills are needed to work in food and beverage management?
To be a successful food and beverage manager, you need to have strong leadership and communication skills, as you’ll be dealing with staff, customers and suppliers. Other important skills include:
- Ability to build and maintain positive relationships.
- Business acumen and ability to make data-driven decisions.
- Experience in budgeting and financial management.
- Familiarity with industry specific software and technology.
- Knowledge of inventory management and cost control.
- Organizational skills to plan, coordinate and supervise food service operations.
- Working knowledge of food service operations, food safety regulations and menu development.
Types of careers in food and beverage management
A career in food and beverage management usually involves overseeing the operations of a restaurant, hotel or other food service establishment. The specific duties vary, but they may include working in an office or kitchen environment. Food and beverage managers may be required to work evenings, weekends and holidays. They may also be responsible for overseeing multiple locations or managing a team of supervisors.
- Food service manager
A food service manager is responsible for the day-to-day operations of a food service establishment, such as a restaurant, cafeteria or catering service. They plan, coordinate and supervise food service operations, and ensure food safety regulations are followed. A food service manager is responsible for hiring, training and managing staff, as well as overseeing the budget and financial management of the establishment. They may also be involved in menu development, pricing, purchasing and inventory management and customer service.
- Restaurant/bar general manager
Restaurant and bar general managers ensure the establishment is in compliance with all local, state and federal regulations, including food safety laws. The general manager is responsible for maintaining overall customer satisfaction, ensuring guests have a great experience and maintaining a profitable business.
- Hotel food and beverage manager
This position is responsible for overseeing the food and beverage operations of a hotel or resort. This includes managing the hotel's restaurants, bars, room service and banquet facilities. Hotel food and beverage managers plan, coordinate and supervise food service operations, manage the budget and work with the hotel's sales and marketing team to promote the hotel's food and beverage services.
Managers need to hire, train and oversee staff, ensuring all employees provide excellent customer service. Hotel food and beverage managers also need to be aware of the trends in the hospitality industry, and implement new ideas and technologies to improve the guest experience and increase profitability.
- Wine and spirits sales representative
Wine and spirits sales representatives are responsible for promoting and selling a company's wine and spirits products to customers such as restaurants, hotels, bars and liquor stores. They work to build relationships with potential customers and maintain existing ones. Wine and spirit representatives attend industry events and tastings to promote their products and stay up to date on industry trends. They may also be responsible for providing training to customers on how to properly store and serve their products.
Wine and spirits sales representatives must be aware of the competition and able to provide a compelling reason for customers to choose their products. They need to have a good understanding of the product and the industry, as well as strong sales and negotiation skills.
Food and beverage management salary and career outlook
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median wage for food service managers was $59,440 per year in 2021. Within that category, the median salaries for specific jobs were:
- Hotel food and beverage managers: $73,650
- Restaurant managers: $58,500.
- Special food service managers: $70,160.
The BLS also reported that this industry is projected to grow 10% from 2021 to 2031.
While these statistics represent all food service managers, in addition to prior work experience, a food and beverage management degree can open opportunities for higher pay and more job positions.
Earn your degree online to start your career in food and beverage management
For those interested in a career as a food and beverage manager, Arizona State University offers an online Bachelor of Arts in business with a concentration in food industry management.
In this ASU Online program, you’ll learn about supply chain management, accounting and other business management topics. By completing food industry management courses, you’ll develop a specialization that’s useful for this industry. You’ll also learn to analyze business performance and potential challenges. By taking courses in finance, strategy, marketing and human resources, graduates can benefit from additional preparation to give them an edge in the food and beverage management field.