Hotel Restaurant Managers


Education and Training Requirements

High School

The food and beverage department is one of the best places to start in the hotel industry since there are so many positions to fill. Many entry-level food service jobs may lead to better-paying and more responsible positions if the worker shows enough drive and potential.

You can prepare for a career in hotel restaurant management by taking a wide range of classes, especially business, English, and communication courses. Family and consumer science and marketing classes would also be helpful. Other useful classes include accounting, mathematics, and foreign languages.

The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation offers ProStart (, a two-year career-building program for high school students who are interested in careers in culinary arts and food service management. Students gain experience in the field via classes and mentored work experience in foodservice operations. They also have the opportunity to participate in the National ProStart Invitational, a culinary and management competition in which students demonstrate their skills and compete for scholarships. Visit for more information.

Postsecondary Education

Many colleges and universities offer four-year programs leading to a bachelor’s degree in restaurant and hotel management or institutional food service management. Some individuals qualify for management training by earning an associate’s degree or other formal award below the bachelor’s degree level from one of the nearly 1,000 community and junior colleges, technical institutes, or other institutions that offer programs in these fields. Students hired as management trainees by restaurant chains and food service management companies undergo vigorous training programs.

Those interested in working at higher-end restaurants, chains, or opening their own restaurant should earn at least a bachelor’s degree in restaurant management or a related field.

As always, it pays to have the advantage of work experience to back up a solid education. Part-time, seasonal work, and/or an internship in a hotel’s food service department during college will be a definite foot in the door come interview time.

Other Education or Training

The American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute offers a variety of online continuing education courses. The National Restaurant Association offers webinars and other continuing education opportunities for members. Contact these organizations for more information.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

Certification in the hotel food service industry is not mandatory, but it is definitely a recognized and respected achievement. The American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) offers certification programs to all levels of hotel employment, from entry-level positions to upper management. One certification of note for restaurant managers is the certified food and beverage executive credential. The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation offers certified restaurant manager credential to those who meet experience and education requirements and pass an examination that covers the following topics: financial management and performance; purchasing and cost control; finding, hiring, and training employees; managing employee performance; safety and regulations; and marketing planning and evaluation. The International Food Service Executives Association also offers the certified food manager and certified food executive voluntary certification designations. Contact these associations for more information. Many hotels use levels of certification as a pay-scale guide.

High school juniors and seniors who are interested in working in the hospitality industry can take advantage of the AHLEI's Hospitality and Tourism Management Program. The two-year program combines classroom and online learning with work experience in the hospitality industry. Graduating seniors who pass examinations, complete 360 hours of classroom learning, and accrue 100 hours of paid or unpaid work experience at hotels, restaurants, or other tourism industry employers receive the certified hospitality and tourism management professional designation. Visit for more information.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Any volunteer or paid experience working in the food service industry and managing others will be useful for aspiring restaurant and food service managers. Experience in all areas of restaurant and food service work is an important requirement for successful managers. Managers must be familiar with the various operations of the establishment: food preparation, service operations, sanitary regulations, and financial functions.

This is a demanding industry. Being a hotel restaurant manager can be taxing, both physically and mentally. Can you deal with many different types of people in various situations? Can you be a team player yet stay a successful and effective supervisor?

Brush up on your communication skills; you’ll definitely need them for this job. Other important traits for hotel restaurant managers include good business knowledge; poise; self-confidence; good organizational and time management skills; a detail-oriented personality; problem-solving skills; reliability; and a neat and clean appearance.