Are You Ready for Restaurant Management School?
If you're serious about a restaurant manager career, the clearest path to your goal involves a combination of work experience and education.
Both of these will help you gain some of the tools you'll need for restaurant management careers; however, by themselves, neither experience nor education can fully prepare you for success.
Preparation Through Education
Many employers prefer job candidates that have some formal training in restaurant management or a related field. While some employers place a higher value on education than others, having your degree will definitely open doors for a restaurant manager career by offering the following plusses:
- A restaurant management degree prepares you to make smart business decisions
- You'll develop the skills to help you manage employees, create a financial plan and think strategically about your restaurant business
- You may gain culinary arts skills and knowledge that will give you a broader picture of what it takes to run a restaurant—good preparation for wearing the many hats a restaurant manager must wear
Often, a 2-year associate's degree will give you all the training and skills you'll need to obtain an entry-level restaurant management job. However, a bachelor's degree will expand your knowledge and should give you an advantage in a competitive job market.
If you seek high level positions, such as a regional restaurant manager position with a restaurant chain, or if you think you might want to teach at some point down the road, a master's degree or an MBA could be a great choice for you.
Preparation Through Work Experience
Working in the restaurant industry prepares you for a restaurant management job by giving you practical knowledge of the business. A restaurant manager job candidate who only has academic knowledge will have a steep learning curve when thrown into a living, breathing restaurant environment. Gaining experience in the trenches is always an invaluable asset as you move up the career ladder.
Here are some restaurant jobs that will help you build experience:
- Server – Waiting tables gives you ample opportunity to practice your customer service skills—which will ultimately make you a better restaurant manager. You'll also have a chance to gain a good understanding of what it takes for the front-of-the-house operations to run smoothly.
- Cook or Chef – A kitchen job gives you great perspective on the behind-the-scenes aspects of the restaurant business. When you're ready to move into restaurant management careers, you'll know what the kitchen staff needs to function efficiently.
No matter where you start out in the restaurant industry, your insider perspective will be an asset when you move into an assistant manager or manager position.