A degree in hospitality management can open lots of doors for graduates, including the ability to manage restaurants and oversee various aspects of the broader service industry. As with most management careers, however, a degree is only one of many qualifications that will set professionals up for success in restaurant management and the hospitality field itself. In order to become a leading candidate for a management role in today’s most esteemed restaurants, prospective leaders should make sure that they’ve rounded out their resume with the right combination of education and practical experience.

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Build a Solid History of Restaurant Experience

Candidates who wish to advance into management of a restaurant should be able to show that they can handle more than just the management of their staff. The best person for the job will have experience in all areas of restaurant life, from hosting to serving and even cooking. They’ll understand how important it is to keep customers satisfied, to keep the restaurant clean, and to incorporate high expectations into employee training and supervision.

The best candidates for the job will also be able to show increasingly levels of responsibility during their prior positions in the restaurant or hospitality industries. This means advancing from a server to a shift supervisor, and from a shift supervisor to an assistant manager. Restaurants hiring a manager want to know that they’re hiring someone who not only wants the job, but also has a proven history of being trusted to perform key parts of the job in the past. This lowers how much risk they take on when they hire a new manager to oversee daily operations. It also provides some assurance that the restaurant is in good hands, both financially and in terms of staff satisfaction and turnover.

A Hospitality or Management Degree is the Next Step

In addition to successful work experiences within the restaurant industry, the most successful management candidates will bring at least a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Art degree with them to the interview. Typically, this degree should be in hospitality management, business administration, business management, or another business-related field. Though an undergraduate degree is not the only way to get the job, it’s the best way to show that candidates have learned the nuanced skills required of a successful manager. A degree in these fields also shows a significant commitment to professional development and learning that is valued by hiring managers in the hospitality industry and elsewhere.

Predict and Practice Interview Questions

Hiring managers will narrow down the field of candidates by analyzing the way they answer common interview questions. First, consider the questions that are most likely to be asked. Hiring managers will want to know about previous managerial experience, the nature and rigor of a candidate’s education, the responsibilities associated with previous jobs, and how they’ve handled a number of important and challenging situations in the past. Start thinking of pertinent examples that showcase good decision-making, efficient management, and respected leadership. Good examples will likely lead to good results after the job interview is over.

A Multi-Point Plan Can Help Candidates Achieve a Management Position

Restaurant management requires the right blend of personal experience, higher education, and patient temperament. Candidates who have these qualities can expect to find success as they look to further their career in the industry. With a hospitality management degree along with a strong professional background, management work in the restaurant industry is certainly within reach.