An interest in a culinary career may lead you to an interest in institutional food service management. Managers hold a very important place in the running of restaurants and kitchens in all sorts of institutions. Gaining a degree and experience in food service management could help you to land a job running a kitchen in a college or hospital cafeteria, a hotel restaurant, a chain restaurant, or other kinds of establishments that are in need of skilled management.

Types of Degrees That Help Prepare You For Food Service Management

If you’re interested in going to school to learn the skills needed to become a food service manager, there are different types of degrees you might consider. Some people enter the field with a two year associate’s degree while others complete a four year bachelor’s degree. Sometimes the degrees you will find are called institutional management degrees, while sometimes you may need to search for management and food services coursework within a wider degree such as hospitality, or food and nutrition. What type of degree you pursue may depend on what you can find in your area and it may also depend on the setting in which you ultimately hope to work. For example, if you really hope to eventually work as a hotel food services manager, then pursuing a hospitality degree with food service specialization may be your smartest route. If you are more interested in working in a hospital setting, then you might want to find a degree that focuses on dietetics and nutrition and look for courses within that overall topic that will teach you management skills.

Resource: Top 10 Online Associate Degrees in Hospitality Management 2016-2017

What Institutional Managers Do

Those management skills are important because anyone who runs the food service for a sizeable establishment needs to be skilled in supervising workers, choosing what types of food to include in a given kind of institution, and knowing how to oversee the preparation of a lot of food. While some managers focus on oversight and don’t do the day to day cooking, many managers are skilled cooks themselves. Some of the management issues that someone in food service may come across could include budgetary or financial decisions. In some establishments, the same person who manages food services may actually own the restaurant. Learning how to deal with customers as well as cooks and other workers can be a big part of becoming an efficient and effective institutional food service manager.

If this is a career you’re interested in early, it can’t hurt (and will probably help) to gain experience working in a restaurant or volunteering with a food service organization. Some of the degrees you will likely work toward could also involve internships that will help you to gain valuable experience. While it’s not necessarily an easy career, it can be a satisfying one, especially if you find it enjoyable to find ways to present healthy foods and a good dining experience to people in different sorts of establishments. While there is not huge growth expected, the job outlook from the Bureau of Labor Statistics does expect about average growth in institutional food service management over the next several years.