How to Become a

Restaurant Manager

The complete career guide to be a Restaurant Manager: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $33,330
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 9.9%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Fast Paced Career
    Career Attribute

Restaurant managers are responsible for overseeing all activities within a restaurant. They manage both front-of-house and back-of-house staff, create employee schedules, and conduct payroll activities. They are also responsible for making sure food is delivered to customers in a timely manner during shifts.

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What is a Restaurant Manager?

The following job responsibilities are common for individuals in restaurant manager roles:

  • Oversee all operations when restaurants are open, ensuring food is prepared correctly and delivered in a timely manner
  • Manage front-of-house and back-of-house staff, create schedules, and record hours for payroll
  • Hire and train new staff members, and conduct reviews and evaluations of employees when needed
  • Place orders for food, drinks, and other needed items, and ensure ordered items are delivered
  • Create checklists and other standards for employees to follow to complete their work correctly

A Day in the Life

Restaurant managers are responsible for overseeing all operations within a dining establishment. They may work in a variety of different types of restaurants, including fast food, cafeteria, and full-service establishments. They manage operations in both the front of the house and the back of the house, ensuring food is prepared properly, delivered on time, and excellent service is provided. When issues arrive during open hours, it’s the manager’s responsibility to resolve the issue and satisfy the guest.

While ensuring exceptional service is one major responsibility of the restaurant manager, managing staff is another major responsibility. Restaurant managers oversee the roles of all employees in the establishment. They hire employees, train them, and fire them when needed. They anticipate the level of business at different times of the week and year, and create staff schedules appropriately. They also create checklists and rules that all employees are expected to follow to complete their work properly.

Another major responsibility of the restaurant manager is to order stock for the restaurant. This may include restocking food, drinks, condiments, napkins, and dishes as needed. The manager determines what stock is needed, records and places the order, and signs off on deliveries stating that all items paid for were received. At the end of shifts, the restaurant manager is usually responsible for closing out all registers, counting and reconciling funds, and taking funds to the bank to deposit the day’s profits.

Typical Work Schedule

Restaurant managers typically work full-time, and they’re often required to work overtime or be on-call to handle emergency staff shortages. The hours worked depend highly on the type of establishment they work for, but day, evening, and weekend shifts are all common, and some may even work overnight shifts if their establishment is open 24 hours a day.

Projected Job Growth

In recent years, dining out has become more popular and common among the general population. This is expected to increase demand for restaurant managers in the coming decade as more restaurants open for business or grow business to a level where one or more managers are needed.

Restaurant Manager Specializations

  • General managers handle more of the administrative responsibilities of a restaurant and typically manage one of more other managers, including chefs and assistant managers.
  • Assistant managers handle fewer administrative responsibilities and are more often responsible for making sure the restaurant runs smoothly when the general manager is not working.
  • Head chefs, sous chefs, and executive chefs are back-of-house managers that oversee all kitchen operations, create recipes for menu items, and ensure food is prepared properly.

Career Progression

  • Early Career: Hostess, Busser, Dishwasher, Cook, Server
  • Mid-Career: Sous Chef, Assistant Manager
  • Late Career: General Manager, Head Chef, Executive Chef

Typical Employers

Most restaurant managers work in restaurants, including both fast food and full-service establishments. Some may also work in catering, and others work in cafeterias at different venues like schools and hospitals.

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How To Become a Restaurant Manager

Many restaurant managers have only a high school diploma. However, to work your way into a restaurant manager position—with or without a college degree—you’ll need to earn many years of professional experience working in restaurants. Most start in entry-level positions like busser, cook, or hostess, and then work their way up the ladder into higher-paying positions like server, bartender, short-order cook, or assistant manager.

The number of years of professional experience required before you’ll qualify for open restaurant manager roles depends on the type of establishment you want to manage. Individuals who want to manage a fast food restaurant may only need a year of professional experience, proven competency, and dedication to the business. Those that work in full-service or fine dining establishments may need to have five years or more of experience before qualifying for promotions into management roles.

Additionally, many upscale restaurants are increasingly preferring that general managers hold a college degree. The degree earned is of less importance—in many cases having a degree is a simple matter of showing you can commit to and complete something that takes time and energy—but degrees in restaurant or hospitality management or from a culinary school are ideal for this line of work. Some individuals choose to pursue associate’s degrees that require only two years of study, and some choose to pursue bachelor’s degrees that require four years of study on average.

Restaurant Manager Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range




High Range


National Hourly Wage

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High Range


How do Restaurant Manager salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Restaurant Manager's can make an average annual salary of $33,330, or $16 per hour. This makes it an Above Average Salary. On the lower end, they can make $23,430 or $11 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #649 Nationally for All Careers

Programs and Degrees

Here are the most common degrees for becoming a Restaurant Manager. a is usually recommended and specifically a degree or coursework that prepares you for the particular field, see below.

Highest Education Among Restaurant Managers

  • 0.4%   Doctorate
  • 1.5%   Masters
  • 12.7%   Bachelors
  • 9%   Associates
  • 28.9%   College
  • 35.6%   High School
  • 12%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Restaurant Manager job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 88,500 jobs for a total of 978,600 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 9.9% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Below Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #201 Nationally for All Careers

What Companies Employ The Most Restaurant Managers

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Full-service restaurants 219,300 13,100 13%
Elementary and secondary schools; local 35,900 200 0%
Special food services 35,800 2,100 2%

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