screen Going out to eat is one of America’s favorite past times. Most people enjoy trying a new restaurant or frequenting an old stand-by. Service is key to encouraging the customer to make a return visit. A Manager has everything to do with making the memory positive.

Maybe you’ve waited tables; maybe you’ve worked in a kitchen; all you know is that you have come to love the atmosphere and culture of food. You know you can run an establishment better than anyone, but you need an arsenal of skills to prove it. What are you waiting for? It’s time to get a degree!

Education and Internships

There is nothing wrong with on-the-job training. You know, working for a fast food establishment or even a corporate chain restaurant, moving up from the bottom within one company. Yes, you can learn some fine skills at these places, earn a competitive salary (once you reach management) and even receive a decent health plan. But at some point you need to look into managerial training before you can truly land the career you seek. You have some options here. First we have the community college route; over 800 community colleges or junior colleges offer either a two-year associate degree or a certificate in Food Service Management. Often students intern during the 2 year program in a restaurant or hotel. You may be placed in one of the many corporate chain eateries that grace every city and town. However, interning is not the same as working your way up from fry cook. You are simply hands-on training while you acquire the leadership skills that you will need for the upscale restaurants in your future.

Next, over 150 colleges and universities offer a four-year program in Hotel and Restaurant Management. Graduates will receive a bachelors degree. Now pay attention: you may feel like taking the shorter route, but if you foresee opening your own eatery in the future, a bachelors degree may be more useful. Almost half of your schooling will take place in the business department. You will essentially become an administrator of the Restaurant. You will learn to delegate your staff, make important decisions regarding the financial health of the institution, and learn what is most marketable in this line of work. A bachelors degree also opens the door to get an MBA (Masters of Business Administration) later down the road if you so choose, which will be a big selling point on your resume. With a four year degree (or higher) you will not just learn how to manage a restaurant, you will learn how to manage a business.

Skills

Managing is no easy task. You need a tough skin; you’re dealing with a lot of pressure from both customers and staff alike. An average day could bring inpatient vendors at the back kitchen door with a weeks’ worth of produce, an angry Yelp reviewer to satisfy, and a flaky no-show hostess on your busiest Saturday of the month. With all that drama, you still need to have a great attitude, be positive, and most importantly have excellent communication skills.

Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Restaurant Management jobs will be steady through 2022. Now couple that with a business concentration either at the bachelor or graduate level and you’ve got a solid foundation to go far in the Food Service Management field.