December 14, 2020

Any degree in the food world opens up a huge range of career opportunities. The culinary arts can prepare you to work as a cook or start your own restaurant, be a food writer, open a food truck, or develop cookbooks. In pastry arts, you could work toward opening your own bakery, become a patissier, or decorate lavish cakes.

A degree in Food & Beverage Operations can be the first step on just as many career paths as the culinary and pastry programs. Learn about some of these exciting careers, and how an associate’s degree from Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts can help prepare you.

Careers in Food & Beverage Operations

There is a huge variety of careers in the world of food and beverage management. Some roles are customer facing, and some are on the administrative or operations side. Some positions are in small independent operations, while others are with large multinational chains and corporations.

Where do you see yourself?

Restaurant & Bar Careers

This is what most of us think of when we think of F&B Operations, and there are many opportunities here. These positions are often considered the “front lines.” You’ll be working directly with servers, bartenders, and cooks, often doing long-term business planning and managing employees day-to-day. These managers often communicate with customers, too.

Some food and beverage operations careers in this market include:

  • Restaurant or restaurant chain manager
  • Bar or nightclub owner/manager
  • Food truck owner/operator
  • Catering company owner/manager
  • Cafe/coffee shop owner/manager
Restaurant owner in a suit holding a menu

Large Scale Food Operation Careers

Managing a restaurant that seats 100 people is very different from managing a food operation for a 1,000-room hotel or resort!

These businesses have large staffing requirements to meet the needs of thousands of customers at a time. Roles may be customer-facing, like managing the dining room on a cruise ship or running an event venue. They could also be behind-the-scenes. For example, if you were a manager with an airline’s food program, you could work with suppliers, cooks, and the airline, but not directly with airline customers.

Some of these careers include:

  • Hotel or resort manager
  • Banquet hall or event venue manager
  • Airline food services manager
  • Cruise line manager
  • Administration and management at food operations that service schools, workplaces, nursing homes, and hospitals, like Aramark and Sodexo
young male and female worker in apron and female manager at a venue banquet

Support & Education Careers

There’s a host of career opportunities in the food and service industries that provide support and education to staff and managers. These positions are not customer-facing. Instead, they help restaurants and their employees to navigate complicated financial rules or increase their industry knowledge to better serve the end customer.

These careers include:

  • Human resources for hospitality businesses
  • Accounting or bookkeeping
  • Restaurant operations or management training
  • Education or tutoring

Gina Marano, Escoffier Lead Instructor“Catering would be a really good career option for many students. Students who finish [their] Associate’s Degree could also work for banquets, small independent restaurants inside of hotels, cruise lines, or an airline….Students may decide they also enjoy the training standpoint. There are just so many different career options!”
Gina Marano, Escoffier Food & Beverage Operations Lead Instructor

Distribution Careers

Restaurants and other food operations work with a network of distributors and suppliers to get everything they need. These business-to-business (B2B) companies may require extensive product knowledge in their niche, like beer or wine. They may also provide wholesale F&B products to retailers like liquor stores or grocery stores.

For some positions, further training may be helpful, like a sommelier certification.

Some possible careers in distribution:

  • Food and beverage distributors, like Sysco
  • Beverage distribution management, like Molson Coors Beverage Company or Republic National Distributing
  • Beverage retailers, like Total Wine
  • Grocery or wholesale club management, like Sam’s or Costco

Getting Started in Food & Beverage Operations

As you can see, there’s a huge variety of food and beverage operations careers! But how to break into the industry?

Education and experience are both valid tracks to success in F&B operations. But education may help future managers to get a head start. Good F&B managers will need to understand financial statements and purchasing, human resources and the “why” of human behavior, and business and professional communications. While many of these skills can be learned on the job, a dedicated education may help entry-level managers to be more effective leaders.

Gina Marano, Escoffier Lead Instructor“I think the key for students to advance their career is to take any opportunity that presents itself and see what can come of it. There are so many interesting opportunities that are available now, ways to be innovative in the industry, and figure out how to provide food and beverage while observing the different regulations and restrictions.”
Gina Marano, Escoffier Food & Beverage Operations Lead Instructor

Even those who do have industry experience may find that formal education can help them to fill a skills gap or become better communicators. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Gina Marano, Lead Instructor of Escoffier’s Food & Beverage Operations program, said she had seen several experienced industry veterans take this opportunity to “check off that education box.”

Plus, investing in your education proves to potential employers that you have a strong work ethic and are committed to a future in the hospitality or food industry.

Food & Beverage Operations at Escoffier

Escoffier’s Associate of Occupational Studies Degree in Food & Beverage Operations is designed to give students a bird’s eye view of the industry from an employer and operator standpoint.

Completed entirely online with an in-person industry externship, the program prepares students for entry-level management over 60 weeks of coursework.

Female student taking notes while looking at computer with earphones
Some courses cover general business topics, like Business and Professional Communications, Introduction to Psychology in the Workplace, and Leadership and Development — although they’re always focused on the hospitality industry.

Gina Marano, Escoffier Lead Instructor“Education is especially important for folks that don’t have that 20-year industry experience, because they can still understand and be able to make contributions by learning about management in their classes.”
Gina Marano, Escoffier Food & Beverage Operations Lead Instructor

Other coursework is more specialized. Catering and Event Operations helps students understand the organization and planning necessary to tailor an event to meet a client’s needs. Menu Design and Management explores food & beverage menus and design, including price analysis and layout. In Culinary Foundations, students will study some of the kitchen basics, like sanitation and hygiene, seasoning, and fundamental knife skills. While this program is not focused on cooking, these skills will help students to be effective managers of kitchen staff.

After the coursework, students will complete an industry externship in their local areas. Students must secure their own externships at an approved F&B business, but Escoffier’s Career Services department can help with resume writing, interview prep, and may be able to introduce students to some employers, like Sodexo or Omni Hotels & Resorts.

Externs get the opportunity to earn resume-building experience, as well as explore the day-to-day lives of hospitality professionals.

Learn More About Escoffier

A degree in Food & Beverage Operations opens up many doors in your future. This education provides a broad overview of important concepts that can help you no matter which path you choose.

To learn more about an associate’s degree from Escoffier, contact us today!

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