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 Hospitality & Restaurant Operations Management 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 Hospitality & Restaurant Operations Management

There is a huge variety of careers in the world of hospitality and restaurant operations 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 hospitality and restaurant operations management, 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 hospitality and restaurant operations management 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

Maria Davenport, Escoffier Chef Instructor“Escoffier Hospitality & Restaurant Operations Management graduates can choose from a variety of hospitality establishments. They can work for restaurants, bars, hotels, catering companies, etc. There are a wide range of options for our students.”
Maria Davenport, Escoffier Chef Instructor, Hospitality & Restaurant Operations Management

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 food and beverage 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 Hospitality Management

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

Education and experience are both valid tracks to success in hospitality management. But education may help future managers to get a head start. Good hospitality and restaurant 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.

Maria Davenport, Escoffier Chef Instructor“A strong educational background can help someone with limited experience become a valued contributor to their employer. They can utilize the skills taught at Escoffier to work their way into a management position.”
Maria Davenport, Escoffier Chef Instructor, Hospitality & Restaurant Operations Management

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 Hospitality & Restaurant Operations Management 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.

Hospitality & Restaurant Operations Management at Escoffier

Escoffier’s Associate of Occupational Studies Degree in Hospitality & Restaurant Operations Management 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.

Maria Davenport, Escoffier Chef Instructor“Our students are taught the financial aspects of running a successful hospitality operation. Being able to apply this knowledge in the workplace will make them valued employees.”
Maria Davenport, Escoffier Chef Instructor, Hospitality & Restaurant Operations Management

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 hospitality and restaurant 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 Hospitality & Restaurant Operations Management 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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