16 Careers in Hospitality Management You Can Pursue

Navigate your career in hospitality management. Start with a degree in Hospitality Restaurant Operations Management to find your ideal path.

The essential guide cover

Take the Culinary Career Survey

We’ve compiled a checklist of all of the essential questions into one handy tool: career options, culinary interest surveys, educational opportunities, and more.

Campus of Interest*
Program of Interest*

Clicking the "Get the Survey Now" button constitutes your express request, and your express written consent, to be contacted by and to receive automated or pre-recorded call, texts, messages and/or emails from via phone, text, and/or emails by Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts at the number(s)/email you provided, regarding furthering your education and enrolling. You understand that these calls, texts, messages and/or emails may be generated using an automated or pre-recorded technology. You are not required to agree to receive automated or pre-recorded calls, texts, messages or emails as a condition of enrolling at Escoffier. You can unsubscribe at any time or request removal of street address, phone number, email address via Escoffier website.

July 23, 2021 6 min read

What do you think of when you hear the word “hospitality”?

Hotels? Restaurants? Maybe resorts?

Those businesses certainly do live within the world of hospitality, but they’re just the beginning. In reality, the world of hospitality is wide-reaching, spanning dozens of careers across a great number of businesses.

Here are some of the possible careers in the world of hospitality management, and how you can get started on your way to one of them.

16 Possible Careers in Hospitality Management

So what do we really mean when we discuss a career in hospitality management? Think about any business centered around creating a welcoming, customer-focused environment for their guests. A food and/or beverage component is usually included, but not always. For example, a small hotel without a bar or room service option would still be included under the hospitality umbrella.

Need some examples? Here are 16 hospitality management careers that you could pursue with a degree in Hospitality & Restaurant Operations Management.

  1. Catering company owner or manager
  2. Banquet manager in a hotel, conference center, or banquet hall
  3. Hotel/resort manager
  4. Bar or nightclub owner or manager
  5. Restaurant owner or manager
  6. Cruise ship or cruise line manager
  7. Airline culinary operations manager or customer service manager
  8. Event planning or management
  9. Food truck owner
  10. Human resources for a restaurant group, hotel, or other hospitality business
  11. Distribution representative or manager for a food or beverage manufacturer
  12. Buyer or manager for food or beverage retailer like Costco, Sam’s Club, or Total Wine
  13. Manager with major food providers for schools, nursing homes, and hospitals like Aramark or Sodexo
  14. Educator at a culinary school
  15. Consultant for hospitality businesses
  16. Sports venue or theme park owner or manager

And this list isn’t even comprehensive. The world of food and hospitality is so much wider than restaurants!

Chef Maria Davenport“The great thing about the Hospitality Industry is that there are so many different career paths our students can choose to take. The path to a Management position may start in the Front of the House or the Back of the House.”
Maria Davenport, Escoffier Chef Instructor, Hospitality & Restaurant Operations Management

Tips for Choosing Your Path

With so many options ahead of you, how do you know which career path is right for you? Here are some tips to help you narrow down your choices.

Write Down What Interests You About Hospitality

What is it that draws you to this field?

Is it helping people to celebrate life’s big moments? Then event planning, catering, or managing a hotel or resort with a honeymoon or anniversary crowd may be good options.

Do you want opportunities to travel? Hospitality management on a cruise ship involves the service of a resort and travel to some of the world’s most beautiful places.

Are you excited about food, but don’t see yourself in the kitchen all day? Owning or managing a restaurant, food truck, or catering company could be a good fit.

Two smiling men in a food truck huevos estrellados

This exercise can help you narrow down your options and find a career that suits your interests.

Think About What Work Environments Sound Appealing

The vibe of a Las Vegas nightclub is wildly different from a wedding venue! And yet, they’re both hospitality businesses.

Are you a night owl extrovert who loves to be in the thick of things? Or do you prefer a more structured work environment that has you at home every evening? There’s a place for both types—and many others—in hospitality management.

A career should play to your strengths. If you’re the sociable type, you may prefer a customer-facing position. If you’re more introverted, you may fare better in an office position that focuses on your employees rather than the customers.

Restaurant manager having a conversation with chef with laptop on table

Try It Out

You’ll never really know what a job is like until you try it. A quick way to do this without making a major commitment is to shadow someone for a few days, or to do an industry externship.

In Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts’ online Hospitality & Restaurant Operations Management program, all students will complete a hands-on industry externship before they graduate with their associate degree. You can use this opportunity to find out what these careers are like and “try it on” to see if it’s a good fit.

If you think you’ve found the organization for you, your externship can be a great way to get your foot in the door. Escoffier Hospitality & Restaurant Operations Management Instructor Maria Davenport says, “The externship class allows students–even those with no prior experience–to get their foot in the door. Once they gain that valuable experience, it is easier for them to determine which path they want to take with their careers.”

That initial externship could lead to bigger and better things down the line!

Where to Start with Your Hospitality Management Career

With so many opportunities ahead of you, you may not know where to start.

An education foothold is critical, especially for those who don’t have 20 years of experience. Hospitality management is management. These positions play a large role in the profitability of the business, and they are very often leadership roles as well.

Chef Maria Davenport“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

An education will also help you to understand your employee’s job descriptions and challenges. This makes for more empathetic and effective managers, and gives graduates tools to help resolve staff issues.

With Escoffier’s online associate degree program in Hospitality & Restaurant Operations Management, students are provided with a foundation for a successful future in hospitality management, in all its many forms. Professionalism and communications, customer service, leadership, and human resources can give students an array of soft skills and management tools. Coursework in menu design, catering and events, beverage service operations, cost control, and facilities operations introduce them to the business side of hospitality.

This bird’s eye view of hospitality and restaurant operations management leaves students prepared for an entry-level management position in any hospitality organization.

And since the program is 100% online (with a hands-on industry externship), students can complete their education while they work full-time, part-time, and still have time for friends and family!

Female student taking notes while looking at computer with earphones

Is Leadership for You?

Some people just know they’re destined to be leaders. Whether they want to open their own restaurant or bar, keep things running smoothly in a boutique hotel, or climb the ranks with a major food and beverage provider like Sodexo, they’re all in hospitality management.

This career is exciting and fulfilling, and now is a great time to get started as the industry rebounds after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gain insight into the industry and start from a place of business knowledge by getting your associate degree in Hospitality & Restaurant Operations Management from Escoffier.

To learn more about online education and hospitality management, try these articles next:

Subscribe to the King of Chefs Blog

Subscribe to the King of Chefs Blog

Get the King of Chefs email newsletter delivered to your inbox weekly. You'll get everything you need to know about culinary & pastry careers, food entrepreneurship, financing your culinary education, and more.