OysterLink Job Platform Launching Sept. 2024
The OysterLink Job Platform is Launching September 2024

Director of Restaurant Operations Salary in 2024: A Comprehensive Guide

How Much Does a Director of Restaurant Operations Make in the United States?

The average base salary for a Director of Restaurant Operations in the United States in 2024 is a month or $102,697 per year, according to the most recent data averaged from Glassdoor, ZipRecruiter and Talent.com.

Average Director of Restaurant Operations Base Salary:
What can I earn as a Director of Restaurant Operations?Your salary is 0 the US national average
$49.37
$49.37
49.37

The average wage for a Director of Restaurant Operations is per hour or $2,053.94 a week.

Directors of Restaurant Operations are generally exempt from overtime pay and minimum wage regulations, as they are considered “executive employees” under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Executive employees are those who earn a weekly salary of at least $684 and whose primary role is managing either an entire enterprise or a department or subdivision within the enterprise.

Given these considerations, it is advisable to inquire about the compensation structure of the company you intend to work for to maximize your earnings as a Director of Restaurant Operations.

Annual Mean Wage of Directors of Restaurant Operations by State

[Calculated using ZipRecruiter, Salary.com and Indeed data]

This map is interactive. Hover your mouse over different parts of the map to see detailed data. 

The annual earnings of Directors of Restaurant Operations vary across different states due to several factors.

For example, in states like New York and Connecticut that have higher costs of living, Directors of Restaurant Operations are more likely to receive higher pay to keep up with those costs.

In contrast, Directors of Restaurant Operations might earn relatively lower salaries in states with lower costs of living, such as Oklahoma and West Virginia.

They may also receive competitive salaries in states or districts with reputable tourism industries, such as the District of Columbia and Hawaii.

Are Director of Restaurant Operations salaries keeping up with living costs in your area?

Factors That Affect Average Director of Restaurant Operations Salary

Besides geographic location and living costs, other factors that influence the average Director of Restaurant Operations salary are:

Industry Experience

Directors of Restaurant Operations who have more years of experience — especially in particular types of establishments — may command higher salaries.

For instance, someone applying to be a Director of Restaurant Operations for a high-volume, luxury hotel and has prior managerial experience in a similar setting may receive a larger offer.

Education & Qualifications

Directors of Restaurant Operations with formal education and/or training in hospitality, food service management, business administration, culinary arts or a similar field have higher chances of earning competitive salaries.

Similarly, those who have obtained certifications or completed workshops relevant to restaurant operations may also have more advantage, as these showcase one’s qualifications and industry expertise.

Company Size, Type and Budget

The scale and type of restaurant operations can also impact Director of Restaurant Operations salary levels.

For example, a Director of Restaurant Operations working for a nationwide restaurant chain is likely to earn more than one who works in an independently owned, single-location restaurant.

director of restaurant operations salary factors

Additionally, companies with better financial health are likely to have higher budget allocations for salaries of high-level employees such as a Director of Restaurant Operations.

Scope of Responsibilities

In conjunction with the previously mentioned factor, Directors of Restaurant Operations who oversee larger teams and/or more locations may also have better room to negotiate higher pay.

Employers tend to place more value on Directors of Restaurant Operations with the ability to take on a heavier workload, particularly in establishments with higher standards or more complex operations.

Negotiation Skills

Given the level of their role, Directors of Restaurant Operations can negotiate higher salaries in various stages, from the hiring process to performance reviews.

Directors of Restaurant Operations play a crucial role in the success of an establishment or company. As such, employers may be willing to offer higher pay candidates who have effectively proven their skills, experience and contributions.

Director of Restaurant Operations Salary in Major US Cities

Miami

Annual mean wage

$102,694

# of employees

26,480

New York City

Annual mean wage

$110,220

# of employees

15,230

Chicago

Annual mean wage

$101,125

# of employees

18,080

Los Angeles

Annual mean wage

$109,566

# of employees

50,900

[Calculated using Glassdoor, ZipRecruiter and Talent.com data]

High-Paying Cities for Directors of Restaurant Operations

CityAvg SalaryAvg Hourly Wage
NYC, NY110,22052.99
Miami, FL102,69449.37
Chicago, IL101,12548.62
Los Angeles, CA109,56652.68

Director of Restaurant Operations Average Salary by State

Directors of Restaurant Operations in New York, Wyoming and Connecticut have the highest average salaries. Meanwhile, those in Arkansas, West Virginia and Oklahoma generally earn the lowest.

Explore the table below for the average Director of Restaurant Operations salaries in the 50 states plus the District of Columbia.

StateAvg. Salary
New York$109,286
Wyoming$105,224
Connecticut$104,387
Vermont$104,288
Georgia$101,851
District of Columbia$100,954
Hawaii$97,784
Alaska$97,095
Washington$96,404
Rhode Island$95,485
California$95,024
New Jersey$94,837
Massachusetts$93,461
Delaware$92,938
New Hampshire$92,824
Maryland$92,135
Nevada$91,468
Colorado$91,182
Oregon$90,649
Pennsylvania$89,614
Minnesota$89,592
Arizona$88,908
Illinois$88,694
Indiana$87,436
Mississippi$87,222
North Dakota$87,089
Texas$87,071
Wisconsin$86,910
Ohio$86,800
Virginia$86,498
Montana$86,341
Maine$86,261
Nebraska$85,836
North Carolina$84,837
Iowa$84,383
Kansas$83,682
Alabama$83,618
Utah$83,325
Missouri$82,922
Michigan$82,517
South Dakota$82,356
New Mexico$82,107
Kentucky$82,041
Louisiana$81,419
Tennessee$81,044
South Carolina$80,447
Idaho$80,330
Florida$79,861
Oklahoma$78,454
West Virginia$77,367
Arkansas$74,986

Non-Monetary Benefits and Perks for Directors of Restaurant Operations

Aside from salary, both employers and candidates factor non-monetary benefits and perks into the overall compensation package. These benefits and perks are designed to boost job satisfaction, foster work-life balance and promote professional growth.

Paid time off, health insurance, employee assistance programs and 401(k) plans are among the most common non-monetary compensation for full-time employees of various roles in the U.S. hospitality industry.

However, higher-level employees like Directors of Restaurant Operations are more likely to be offered these additional benefits and perks:

  • Performance-based bonuses: Bonuses tied to team or individual performance metrics incentivize Directors of Restaurant Operations to deliver exceptional results that further contribute to the restaurant’s success. These metrics may include operational efficiency goals, revenue targets or customer satisfaction scores.
  • Profit-sharing or equity programs: These typically involve giving Directors of Restaurant Operations a share of the company’s profits or ownership in the business. They would then benefit directly from the company or establishment’s financial success.
  • Company car or transportation allowance: These are especially applicable to Directors of Restaurant Operations who travel between establishment locations or business meetings. In most cases, they are also provided a secured parking space.
  • Relocation assistance: This may be offered to attract top talent from outside the local area or to facilitate the relocation of a current Director of Restaurant Operations to a new location.
  • Professional development opportunities: Directors of Restaurant Operations may receive reimbursement for professional certifications or access to leadership training programs. Additionally, the company may send them as a representative at industry conferences.
  • Education assistance: Some companies offer education support to Directors of Restaurant Operations. These may come in the form of tuition reimbursement, student loan assistance or subsidized access to courses from partner educational institutions.
  • Flexible work schedule or arrangement: Directors of Restaurant Operations may be allowed more control over their schedules through flexible work hours or even the option to work remotely on certain days.

What is the best tactic to get a pay raise?

Given that Directors of Restaurant Operations are exempt from minimum wage regulations, it’s important to remember that the benefits and perks might directly affect their base salary.

Top 5 Skills Needed for Directors of Restaurant Operations

To excel in their role, Directors of Restaurant Operations must develop and hone a diverse skill set that covers operational expertise and effective leadership qualities.

Below are the top five skills that a Director of Restaurant Operations needs to thrive in their career and help lead the company or establishment toward success.

1. Strategic Planning

This includes identifying opportunities for improvement, setting urgent priorities and long-term objectives and developing plans to achieve these. A Director of Restaurant Operation also analyzes market trends, assesses the competition and utilizes insights to strategically position the establishment for continual profitability and growth.

2. Decision-Making Skills

Similar to strategic planning, these are important for effective leadership. Directors of Restaurant Operations must be decisive and use critical thinking to make decisions that benefit the entire establishment or company.

That said, they should also be able to anticipate possible outcomes while navigating risks and uncertainties.

3. Operations Management

Directors of Restaurant Operations must have expertise in all aspects of restaurant operations — from financial management and inventory control to menu development, health and safety compliance and customer service.

Below is a video explaining the various aspects of restaurant operations.

Additionally, Directors of Restaurant Operations should constantly monitor and improve the company’s processes to ensure smooth operations and provide exceptional dining experiences for guests.

4. Computer Skills

Proficiency in various software and tools is essential in effectively managing multiple aspects of restaurant operations.

These typically include point-of-sale (POS) systems, restaurant management software and data analysis tools like spreadsheets — all of which help Directors of Restaurant Operations stay organized and on top of their tasks.

5. Relationship Building

Directors of Restaurant Operations must establish and maintain strong work relationships not only with their own staff but also with suppliers, partner organizations, customers and those in top management.

Relationship building involves proper communication, active listening and effective collaboration to achieve common goals. It may also involve negotiation skills and conflict resolution whenever necessary.

Education & Training Requirements for Directors of Restaurant Operations

Given that Directors of Restaurant Operations play a crucial, high-level role in the hospitality industry, they often need a mix of formal education and extensive on-the-job training.

The key education and training requirements for this role include:

  • High school diploma or equivalent: This is the minimum level of educational attainment to be a Director of Restaurant Operations, as it shows that a candidate has fundamental literacy and mathematical and communication skills.
  • Associate’s or bachelor’s degree: Most employers highly prefer Directors of Restaurant Operations with a degree in hospitality management, business administration, culinary arts or a related field. Although not required, having a relevant degree often provides a solid foundation for success in this role.
  • Managerial experience: Given the level of responsibility of a Director of Restaurant Operations, they must have prior experience in a managerial or supervisory role within the hospitality industry. The minimum is typically between three and five years, depending on the employer.
  • Professional certifications: Obtaining certifications from reputable organizations or institutions can give Director of Restaurant Operations candidates a competitive advantage. Not only could certifications enhance their credibility within the hospitality industry, but these also demonstrate their commitment to ongoing learning and professional development — which are important qualities to have as a leader.

Programs and Certifications for Directors of Restaurant Operations

Below are some reputable organizations and institutions with programs and certifications for Directors of Restaurant Operations.

Organization/Institution Certification/Course Description
American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) Certified Food and Beverage Executive A specialized certification for management- or executive-level professionals in F&B or culinary operations
ServSuccess Certified Restaurant Manager Focuses on fundamental skills needed to be an effective Director of Restaurant Operations, such as staff management, marketing strategy, purchasing and cost control
Cornell University (via eCornell) Hospitality Leadership An online certificate program catered to senior-leadership employees; covers organizational strategy and industry trends and includes networking sessions
Università Bocconi (via Coursera) Food & Beverage Management Course An online course with certification ideal for aspiring Directors of Restaurant Operations looking to enhance their food marketing skills
Northwestern University – Kellogg School of Management Operations Strategy Executive Program A three-day, on-site program geared towards senior-level employees in charge of strategy and operations

How Much Do Similar Careers to Directors of Restaurant Operations Get Paid?

On average, Directors of Restaurant Operations make more than other high-level positions within the hospitality industry, like Hotel General Managers, Executive Chefs and Restaurant Consultants.

Labor Laws and Taxes for Directors of Restaurant Operations

As a Director of Restaurant Operations who oversees multiple employees, you need to be aware of the minimum wage, overtime pay and leave policies in your state.

Check out the guides below or view more labor laws:

To easily calculate federal, state and local taxes in your state, use our free Paycheck Calculator.

Director of Restaurant Operations Salary FAQs

It depends on the company or establishment’s policies. However, it’s important to note that employers are not legally mandated to give overtime pay to Directors of Restaurant Operations and other employees considered as “executive employees” under FLSA standards.

Given the level of their position, Directors of Restaurant Operations tend to earn a high salary. For context, the average annual salary for Directors of Restaurant Operations in the U.S. is $102,697.

Although bonuses are typically part of the compensation package for a Director of Restaurant Operations, it still depends on factors such as the company’s policies and financial health.

Yes, there is often room for negotiation when it comes to Director of Restaurant Operations salaries, whether it’s during the hiring process or performance evaluations. This is especially true for those who have strong qualifications, extensive experience and/or unique skills that are highly valued by the employer.

Additionally, there is further room for negotiation based on specific responsibilities of the role. For example, a Director of Restaurant Operations who is in charge of 10 or more locations is often more likely to succeed in negotiating a higher salary compared to one who oversees fewer locations.

The average salary for Directors of Restaurant Operations in the U.S. is $102,697 a year. However, those working in certain major cities may earn significantly higher than the nationwide average.

For instance, the average annual salaries for Directors of Restaurant Operations in New York City and Los Angeles are $110,220 and $109,566, respectively.

Career Advice