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Kitchen Manager Career Guide

Discover the career requirements for Kitchen Managers and understand what it takes to lead a kitchen with our Kitchen Manager career overview guide.

Read on for important info about salary, possible restaurant career paths, the pros and cons of kitchen management and more.

Kitchen Manager Definition

Kitchen Managers, also known as Culinary Managers, Kitchen Supervisors, Kitchen Directors and Culinary Leads, streamline back-of-house operations in restaurants, bars and other establishments.

They train and supervise staff members, make sure all bottlenecks are addressed and collaborate with other departments to keep everything running smoothly.

Kitchen Manager Job Responsibilities

Your responsibilities as a Kitchen Manager can vary depending on your establishment, the number of people you work with and even the food you serve customers.

Kitchen Manager responsibilities

However, Kitchen Managers are usually assigned the following responsibilities:

  • Lead day-to-day back-of-house or kitchen operations
  • Control food and labor costs, minimize waste and prepare monthly budget reports
  • Oversee food preparation and ensure all quality standards are met
  • Manage kitchen staff, including training, hiring and supervision
  • Maintain an organized and clean kitchen
  • Delegate workflow and report any concerns to management or human resources
  • Maintain compliance with health and safety regulations and HACCP processes
  • Maintain kitchen inventory and kitchen equipment

Check out our Kitchen Manager job description for more Kitchen Manager duties and responsibilities.

Requirements to Become a Kitchen Manager

Categorized as Food Service Managers, Kitchen Managers typically require several years of work experience (less than five years) in addition to a high school diploma.

However, keep in mind that 52% of Food Service Managers in the U.S. reported having less than a high school diploma to get their job. This shows that experience is more important than education in the field of food service and kitchen management.

[Source: CareerOneStop]
This chart is interactive. Hover your mouse over different parts of the chart to see detailed data.

 

Top Skills for Kitchen Managers

People in the field of kitchen and restaurant management need to have or develop the following work-related skills to ensure efficient business operations and customer satisfaction.

  • Active listening
  • Customer service
  • Time management
  • Critical thinking
  • Resource management

Know how to incorporate your skills in your next Kitchen Manager job interview with our Kitchen Manager interview guide.

Kitchen Manager Salary Expectations

As per Indeed, Salary.com and ZipRecruiter, Kitchen Managers earn an average of $56,460 per year or $4,705 per month, making it one of the best-paying restaurant jobs in the U.S.

The mean annual wage for Kitchen Managers in the U.S. has been on the rise, increasing by almost 19% since 2020.

Year Annual mean wage
2020 $47,759
2021 $47,472
2022 $52,692
2023 $56,640

For more information on Kitchen Manager salaries, head to our article on Kitchen Manager salary trends.

Career Trajectory for Kitchen Managers

Once you become a Kitchen Manager, there are still many ways you can climb the hospitality ladder.

  1. Work different stations: Try your hand at various cooking stations like sauté, grill or pastry. This will give you a better understanding of the whole kitchen operations.
  2. Get certified: Take advanced courses and earn certifications like Kitchen Manager Certification or Food Safety Manager Certification. These will make you stand out among other Kitchen Managers.
  3. Aim for higher positions: Positions like Sous Chef, Executive Chef and Restaurant Manager are typically considered higher-level than Kitchen manager given the wider scope of responsibilities. Once you gain enough experience and expertise, moving to these roles will most likely give you higher pay.
  4. Lead projects: Volunteer to lead special projects, like creating a new seasonal menu, improving kitchen efficiency or managing a big catering event. Successfully handling these projects can show you’re ready for a bigger role.
Example Kitchen Management Career Paths

Discover some ways to advance your career and get higher pay below. Make sure to research the positions in our hospitality career overview articles.

Kitchen Manager
Kitchen Manager
Avg Salary $ 56,460
Sous Chef
Avg Salary $ 56,013
Executive Chef
Avg Salary $ 80,040
Culinary Director
Avg Salary $ 95,106
Kitchen Manager
Avg Salary $ 56,460
Restaurant Manager
Avg Salary $ 69,580
Restaurant Consultant
Avg Salary $ 81,376
Director of Restaurant Operations
Avg Salary $ 102,697

Quiz: Are You Ready for Kitchen Management?

Take our free quiz to check whether you’re a fit for the Kitchen Manager role.

Results

Congratulations! 

Based on your quiz results, you would be an ideal candidate for the Kitchen Manager position. Your skills and preferences align well with the job’s demands.

Embrace this opportunity and consider gaining hands-on experience by applying for Kitchen Manager Jobs.

Remember to visit our Kitchen Manager Job Description page as a refresher before applying.

Cheers to a promising future in the hospitality industry!

There’s great potential!

While your results indicate that you may need to develop more skills to be an effective Kitchen Manager, there’s great potential for you to excel with dedication and effort.

You can start by visiting our Kitchen Manager Job Description page to learn more about what this role entails.

#1. Do you have experience with coordinating kitchen staff and managing food preparation schedules?

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#2. How would you describe your familiarity with various kitchen management techniques, such as inventory control and staff scheduling?

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#3. Describe your familiarity with kitchen equipment, such as commercial stoves, slicers or food processors?

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#4. How many years of experience do you have with ordering and managing kitchen supplies?

Next

#5. Are you dedicated to maintaining high-quality food standards, even during peak hours?

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#6. Are you familiar with food safety regulations and best practices in kitchen management?

Next

#7. How do you feel about the early morning hours and long shifts in a kitchen environment?

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#8. Do you enjoy working in a fast-paced and sometimes high-stress kitchen environment?

Next

#9. How do you handle criticism and feedback from senior management or restaurant owners regarding kitchen operations?

Next

#10. Are you comfortable with the physical demands of the job, including standing for long periods and lifting heavy items?

Finish

Pros and Cons of Kitchen Management

Although kitchen management can be a rewarding experience, it comes with its set of challenges. Check out the pros and cons below.

Pros

  • Hands-on work
  • Creative freedom
  • Team leadership
  • Competitive salary

Cons

  • Stressful and strenuous workload
  • High-pressure situations
  • Long and irregular hours

See What Kitchen Management Professionals Have to Say

Testimonial by Chef Olivia Binn Ostrow

Read the complete interview with Chef Olivia here.

Kitchen Manager Career FAQ

Check below for quick answers to some frequently asked questions in kitchen management.

Yes, the demand for Kitchen Managers is expected to be steady in the U.S. in the next 10 years.

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, there are projected to be about 39,600 yearly openings for Food Service Managers, including Kitchen Managers.

These Kitchen Manager jobs typically become available after workers resign, switch careers or retire.

Candidates with strong organizational skills, experience in menu planning and knowledge of cost control are likely to find many job openings for which they can apply.

Kitchen Managers monitor food preparation and ensure adherence to sanitation and safety standards. They also maintain kitchen inventory and manage kitchen staff.

Kitchen Managers play a critical role in cost control by monitoring kitchen inventory, minimizing waste, optimizing food orders and effectively managing labor costs.

They implement efficient operational processes, negotiate with suppliers for better pricing and ensure portion control to maximize profitability while maintaining quality standards.