Foodservice Managers Will Benefit From Project Management And Leadership Training

In order to become successful in the foodservice management industry, it is important to know how to plan, direct and coordinate the organization's activities. Managers must possess strong project management and leadership skills. As an enterprising career, the role of a foodservice manager frequently involves planning and executing projects. These occupational responsibilities can entail leading people and making many decisions. Managers are often faced with taking risks and dealing with problematic situations. Foodservice managers have a lot on their plates, so to speak.

In addition to these skills, it is essential for the foodservice management to understand and monitor compliance with health and fire regulations. These regulations are set in place to ensure that proper food preparation and service is carried out. Management must also understand the importance of properly maintaining facility premises. For example, one of New York State's laws requires that foods that need refrigeration must be cooled so that every part of the product is reduced from 120 degrees Fahrenheit to 70 degrees Fahrenheit within two hours, and from 70 degrees Fahrenheit to 45 degrees Fahrenheit within four additional hours. The reasoning behind this law is that bacteria, which cause food poisoning, grow at temperatures between 45 degrees Fahrenheit and 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

Food service managers must be familiar with these laws in order to prevent fines, or even worse, to prevent lawsuits from customers who might be victims of food poisoning or other incidents that can result from negligence. In addition to ensuring that food is stored in a safe manner, managers must also take into consideration the appropriate preparation methods, portion sizes, and garnishing of food. With the growing obesity epidemic, more and more customers take into consideration portion sizes and the nutritional value of the food they consume. In 2008, The New York City Board of Health voted to require all city chain restaurants to post calorie data on their menus. Managers must implement proper project management and leadership plans to accommodate these changes.

In order to successfully manage a dining establishment, there are many tasks involved, both small and large. Aside from meeting health code requirements, managers must count money and manage finances, investigate and resolve customer complaints, organize and coordinate employee schedules, maintain inventory levels, and establish standards for customer service, among other duties. Additionally, they must coordinate activities between kitchen, dining room and banquet operations. Managers can make the restaurant their "project" in the sense that they get to make decisions regarding décor, menu selections, and staff dress code. A manager's day begins with opening the doors, turning on all the lights and checking messages from the night before, and often does not end until the restaurant closes. With a work schedule of ten to eighteen-hour days, six or seven days per week, those who undertake a career in foodservice management must endure a capacity for exhaustion.

Managers are in a position of leadership and ultimately determine the success of their restaurant. Through accurate project management and leadership expertise, foodservice managers can make any establishment successful. Although this career choice can seem overwhelming and stressful, between requirements and deadlines, foodservice management proves to be a very rewarding career for many people.

David Shoemaker is Vice President of Learning Solutions and Innovation at eCornell. For more information on foodservice management, project management and leadership, or eCornell, please visit

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