Food Service Manager

The primary function of food service managers is to manage the process of serving food to a large number of people. They perform a variety of duties.

Their tasks include:

  • planning menus
  • maintaining safety standards and ensuring excellent hygiene
  • managing personnel (recruiting, training and supervising)
  • liaising with the management of the specific organisation for which they work
  • planning floor plans and layout of the food services section
  • liaising with the dietician, for example, in hospitals
Food service managers also motivate large teams of workers to work quickly and efficiently to produce food that is tasty, attractively served and prepared according to high standards of hygiene. Duties of food service managers depend on the sector of the industry in which they are employed, including:
  • Hospitals: modification of menus to suit certain diets
  • Schools: canteens may require recipes to be standardised
  • Restaurants: menu planning, changing and analysing
Responsibilities include setting up supplier relationships and ordering and storing food. Financial control and administration are important in this line of work eg. financial control of the food products and the wages of the kitchen staff.

Another important aspect of the job is the food service manager’s ability to deal with people effectively e.g. handling staff problems and dealing with dissatisfied customers.

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

  • National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course
  • National Senior Certificate meeting diploma requirements for a diploma course
Each institution has its own entry requirements.

Because entry requirements differ from one course to another, the requirements of the specific course in which you are interested should be checked.

What to Study

Degree: BSc Food Science - US, UP, UV.

Diploma: Food Technology, Hospitality Management - CUT, CPUT, TUT, DUT, VUT, UJ and most TVET (Technical Vocational Education and Training) Colleges.

Certificate: TVET Colleges, such as South Cape, KZN Coastal, Boland, Northlink, Ekurhuleni West, SW Gauteng, False Bay, Flavius Mareka, Tshwane South, Cape Town


  • hotels and restaurants
  • canteens
  • hospitals, children’s homes, old age homes
  • airports
  • catering companies
  • large canteen services, via contracts with the government or corporations in the private sector
  • factories that provide frozen prepared meals to companies
  • self-employment, with enough experience, initiative and capital, can start own catering business or start and manage a café or a restaurant

Further Information

SA Association for Food Science & Technology
Tel: (031) 368-8000 Fax: (031) 332-5709

Getting Started

  • try to obtain vacation work in a food catering service company
  • make an appointment to speak to a food service manager about this type of career

Programmes by Study Institutions

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