Restaurateurs operate or own restaurants, whether large, elegant ones with specific themes, or small informal diners.  They are responsible for overseeing the efficient running and profitability of their restaurant and for managing their employees.

The process of running a restaurant involves taking reservations, welcoming and assigning patrons to tables that suit the size of their group, offering personal service, ensuring that tables are served promptly and courteously and organising any special service that may be required.  

Other job responsibilities include agreeing and managing budgets, planning menus and ensuring compliance with licensing, hygiene and health and safety legislation / guidelines.  Other critical tasks are promoting and marketing the business, overseeing stock levels, ordering supplies and taking deliveries.  They need to produce staff rotas and handle customer enquiries and complaints.  Important tasks are problem-solving, preparing and presenting staffing / sales reports, keeping statistical and financial records, assessing and improving profitability while setting targets.

They also need to handle administration and paperwork, liaise with customers, employees, suppliers, licensing authorities, sales representatives etc. and make improvements to the running of the business and developing the restaurant.

Restaurateurs must implement methods of avoiding wastage. They attend to various administrative aspects such as recruiting, training and supervising a number of staff members, such as waiters and waitresses, bar tenders, cashiers, chefs or cooks and other kitchen staff. 

The quality of the service rendered and food served by a restaurant determines whether patrons will return and whether or not they will recommend the restaurant to other people.

Important skills fo restaurateurs are excellent customer service skills, commercial awareness, flexibility, good interpersonal skills, communication skills, problem-solving skills, organisational skills and team-work skills.

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.

What to Study

Degree: Food Science - US, Consumer Science - UZ, NWU, UNISA

Diploma: N.Dip: Catering Studies - Vuselela FET, Consumer Sciences - CUT, CPUT, Food & Beverage Management - VUT, CPUT, Hospitality Management - CPUT, CUT, DUT, TUT, VUT.


  • hotels
  • restaurants
  • canteens
  • executive dining rooms
  • hospitals, children’s homes, old age homes
  • airports
  • mining houses
  • government
  • 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/restauran

Further Information

SA Association for Food Science & Technology
Box 4507, Durban, 4000
South Africa
Tel:  (031) 368-8000

Getting Started

  • try to obtain vacation work in a restaurant as a waiter or waitress or assistant chef
  • make an appointment to speak to restaurateurs about this type of career and ask permission to watch them at work

Programmes by Study Institutions

Related Occupations

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