Online Restaurant Management Degrees
Part glamour and part hard work, the culinary industry offers opportunities for savvy, entrepreneurial managers. Managers build guest relationships and oversee the culinary and food service team; engaging, sociable people thrive in this role, reports the Department of Labor's O*Net. Online restaurant management degrees offer business management skills to help managers succeed in the competitive, narrow-margin hospitality sector.
The College Board refers to the restaurant manager as a "foodie in a director's chair." The manager produces the entire dining experience, from the ambiance to food safety to the dessert menu, drawing on culinary arts and business skills. Online restaurant management degrees cover a broad array of topics, with courses such as the following:
- Culinary arts, including food presentation and menu design
- Kitchen and dining room management, including sustainable purchasing and cost control, sanitation and food safety, maitre d' services
- Restaurant business management, including quality control, customer relationship management, strategic planning and marketing, budgeting and accounting
- Event management, food and beverage operations
Restaurant management work settings extend beyond independent restaurants to resorts and hotels, casinos, cruise ships, catering services, convention centers, fast-food chains, and corporate dining facilities.
Restaurant management degrees are generally available at the undergraduate level, with some professional master's programs for advanced study. Managers typically have a two-year or four-year college degree, at the associate or bachelor's level.
- Associate: The associate degree may be completed in 18 months to several years, depending on the student's pace and level of commitment. Associate degree programs emphasize hands-on training, and may require a culinary internship.
- Bachelor of Science: The bachelor's degree offers more extensive general education courses, building core skills in communication, analytical thinking and problem solving. The B.S. in restaurant management emphasizes restaurant business fundamentals over applied culinary training.
- Master of Business Administration: A growing number of colleges offer an MBA with a concentration in restaurant management. This professional degree may be completed online in 18 months to two years, with a focus on advanced business coursework. The MBA program culminates in an independent capstone project, often an applied project at a restaurant.
In addition, many colleges offer professional certificates in restaurant management. These brief programs offer targeted training in particular areas for managers with a degree in another field.
Restaurant management is an applied professional discipline. Many students are already working in the food service industry, so the flexibility of the online learning delivery mode can be helpful. The digital classroom serves as a useful off-hours complement to the restaurant floor, allowing practicing managers to apply what they learn as they build their credentials.
Distance learning can also help students familiarize themselves with technology and digital tools. For example, the DOL's O*Net website lists these types of software commonly used by food service managers:
- Analytical applications with restaurant inventory, recipe and menu programs
- Calendar and scheduling
- Inventory management
- Point of sale (POS) applications
Online degrees in restaurant management can lead to a variety of opportunities within the hospitality industry. In addition to becoming a restaurant manager, graduates may establish careers such as these:
- Catering manager
- Event or convention food service manager
- Cruise food and beverage manager
- Restaurant operations consultant
In upscale restaurants, graduates may take on a specialized management role such as banquet captain or dining room supervisor. Some graduates put their skills toward opening their own restaurant; the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that many food service managers are self-employed.
The Department of Labor includes restaurant managers and restaurant general managers in the data for food service managers. The middle half of food service managers earned a mean annual wage between $38,000 and $61,970 in 2010, according to the BLS.
- Salary: Mean annual wage of $52,220 in 2010, according to the BLS
- Employers: Cruise ships, convention centers, hotels and resorts, casinos, catering services, and more
- Outlook: Good, reports the BLS, despite slower than average growth in the 2008-2018 decade
Online Degree Programs in Restaurant Management
Kaplan University is focused on recognizing the achievements of military and veteran students and offers the flexibility of an online education.
- AAS in Business Administration - Hospitality Management
Helping creative minds bring their ideas to life.
- Culinary Management (BS)
- Food and Beverage Operations (C)