Food Service Director: Average Salary of a Food Service Director

Published Oct 14, 2009

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Food service directors are responsible for food and beverage preparation in schools, colleges and universities, hospitals, resorts, hotels and other large institutions. They manage large inventories, budgets, staff and occasionally unhappy customers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics projects slow, positive growth for food service directors between 2006 and 2016.

Food Service Director Career Summary

Most food service directors have a bachelor's or master's degree in food science, restaurant and hospitality management or institutional food service management. These degree programs study accounting, business management, business law, food planning and preparation, nutrition and sanitation. Many students participate in supervised internships at local restaurants, hotels, resorts or healthcare facilities.

Food service directors are responsible for understanding and following Food and Drug Administration and Occupational Safety and Health Association guidelines. Each day, food service directors plan menus, manage staff and budgets and oversee the preparation of large quantities of well-balanced meals. Food service directors must alternate between computer and physical work as they oversee their kitchens, buffets or special events.

Food Service Director Career Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS),, projects a five percent growth for food service managers between 2006 and 2016. Industry growth and high managerial turnover account for most of the growth in this industry. The BLS specifies the build-up of new convenience-driven restaurants as one of the primary employers of new food service directors. According to the BLS, the median annual earnings of food service managers in 2006 were $43,020.

Elementary and secondary school food service directors earned a media annual salary of $39,650 while traveler accommodation food service managers who were employed by large facilities or institutions earned $48,890 annually. Many food service directors move within the food service industry to higher paying positions. Some become entrepreneurs and run their own food service business that contracts with healthcare facilities, schools and eldercare facilities. The BLS states that nearly 30% of all new food service positions will be the result of these food service contractors.

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