Kitchen Manager Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

Last updated: August 22, 2022

A Kitchen Manager, or Restaurant Manager, is in charge of coordinating and supervising a restaurant’s kitchen staff according to food safety standards. Their duties include hiring, training and scheduling Cooks, performing quality control on food leaving the kitchen and ordering inventory to keep up with demand.

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Kitchen Manager duties and responsibilities

While Kitchen Managers are responsible for a variety of managerial tasks, common duties include:

  • Managing inventory so that all necessary ingredients are stocked for service
  • Hiring new staff and providing training to facilitate quick acclimation
  • Streamlining the kitchen processes to maintain prompt service times
  • Working with the Head Chef to develop and maintain the restaurant menu
  • Setting regular cleaning standards for the kitchen and verifying that staff is maintaining sanitation levels
  • Creating schedules for all kitchen staff
  • Tracking kitchen finances to identify areas of potential waste
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What does a Kitchen Manager do?

Kitchen Managers work at restaurants, catering companies, hotels and other commercial kitchens to deliver consistent, quality meals to customers on time and within budget. Their role is to lead back-of-house staff including Line Cooks, Prep Cooks and Dishwashers before, during and after meal service. Kitchen Managers inspect the kitchen to ensure everything is organized and sanitized appropriately. They take inventory of how much food was sold each week and adjust ingredient orders accordingly. The Kitchen Manager also sources affordable suppliers and sets the price for menu items in conjunction with the restaurant’s General Manager.

Kitchen Manager skills and qualifications

An excellent Kitchen Manager will possess a diverse set of skills. Skills which are important as a Kitchen Manager include:

  • A strong base of culinary knowledge
  • Leadership skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Conflict resolution 
  • Attention to detail
  • Financial understanding 
  • Physical stamina to withstand a full shift potentially on their feet

Kitchen Manager salary expectations

The average salary for a Kitchen Manager is $46,999 per year. Salaries for a Kitchen Manager may vary due to applicant experience, geographical location and size of the hiring restaurant.

Kitchen Manager education and training requirements

The required education for a Kitchen Manager position can vary by restaurant, but a bachelor’s degree in a related field or graduation from a culinary institute are an advantage. Individuals earning a promotion from within may not have an applicable degree, as their experience can prove worthiness for the responsibility.

It is common for new Kitchen Managers to undergo on-the-job training when hired at a new restaurant. Some restaurants may also include outside training programs for management positions that use a combination of classroom learning and practical training exercises. These training programs commonly cover lessons both in general management techniques and restaurant-specific issues.

Kitchen Manager experience requirements

Most Kitchen Managers should have prior experience in the culinary industry. The more relevant the experience is to the restaurant listing the job, the better. An individual with experience at a national chain will likely benefit from that experience more when applying for positions at other national restaurants than at a small business, for example. Many restaurants like to promote from within, with prior experience in either the front or back of house serving as a benefit when applying for the position.

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Frequently asked questions about Kitchen Managers

 

What is the difference between a Kitchen Manager and a Chef?

Kitchen Managers take care of the administrative portion of running a commercial kitchen while Chefs are the ones who actually prepare and produce the food. Kitchen Managers are responsible for the entire kitchen as a unit, while Chefs focus creating recipes and instructing other cooks on how to successfully recreate them. The Kitchen Manager may work closely with the Chef to select ingredients, decide on portion sizes, schedule kitchen staff and keep all workstations clean and tidy. Unlike the Chef, a restaurant’s Kitchen Manager is also involved with the restaurant’s budget and finances.

 

What are the qualities of a good Kitchen Manager?

Good Kitchen Managers are assertive and decisive. They are able to use strong leadership skills and communication to manage strong employee personalities and ensure that they accomplish their work efficiently. Successful Kitchen Managers are highly strategic and analytical, able to assess the most effective way of achieving their goals and organizing the kitchen. They know how to motivate their staff and encourage a team spirit when working through busy and stressful meal services. They are mindful of money and enjoy shopping around or negotiating to get the best price on inventory from restaurant suppliers.

 

What are the daily duties of a Kitchen Manager?

On a typical day, Kitchen Managers are one of the first employees to arrive at a restaurant before opening. They check inventory levels and make note of what food needs to be prepared for the upcoming shift. They communicate with the restaurant owner about their budgetary restrictions and any upcoming events or changes in operations. During meal service, Kitchen Managers may help expedite at the pass, coordinating cooks at various stations to finish their dishes at the same time. They may fill in as cooks during busy times. At the end of the day, the Kitchen Manager helps their staff clean the cooking stations and organize cooking tools for the next shift.

 

What should you look for on a Kitchen Manager's resume?

When hiring a new Kitchen Manager, look for candidates who have previous experience in the food service industry. A combination of experience as a cook and administration skills can make the ideal candidate for kitchen management. Each state has its own certification for safe food handling, so make sure that candidates list their food and beverage licenses on their application.

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