Food service directors are responsible for the overall function of dining services. They plan, organize, direct and manage their departments. They must have in depth knowledge of local and state health and sanitation codes, as well as safety regulations. They ensure that their entire department is in compliance with those codes and company procedures when handling, preparing and serving food. Additionally, food service directors are responsible for the budget of the food service department. They may also be responsible for purchasing food and supplies. Aside from overseeing and staffing individuals who handle food and service, they also may oversee maintenance, sanitation and inventory within their area.
Food service directors can work in a variety of environments. They can be in banquet halls, hospitals covering patient and employee meals, and cafeterias for primary schools, higher education, or businesses. They communicate daily with the employees they manage and outside vendors, and they may be required to deal with customers as well. This can include patients, students and employees.
Food service directors normally work in an office within the kitchen they manage. They work during the normal business week, Monday through Friday, during normal business hours. However, when problems arise, they are expected to step in and ensure that things run smoothly. As a result, they may have to work outside of those normal hours. Also, in banquet hall environments, hours can vary wildly.
Food service directors typically have a bachelor’s degree in nutrition, dietetics, hospitality, culinary arts, business or a related field; an advanced degree can be preferred by some employers. They usually also have several years of experience in the food service field--the minimum typically being three years. They often have experience in management as well. Food service managers can receive additional certifications, such as Servsafe, to enhance their portfolio.
Food Service Director Tasks
- Oversee, plan and direct the nutrition services program.
- Oversee departmental staff operations, business planning and budget development.
- Oversee inventory, order processing and distribution of products and services.
- Ensure services are in compliance with nutritional, safety, sanitation and quality standards, state and federal regulatory requirements.