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Restaurant and Food Services Management


Restaurant and food services management programs prepare people to plan, market, and run restaurants and other food services.

Restaurant and food services management programs include topics such as:

Restaurant and food services management may be offered as a focus in a hospitality or hotel management program.


In restaurant and food services management programs, students may be able to specialize in:


Many community colleges and two-year schools offer associate degree programs in restaurant and food services management. An associate degree program usually takes two years of full-time study.

Many colleges and universities offer bachelor's degrees in restaurant and food services management. A bachelor's degree usually takes about four years of full-time study.

Very few universities offer graduate degrees in restaurant and food services management. A master's degree typically requires two years of study beyond a bachelor's degree. Doctoral (PhD) degree programs usually require two or more years of study beyond the master's degree.

See schools that offer this program.

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Program Admission

Proprietary schools, colleges, and universities all offer this program. If you want to study at a proprietary school, you can prepare for this program of study by completing your high school diploma or getting a GED. If you want to study at a college or university, you can prepare for this program by taking the following courses: four years of English, three years of math, three years of social studies, and two years of science. Some colleges also require two years of a second language.

A personal interview and related work or volunteer experience may be required as well.

Below is a list of high school courses that will help prepare you for this program of study:

Graduate Admissions

Admission to graduate programs is competitive. You need a bachelor's degree and good grades. You also need to submit letters of recommendation and a personal statement.

Your bachelor's degree should be in restaurant and food services management or in a related field such as business administration or culinary arts.

If you want to apply to a doctoral program, you may need a master's degree. In that case, your bachelor's degree does not have to be in any particular field as long as your master's degree is related to this program of study.

Additional requirements at many schools include:

Typical Course Work

Program Courses

In this undergraduate program, you typically take courses such as the following:

Graduate Program Courses

Course work in graduate programs varies. However, the outline of a typical graduate curriculum looks like the following:

Most programs, both undergraduate and graduate, require you to complete an externship or practicum. This is a hands-on opportunity to apply what you've learned in the classroom to real-life restaurant and food services settings.

You gain exposure to different management styles and situations that you might not experience in a textbook. You also benefit from the guidance and direct supervision of an experienced restaurant and food services manager or administrator.

In some cases, an extended practicum takes the place of the master's thesis.

Things to Know

You are expected to purchase your own cooking equipment for your culinary course work.

Every state has different regulations on food handling. Check with your local health department for the specific requirements in your area. You may need to get a food handler's permit before you can start working.


King-Snohomish Area

Washington State University - Pullman (Everett)

Spokane Area

Spokane Community College

Statewide and Distance Learning

Washington State University - Global Campus

Tacoma Area

Clover Park Technical College