As close to a chef as a manager can be. This is a loose description of the role of food and beverage director, a position that requires a wealth of industry experience and knowledge, and no shortage of skill.
But what exactly is a food and beverage director? And how do you become one? Let’s take a look.
The role of a food and beverage director
Food and beverage director jobs come with responsibilities both broad and numerous. You are essentially driving the entire culinary operation of your establishment, be it a hotel, a restaurant or any other food service operation. You craft the dining experience for your guests, and your job is to make it as pleasurable and memorable as possible.
Food and beverage director responsibilities include:
- Creating and maintaining menus
- Overseeing food and beverage purchasing
- Controlling inventory
- Managing food costs
- Upholding quality standards
- Managing staff
- Managing guest interactions
- Office administration duties
- Dealing with vendors
- Addressing issues that lower levels of management are unable to resolve
The skills and abilities required for the job
If you’ve ever worked in food service before, you’ll know exactly how fast-paced an environment it can be – organised chaos is perhaps the best way to describe it.
As such, a food and beverage director must boast excellent interpersonal skills. They must be able to clearly communicate important information efficiently, and must work well under pressure. They must be able to multitask, and be prepared to make difficult and unpopular decisions where necessary.
They can also expect to work long and erratic hours, many of which will be on their feet, so good levels of health and fitness are a non-negotiable.
Food and beverage director career paths
Almost all food and beverage directors begin their journey at low level positions in the hospitality industry. This gives them great insight into the inner workings of an establishment, as well as an understanding of the needs and wants of employees and guests. They then work their way up through the ranks, whether at the one establishment or through a succession, gaining skills and experience along the way.
While food and beverage director education isn’t a must, like any high-paying position, it certainly helps. More important than higher education though is real world experience; food and beverage director interview questions will generally revolve around real situations, and will be best answered by those who have found themselves in those spots before. Most directors will bring extensive experience in the service industry, particularly in lower management positions.
There are a number of food and beverage director qualifications that can help a candidate to do their job better and make their resume more enticing, from certificates to degrees. These are generally in fields such as food and beverage, restaurant or hotel management. In many cases a candidate will currently hold a position as an assistant director of food and beverage, although this is not necessarily a must.
Food and beverage director salary
According to PayScale, the average food and beverage director was paid a salary of a little under $70,000 in 2019. In the first year in the job that salary is likely to be closer to $50,000, but dedication is usually rewarded with increases year on year.
Obviously regional director of food and beverage jobs will generally be lower paid than those in big cities, although the state of Delaware at least is bucking that trend, with data from Chron suggesting that this is where food and beverage directors are paid the most. Openings are most common in populous states with healthy tourism, such as New York, California and Florida.Becoming a food and beverage director demands hard work and commitment, with healthy amounts of study and experience usually required to secure a job, and to be truly successful in it. But if you put in the work, you’ll enjoy a truly exciting and rewarding career in a particularly delicious field.