Restaurant Manager Salaries: What Do You Deserve?

The starting salary of a restaurant manager can cover a wide range, based on a candidate’s experience, industry and choice of location.

In the United States, the median salary for a restaurant manager is approximately $48,500, with those in the lowest 10 percent on the scale earning about $30,000 and those in the upper 10 percent making in excess of $65,000 a year. But pay scales vary according to a number of factors:

  • Not surprisingly, those with more experience earn higher salaries. The national average pay scale is based on four or more years’ experience in large-scale businesses.
  • The three cities with the highest restaurant manager salaries are New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. The three states with the highest salaries are consistent: New York, California and Illinois. But salaries are not always the most lucrative in the nation’s largest metropolitan areas. According to the Horizon Hospitality salary matrix, depending on the organization’s annual volume, restaurant managers can earn anything from $38,500 to $98,500.
  • An entry-level restaurant manager in the fast-food industry earns between $20,000 and $25,000 a year. This increases with experience to the $30,000 to $40,000 range.
  • Restaurant managers are not just individuals who oversee the local buffet or steakhouse. Cruise lines, corporate hotel chains and casinos are just a few other industries with job opportunities. These managers earn up to $100,000 a year; the larger the operation and greater the sales volume, the more responsibility and thus, the higher paycheck.

Opportunity for Advancement

The National Restaurant Association reports that 80 percent of all restaurant owners began their careers in crew or other entry-level positions. And while the minimum educational requirement is generally a high-school diploma, a post-secondary degree in food service or hospitality is a plus.

  • The three degrees associated with the highest restaurant-manager salary levels are a BA psychology, a BS in restaurant or food service management, and a BS in business administration.
  • Restaurant manager trainees work with experienced veterans until they acquire the necessary skillset including opening and closing procedures, employee training, and financial management and reporting.

Future Demand

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of 2010, there were 326,000 professionals employed as food service managers, a category that includes restaurant managers. This number is forecast to increase by approximately three percent by 2020.

Are you looking for your ideal position in restaurant management? To help define and pursue the one that best meets your career goals and lifestyle, we’re here to help. If you are looking for a restaurant recruiter, contact Horizon Hospitality today.


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