How to Become a Front of House Manager: A Step-by-Step Guide

Have you ever wondered what it takes to become a front of house (FOH) manager at a restaurant, hotel, or other hospitality business? As someone who coordinates daily operations, oversees customer service, and leads the front-of-house staff, the FOH manager plays a critical role in ensuring guests have a positive experience.

If you’re interested in pursuing a management role in the hospitality industry, you’re in the right place. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the step-by-step process of becoming an FOH manager.

Get an Entry-Level Job in Hospitality

The first step is relatively straightforward – get experience working in a restaurant, hotel, or other hospitality business Common entry-level roles include

  • Host/Hostess
  • Waiter/Waitress
  • Bartender
  • Busser
  • Food Runner

Ideally try to get a position at a full-service restaurant or upscale hotel. These establishments typically have large FOH staffs allowing you to get exposure to various front-of-house roles. Avoid fast food or quick service restaurants, as these won’t provide the breadth of experience needed to become a manager.

When interviewing, emphasize any prior customer service experience you may have. Detail-orientation, organization, teamwork, and communication skills are major assets as well. Some hospitality experience is preferred for FOH roles, so highlight any jobs in restaurants, hotels, resorts, cruises, clubs or other service industries.

Once hired, focus on providing excellent customer service. Pay attention to how the operation runs and ask questions when appropriate. Learn the menu and drinks offerings thoroughly. Build relationships with the FOH staff, kitchen team, and management. Soak up as much knowledge as possible to prepare for an eventual leadership role.

Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

While not always required, earning a bachelor’s degree can help provide the skills needed to become an effective FOH manager. Fields like hospitality, restaurant, or hotel management are ideal choices. However, degrees in business administration, communications, marketing, and human resources development can also be applicable.

Look for programs that offer courses in operations management, hospitality law, customer service psychology, accounting, and human resources. Hands-on learning through internships is highly valuable as well. Some colleges even operate student-run restaurants, hotels, or resorts on campus.

A degree demonstrates dedication and shows you have critical thinking, leadership, and business acumen skills. Many hospitality companies specifically seek out graduates when hiring for management roles.

Gain Leadership Experience

In addition to education, actual leadership experience goes a long way when trying to become an FOH manager. Start taking on supervisory duties in your current role after being at a company for 6-12 months.

For example, volunteer to train new hires if you stand out as an top performer. Offer to oversee large events or coordinate staffing for busy weekends. Ask to shadow or assist your direct supervisor to learn managerial responsibilities.

Promotions to lead server, assistant manager, or shift leader will also help develop the skills needed for management. Master the basics of creating schedules, resolving conflicts, driving sales, and ensuring seamless operations.

Building leadership experience shows you’re ready to handle the complexities of managing an entire FOH operation. It also helps you discover if you truly enjoy overseeing and motivating a team.

Secure a Management Position

At some point in your hospitality career, you’ll likely want to make the jump from employee to management. To become an FOH manager, you typically need 2-5 years of experience in the industry. The exact timeline varies based on factors like your education level and the size/type of establishment.

Larger hotels and resorts sometimes have assistant FOH manager or FOH supervisor positions to transition staffers into leadership roles. These provide training while allowing you to prove yourself before becoming the head FOH manager.

At smaller businesses, you may need to proactively ask about promotion opportunities or express interest in management. Hard work, commitment and leadership skills will need to be demonstrated before most companies will offer a management role.

When pitching yourself, emphasize strengths in customer service, staff oversight, problem solving, and remaining calm under pressure. Provide examples of initiatives or programs you spearheaded and the positive outcomes achieved. Share your ultimate career goals and convey your passion for the hospitality industry.

With perseverance and patience, you can turn an entry-level hospitality position into an FOH management role within a few years.

Apply for FOH Manager Positions

Once you have management experience under your belt, you’ll be ready to start applying for official FOH manager positions at various establishments.

  • Search online job boards like Indeed, LinkedIn, and Glassdoor to find openings.
  • Look at hospitality industry associations like the National Restaurant Association or American Hotel & Lodging Association, which post job listings.
  • Check the websites of local restaurants, hotels, and resorts directly to see if they have any FOH openings.
  • Network with managers at hospitality businesses you frequent to get word of any unposted opportunities.

When applying, customize your resume and cover letter to highlight your most relevant management experience and passion for the industry. Prepare responses that demonstrate competence leading teams, overseeing operations, and dealing with challenges.

During interviews, ask insightful questions about daily responsibilities, staff oversight, and performance metrics. Share success stories of how your actions drove sales, improved customer satisfaction, resolved issues, etc. Convey your management philosophy and how you create a positive work culture.

With the right combination of education, experience, and interview skills, you can land an FOH manager job at an exciting hospitality business.

Keys to Success as an FOH Manager

Becoming an FOH manager is just the first step. Excelling in the role and advancing your career requires:

  • Communication skills – You’ll need to correspond effectively with everyone from customers to executives.

  • Decision making – Be able to act decisively in difficult situations.

  • Composure – Stay calm under pressure during busy rushes or conflicts.

  • Leadership – Motivate your team while setting clear expectations.

  • Proactivity – Identify issues before they become major problems.

  • Business acumen – Understand financial reports and metrics tied to operational success.

  • Innovation – Continuously brainstorm new initiatives to improve operations and the customer experience.

  • Delegation – Trust your team to handle tasks while you focus on higher priorities.

With dedication and hard work, a job that starts as a FOH manager can turn into a rewarding long-term hospitality career. You may advance to positions like general manager, director of restaurant operations, vice president of guest services, or other senior-level roles.

Start Your Journey to Becoming a FOH Manager

Becoming a successful FOH manager allows you to combine your passion for hospitality with business and leadership skills. It’s a challenging yet rewarding role for individuals with the right competencies and determination.

Use this guide to chart your path from entry-level staffer to FOH manager. With the right education, experience, and interview skills, you’ll be ready to thrive in an operations career you love!

how to become foh manager

The job of front of house manager after a formation

The role of a front of house manager is to supervise and co-ordinate the entire front of house team. He ensures the client receives a warm welcome and that service runs smoothly. He may also be involved in recruiting his team and carrying out administrative tasks.

Front of house manager: the tasks

  • Managing the front of house team

In their management role, the front of house manager is responsible for the whole front of house team (waiters, commis, maîtres d’hôtel, head waiters, sommeliers…). He organizes the work, schedules working hours, and ensures that hygiene and safety rules are adhered to.

  • Ensuring the restaurant is profitable

The front of house manager is also responsible for making sure the restaurant is profitable, in line with the objectives set by the management team. He is in charge of orders, stock removal, managing suppliers and cash registers.

  • Ensuring the customer receives the warmest possible welcome

The front of house manager is also responsible for ensuring the customer receives the warmest possible welcome. They do this by monitoring the way in which each member of the front of house team works but may also welcome customers in person, give advice and converse with them to ensure that everything is going well. Depending on the establishment in which they work, the front of house manager may need to make joint decisions with the restaurant manager, specifically with regard to the recruitment of the front of house team, choice of decoration, negotiating a group rate for prices etc.

How to be a good restaurant manager

How do I become a FOH manager?

Most FOH management positions require candidates to have at least a high school diploma or a GED, while others may require an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree in food science, restaurant management, hospitality or a related field. Having at least an associate degree may allow you to access more opportunities and increase your skill set.

What does FOH mean in hospitality?

FOH Manager stands for Front of House Manager. This is a position in the hospitality industry, typically found at restaurants, hotels, and other service venues. What Is Front of House Manager?

What does a FOH manager do?

In this video, we follow Ronnie, a restaurant owner and manager in Sacramento, California. Watch as he shows a day in his life, including his work hours, work environment and job duties. A FOH manager, or front-of-house manager, is a foodservice professional who oversees all staff working in the front-of-house in a restaurant.

What makes a good FOH manager?

Your FOH manager is a people-person, able to negotiate your employees and your customers with equal grace. You want this person to have great organizational and leadership skills with a talent for conflict resolution on both the employee side and the customer relations side. The FOH manager is vital to the continued success of your restaurant.

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