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How Much Do Restaurant Managers Make?

Kit Jenkin
29 Apr 2021

Have you been working in the front of house at a restaurant or managing a team of servers for a few years? If so, you’ve had a taste of what it’s like to lead a team, and now you’ve got your eye on a bigger prize: being a restaurant manager. 

But what kind of salary can you expect to make? Here, we’ll discuss all the things that could affect your pay, from education and training to the type of establishment you work in. 

So, how much do restaurant managers make?

The average salary for a restaurant manager in the United States is around $55,425 per year. However, this is an average and shouldn’t be seen as an expected rate of pay. 

Your pay will vary depending on the company you work for, the style of food and service being offered, your duties, and more. 

The lowest 10% of restaurant managers make around $35,000, while the top 10% make around $75,000. There are also positions that pay more or less than these stated figures. 

So, how can you ensure that you make top dollar in your restaurant manager job? One of the things that will most heavily affect your rate of pay is your level of education and training. 


Most people who want to become restaurant managers have worked in food service in one capacity or another for a few years, usually a minimum of 4 years. This is important because it gives you valuable industry experience and an idea of what your niche within the industry requires. 

There are usually no set training requirements to become a restaurant manager, although experience in a team leader role, such as Head Chef or Head Server, is usually beneficial. Any other management role that you’ve had outside of the restaurant industry would also work in your favor.

Many larger restaurant chains offer management courses to internal candidates to help them train in the company’s processes. This could include training in finances, restaurant equipment, hiring practices, computer programs, and menu items. Some companies may pay for you to attend a local community college restaurant management program if you show promise. 

There are also industry certifications in food handling, food sanitation, alcohol service, and management practices that can increase your chances of securing higher pay. You can access certifications like these through organizations like the National Restaurants Association Educational Foundation


While there are usually no formal educational requirements to become a restaurant manager, there are some courses you can take in a variety of subjects that may help boost your pay. 

To become a restaurant manager, you will need at least a high school diploma or a General Education Diploma (GED). According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most employers prefer restaurant managers with some kind of formal education or training in business, management, or restaurant management courses specifically. 

Such courses are offered at local community colleges across the country. These programs offer diplomas, associate degrees, and bachelor degrees. Masters degrees exist but they are mostly taken for corporate roles. 

These courses usually cover subjects like customer service, cost estimation, marketing, sanitation, and recruitment. More advanced courses will teach subjects like facilities management and international cuisine.  

Types of restaurants

The type of establishments you work for will affect your rate of pay. Certain types of foodservice companies pay more than others.

Fast food restaurants

Fast food restaurant managers usually make around $42,000 per year. 

Working as a fast food restaurant manager will usually mean working for a large fast-food chain. As a result, your duties will be fairly well defined, since the operations of these establishments are highly systematized. Your pay will depend on you delivering a consistently high-quality product to the public. 

Casual dining

Casual dining restaurant managers usually make about the average national pay, around $51,000 per year.

Casual dining establishments can include large chains like Applebee’s and Outback Steakhouse and smaller independent restaurants. While the duties and pay of larger chains are more standardized, they are less so in independent restaurants. At these establishments, your pay will largely depend on the clientele you serve, the restaurant’s location, and the establishment’s profit margins. 

Hotel restaurants

Hotel restaurant managers also make a wage closer to the national average, usually around $55,000 per year.

The food service in hotels can include basic services like providing self-service continental breakfasts to more elaborate fine dining offers. Your pay when working for a hotel will largely depend on the type of hotel it is, the clientele it serves, and its reputation. 

For example, the restaurant manager at a Holiday Inn in Kalamazoo, Michigan, will probably be paid less than the restaurant manager at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. 

Fine dining

It’s difficult to average out pay at gourmet dining establishments, but many advertisements for management roles in these establishments often quote salaries of $67,000 and higher. Your salary as a manager of a fine dining restaurant will depend on the establishment’s income, its clientele, reputation, and other factors. 

However, the term ‘fine dining’ is very subjective and can mean different things to different people. It’s very possible that a restaurant manager working in a casual dining restaurant could have a higher salary than one working in a ‘fine dining’ establishment.

Job outlook

According to the BLS, the demand for restaurant managers is expected to grow by about 1% by 2029. This growth is expected to come mostly from the need to replace restaurant managers who leave the field or particular positions. Those candidates with several years’ experience in foodservice management and degrees in hospitality and management will be able to command higher salaries. 

Other factors that affect income

As a restaurant manager, your job is to ensure the smooth functioning of the restaurant’s operations, and that the restaurant continues to see a profit. Of all the challenges in keeping a restaurant open, remaining in profit is probably the most difficult. 

One of the main challenges of retaining good profit margins is the appropriate allocation of resources, whether they be human, financial, or technological. As a manager, whether you’re checking your inventory, hiring new workers, or taking orders, you need a system that can do everything in one place.

Epos Now offers point of sale systems specifically designed for the hospitality industry. With an Epos Now system, you’ll be able to:

  • Synchronize your front & back of house to increase sales and table turnover
  • Integrate with major food delivery apps to reach more customers and drive revenue
  • Access your data 24/7 from any device, to make smarter business decisions
  • Drive repeat business and loyalty via CRM and promotions
  • Accept all types of payments quickly and securely

With everything in one place working as efficiently as possible, you’ll be able to focus on what really matters: delivering the best dining experience for your customers.

Contact Epos Now today to see our products in action.

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