Kitchen Supervisor/Manager

The Job and What's Involved

A kitchen supervisor/manager is a trained chef, typically with several years' experience, who organises and oversees the work done by a team of chefs and other kitchen staff.

Their main tasks are:

  • Making sure that the food is prepared to a high quality, at the right price and on time.
  • Planning menus, taking into account special dietary requirements.
  • Ordering ingredients and negotiating with suppliers.
  • Keeping control of the budget and increasing profit margins.
  • Deciding what needs to be done and delegating to members of the team.
  • Producing duty rotas.
  • Interviewing, recruiting, training and disciplining staff.
  • Keping computer records on staff, suppliers, food orders and accounts.
  • Ensuring kitchen hygiene and dealing with environmental health inspections.

Kitchen supervisors/managers work with the whole restaurant team - chefs, kitchen assistants and front-of-house staff, and often prepare food as well. They also deal with suppliers of equipment and contractors, such as cleaning companies.

The normal working week is 40 hours, but kitchen supervisors/managers often work early, late or night shifts. Split shifts, overtime, weekend work and working during public holidays are also common. Hours are often more regular when working in industrial catering. Part-time, temporary and seasonal work is often available.

Kitchens are often hot and steamy, and may be rather cramped. They can also be high-pressured and exciting places to work. The job is likely to involve heavy lifting, carrying and standing for long periods.

Kitchen supervisors/managers must wear overalls, aprons and hats to ensure good hygiene and to protect their clothes.

For part of the day, kitchen supervisors/managers may work in an office. They may also attend meetings and go out to visit suppliers.

Starting salaries for a chef de partie, an employee with management responsibilities in one section of a kitchen, may be around £14,000 a year.

Getting Started with this Career Choice

Kitchen supervisors/managers are employed in all parts of the UK. They work in a wide range of organisations, including pubs, hotels, restaurants and the catering departments of offices, factories, schools, colleges, hospitals, ships and rail companies. They may also work at outside events and exhibitions. Some are self-employed.

Jobs are advertised in trade magazines, such as Caterer & Hotelkeeper, in Jobcentre Plus offices, and on specialist recruitment websites. Jobs may also be advertised in the local or national press, and there are many recruitment agencies that specialise in catering jobs.

Education and Training

Most kitchen supervisors/managers start off as kitchen assistants or commis (trainee) chefs. They only become kitchen supervisors/managers after gaining considerable experience.

To start as a kitchen assistant or commis chef, entrants do not need any particular qualifications, although some employers prefer previous kitchen experience or an NVQ/SVQ Level 1 or 2 in a catering subject.

A BTEC Introductory or First Certificate/Diploma in Hospitality, or a GCSE/S grade in food technology, may also be useful. It may be possible to do a Young Apprenticeship in Hospitality.

Higher-level qualifications include:

HNCs/HNDs in subjects such as hospitality management or hotel and catering management. The entry qualifications are usually one A level/two H grades and four GCSE's/S grades (A-C/1-3), or the equivalent.

Degrees or postgraduate qualifications in hospitality or catering. Applicants normally need at least two A levels/three H grades and five GCSE's/S grades (A-C/1-3), or equivalent qualifications.

Some hotels and restaurants run training schemes that can lead to kitchen or catering management.

Apprenticeships and Advanced Apprenticeships provide structured training with an employer. As an apprentice you must be paid at least £95 per week; you may well be paid more. A recent survey found that the average wage for apprentices was £170 a week. Your pay will depend on the sector in which you work, your age, the area where you live and the stage at which you have arrived in the Apprenticeship.

Entry to Employment (e2e) can help to prepare those who are not yet ready for an Apprenticeship. In addition, Young Apprenticeships may be available for 14- to 16-year-olds. More information is available from a Connexions personal adviser or at www.apprenticeships.org.uk.

There are different arrangements for Apprenticeships in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

For further information visit My World of Work www.myworldofwork.co.uk/modernapprenticeships, Careers Wales www.careerswales.com; and for Northern Ireland contact www.careersserviceni.com.

A Few More Exams You Might Need

Training is mainly on the job, although there is a wide variety of further qualifications available for kitchen supervisors/managers.

These include:

  • Management qualifications at levels 2 and 3, offered by the Institute of Hospitality.
  • Vocationally-recognised qualifications at level 3 in hospitality or international cuisine.
  • SVQ Level 3 in Hospitality Supervision or Professional Cookery.
  • Certificates and awards in health and food safety.

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Skills and Personal Qualities Needed

Kitchen supervisors/managers need to:

  • Be well-organised.
  • Have good communication skills.
  • Be energetic.
  • Lead and motivate people.
  • Deal with paperwork and budgets.
  • Take quick decisions.
  • Stay calm under pressure.
  • Juggle several jobs at once.
  • Be assertive with others.
  • Have high standards of hygiene.

Your Long Term Prospects

Kitchen supervisors/managers may go on to manage larger kitchens or become general managers with front-of-house as well as kitchen responsibilities. They can also move into head office management posts with large companies.

Some kitchen supervisors/managers set up their own business, perhaps running their own restaurant or taking on a franchise.

Get Further Information

Institute of Hospitality, Trinity Court,
34 West Street, Sutton, Surrey SM1 1SH
Tel: 020 8661 4900
Website: www.instituteofhospitality.org

People 1st, 2nd Floor, Armstrong House,
38 Market Square, Uxbridge, Middlesex UB8 1LH
Tel: 01895 857000
Website: www.people1st.co.uk

Springboard UK Limited, 3 Denmark Street,
London WC2H 8LP
Tel: 020 7497 8654
Website: www.springboarduk.org.uk

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