Food service managers are tasked with the daily operation of productive establishments that prepare meals. Although many receive comprehensive training by attending a vocational school or community college, others, like Bob Schultz, reach success in this field through long-term work experience.
"I started out at the age of 13 as an apprentice meat cutter at my father's butcher shop," said Schultz, managing director at KM Foodservice, Inc., a Los Angeles-based company. "I worked side-by-side with my dad for 14 years. After he retired, I continued my retail butchering for 24 more years, before selling the family business to join one of the nation's largest food service distributors."
How is your hands-on history benefiting others?
"My understanding and experience of the complexity of proteins, including the chef's needs, allow me to provide and suggest proper substitutions that people without my unique background could have difficulty doing. This, in turn, is of great assistance to other food service industry personnel who rely on market-influenced decisions that must be made daily."
What types of business activities do you handle daily?
"Time management is always a challenge. A few more demanding issues that are dealt with daily entail increased demands on products, inventory control, logistical challenges with products being received and identifying and recommending appropriate substitutions."
How should prospective food service managers prepare for solid careers?
"I advise prospects to get some form of culinary education, because food service is based around culinary. One needs to understand what goes on in the day-to-day routine of a food service manager. Just like most colleges, when people attend a culinary program, they find something they want to specialize in. If that happens to be in a food service career, be prepared to encounter a highly demanding, but satisfying lifestyle."
What is your message to aspiring food service managers?
"I encourage endeavoring food service managers to focus on something they have a passion for. It could be the protein category or any number of the many segments within the food service groupings. Some specialties include coffee, produce, beverage, non-foods and chemicals, just to name a few."
Sharon Raiford Bush is an award-winning journalist. Some news articles she has authored are archived by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
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