What Is Hospitality and Restaurant Management?

Running a restaurant is about way more than just dreaming up cool flavor combinations and catchy-sounding menu items. Even if you’ve watched every episode of Chef’s Table, you probably aren’t quite ready for running your own restaurant until you’ve gotten your feet a bit wet in the world of kitchens and hospitality. So much goes into running an eatery of any type and, while menu items are important, so are business savvy, a sense of entrepreneurship, a powerful work ethic, and an eye for design.

How can all these be obtained, though? The good news is that it’s not impossible. Work ethic can be developed, a creative approach to restaurant design can be outsourced, and business know-how can be developed during the course of an online MBA program. If you’re interested in starting a food-based business, you’ll be glad to know that many online MBA programs have specializations that allow MBA graduates to come out with an MBA tailored to their ambitions. Excited? We’re just getting started here.

What is hospitality and restaurant management, anyway?

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The short answer to this question is simple: If you’re a business owner who owns a restaurant (or café, lounge, etc.), you are a restaurant manager. The long answer includes everything that falls under that umbrella. That means everything from hiring and training staff and designing an exciting menu to managing the marketing department and communicating with suppliers. It’s your job to make sure that your business is up to OSHA standards and that you’re maintaining a clean kitchen. It’s also your job to ensure that your guests feel welcome in your space. Maybe this means a particular design element; if your establishment has a specialization when it comes to cuisine, you might take inspiration for the interior design from that specialization.

The fact that all of this is under your purview doesn’t mean that you yourself have to do everything. In fact, outsourcing certain things might be the key to becoming a business leader in your sector.

Should I outsource some things?

Unequivocally, the answer to this is yes. Even with a master’s degree in business administration, even after attending courses at business school with top professors and choosing electives with care, there will always be something you don’t know. Don’t let that stop you! A restaurant branding agency, for example, will have experience with things like ensuring cohesion between the interior design of your space and the overall brand of the business—even in an online format. Your career goals include owning a successful business, which means you don’t want to get mired down in details like choosing brand colors or brand fonts. That’s not to say that brand colors and brand fonts aren’t important—they most certainly are. It’s just that a branding agency will find the right people for that job, while you can busy yourself putting your MBA degree to hard work reviewing business analytics and envisioning new products for your menu.

Do I really need an MBA to run a restaurant?

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Yes and no. That is to say, you don’t need an MBA by law to become a restaurant owner, but it’s probably in your best interest to get one. Especially now that online degrees are so widely available and the online format for coursework is becoming commonplace across the U.S., there’s no reason not to enjoy the many benefits presented by higher education. Sure, there’s the GRE or GMAT, but diligent learners with the right support will be able to get the GRE scores they’re looking for without too much trouble. You never know, your new classmates may be the folks who you end up going into the restaurant business with!