What is the Difference Between Culinary Management and Hospitality Management?
If you want a career in the food and beverage industry, but you want more of the responsibilities and job security that comes from a higher-level position, hospitality management and culinary management are excellent choices. Whenever you enter a hotel, banquet hall, or restaurant, there is usually someone there who is running the show and making the decisions.
These are almost always the culinary manager or hospitality manager.
While these two career options have several similarities, they are actually two different paths with their own set of requirements. And in many cases, the difference begins in culinary school, when you have to decide which degree program is right for you.
What is Culinary Management?
Culinary management deals primarily with restaurant and food management. While the term is often used interchangeably with restaurant management, they aren’t exactly the same things. In a busy restaurant setting, there may be separate managers for the front of the house and administrative tasks (the restaurant manager) and for overseeing the kitchen and maintaining supplies (the culinary manager).
There can be a culinary manager in hotel setting, as well. In many cases, a hotel or inn might include food service for special events and banquets (or for room service). The culinary manager in this setting is therefore the one in charge of overseeing food production and delivery.
What is Hospitality Management?
Hospitality management exists primarily in a hotel, motel, resort, or special event setting. It is a career field that places individuals in charge of staffing, administration, visitor accommodations, and, in some cases, food. These individuals make sure every guest who arrives walks away happy, whether that means a satisfying meal or wedding event, or access to amenities like theme parks, tourist shopping facilities, golf courses, and more.
While a culinary degree can be helpful in some hospitality jobs, particularly those that include banquets or special event coordination, is possible to spend an entire lifetime in the hospitality trade and never come closer to a kitchen than the one in your own home.
Which Field is Right for You?
Both hospitality management and culinary management come with the same level of education (typically a two- to four-year degree), and deal with the same kinds of issues on a day-to-day basis. Salaries are also fairly equal, at between $30,000 and $60,000 per year.
If you want to ensure that you’ll be in the kitchen, even if it’s only in the capacity of a manager, it’s probably best to stick to a culinary management career. If you have more flexibility and are interested in business training in addition to food and beverage service, hospitality management might be a better career choice.