Hotel Manager

The hotel and catering industry is a dynamic, growing industry that provides enormous challenges due to the wide variety of work and the fact that hotels provide an opportunity to meet people of all nationalities and from all walks of life.

There are various career opportunities in hotel and catering management and food service management:

Hotel management: Hotel managers are responsible for the effective control and coordination of all facets of hotels and their operations. They are responsible for the employment of personnel and must check that they perform their duties effectively. Managers attend to administration, which includes accounting, stock-taking, calculation of expenses and financing, and see to it that the standards of hygiene and quality are maintained in order to assure the health, safety and well-being of the personnel and guests. Hotel managers must be conversant with legislation and regulations concerning the hotel industry, and they are also responsible for marketing the accommodation and catering facilities of the hotel and for operating the establishment to ensure maximum profitability, while providing the best service for the guests.

Hotel managers may manage all departments in smaller hotels. In larger hotels, they would have department heads managing the individual departments of housekeeping, accounting and food services. Deputy managers may be in charge of the catering, front office and rooms division. Food and beverage managers function under the supervision of general managers. In a hotel with conference facilities, managers cater for weddings, meetings and conferences. Hotel managers work in large or small hotels, motels or resorts.

Catering: Caterers, chefs and cooks are key figures in hotel dining rooms and restaurants. They must ensure that the menu and type of service, atmosphere and interior décor of the dining area are consistent. The caterer or cook, in consultation with the manager, decides for whom provision has to be made and plans menu and service accordingly.

The caterer or chef has virtually limitless scope for creativity. Tasks may vary from the preparation of traditional French dishes to take-away foods, from traditional cooking methods to the use of microwaves and freezing facilities in large-scale kitchens. Chefs are also responsible for controlling quality standards, preparing and developing recipes, maintaining high standards of hygiene, food storage and administrative duties.

Food service management: Food service managers are responsible for the coordination and efficient running of contract catering units, executive dining rooms and functions. Their responsibilities include planning menus and ensuring that kitchen teams prepare and present high quality products, on time.

Food service managers should have a sound knowledge of nutrition as well as all facets of business management, which include: budgets, book control, purchasing, storage and recipe development. They are responsible for their staff and for ensuring that clients and customers are satisfied. They also develop new recipes.

Personal Requirements

  • have initiative and be self-disciplined
  • able to get along well with others
  • organisational and problem-solving skills
  • able to communicate ideas clearly in speech and in writing
  • understand accounting procedures
  • good health and stamina
  • diplomatic in handling difficult customers, without becoming harassed ? good business sense ? interested in modern trends and developments in the hotel industry

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

  • National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course
  • National Senior Certificate meeting diploma requirements for a diploma course
Each institution has its own entry requirements.

What to Study

Degree: Tourism Management courses are offered at NMMU, UJ, UZ, Monash, UNISA.

Diploma: Hospitality Management - CPUT, CUT, DUT, TUT, VUT, UJ, UNISA.
Hotel and Restaurant Management - Intec, Rosebank College.

The Prue Leith Hotel school in Centurion, near Pretoria, offers hotel training. The International Hotel School has campuses in Cape Town, Sandton and Durban. The North West Parks & Tourism Board Hotel Schools Division offers courses in Hotel Management. At least two high schools, John Orr Technical in Johannesburg and Pro Arte Alphen Park in Pretoria, offer a “hotel matric”. Both schools offer a hotel keeping and catering course, Grades 8 to 12.
The duration of the N.Dip in one of the above is three years, two years full-time theoretical training and one year. See courses below for further information.

Most TVET colleges run a course in Hospitality, e.g. Tshwane South, Boland, SW Gauteng, False Bay, Umgungundlovu, Vuselela, Maluti, Port Elizabeth, Northlink, Flavius Mareka, South Cape and Elangeni:

  • Hotel management (3 years)
  • Commercial catering and restaurant management
  • IR course for middle management
  • Supervisory course
  • Facilitator’s course


  • hotels and hotel groups
  • motels and motel chains
  • self-employed, for example own a small hotel or a restaurant

Further Information

Tourism Business Council (TBCSA)
3 Amethyst Street, Lyttleton Manor
Corner of Lenchen Avenue
Centurion, Pretoria, 0046
Tel: (012) 664-0120

FEDHASA (South African Hotel Association)
Surrey Circle Office Park, Block D
337 Surrey Avenue
Randburg, 2194
Tel: 0861 333 427

Getting Started

  • speak to a hotel manager about this career
  • try to find vacation work at a hotel or restaurant

Programmes by Study Institutions


Related Occupations

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