Kitchen Manager Certification

At a glance

Learn how certified kitchen managers are an important way to improve food safety in restaurants.

Kitchen manager with equipment and staff members working in the background.

Helping keep food safe

Each year, around 800 outbreaks of foodborne illness occur in the United States and most of these are linked with restaurants. Health departments and the restaurant industry can use kitchen manager certification to improve food safety in restaurants.

Restaurants with managers certified in food safety:

  • are less likely to have foodborne illness outbreaks
  • have better food safety practices
  • have better ratings and fewer critical violations on their inspections

Our findings


Certified kitchen managers are restaurant employees with management responsibility who have passed a test to show knowledge of food safety.

Typically, they do this by taking a food safety course and passing a test from an accredited certification program.

Cost of outbreaks‎

An outbreak costs a restaurant $4,000–$2.2 million. Online certification costs approximately $179 per person. Outbreaks can lead to loss of customers, sales, and reputation; lawsuits and legal fees; negative media coverage; and higher insurance premiums.

About the Food Code

The Food Code is put out by the Food and Drug Administration. It contains science-based guidance to improve food safety in restaurants. States, tribes, localities, and territories can use it as a model for their own restaurant food safety rules.

States that have adopted the Food Code provision on certified kitchen managers have fewer norovirus outbreaks.

The Food Code provision on certified kitchen managers requires restaurants to have a manager certified in food safety.

What to do if your state does not require certification

States can adopt the provision on kitchen manager certification from the most recent FDA Food Code.

Restaurants can require their kitchen managers to be certified in food safety.

Kitchen managers can get certified through an accredited certification program.

Customers can ask to see proof of kitchen manager certification (for example, a certificate) when going out to eat.