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Food and beverage controllers work in the hospitality industry, where they control the ordering, purchasing and issuing of food and beverage goods. These controllers focus on ensuring hotels, restaurants and cruise ships have sufficient amount of foods and beverages to meet customers’ needs. To join this profession, you must meet the required educational and experience requirements.
Doing the Work
Food and beverage controllers must have strong problem-solving skills to be effective. When a supplier fails to deliver ordered soft drinks on time, for example, the controller needs to provide a suitable solution, such as procuring a day’s drinks from a retailer as he waits on the supplier. Since food and beverage controllers are involved in the purchase of different products, they must possess excellent negotiation skills to negotiate the best prices and deals with vendors. They also need good organizing skills to arrange and maintain records of available stocks effectively.
The primary responsibility of a food and beverage controller is to determine the consumption needs of a business' customers. They use this information to ensure the facility has enough stock of various foods and beverages. For example, when a controller identifies that a certain percentage of passengers on the typical cruise ship prefer beer to wine or soft drinks, she must ensure the ship has enough beer in stock to meet customer demand throughout the journey. Food and beverage controllers also consult with chefs to ensure there is enough food on hand to meet customer needs, but not so much that a large portion of it goes to waste.
Food and beverage controllers must strike a balance between meeting customers’ needs and ensuring their employers remain profitable. As such, they periodically review menu prices to ensure prices are high enough for the company to earn adequate profit margins. Food and beverage controllers also compile the food and beverage department’s financial records and forward them to financial controllers for auditing. In addition, they often conduct market research to identify suppliers with the best prices.
To become a food and beverage controller, you need to earn a bachelor’s degree in food and beverage management or a closely-related field. Some employers may consider individuals with business degrees and some hospitality experience. Vast work experience and advanced qualifications are ideal career progression springboards for food and beverage controllers. For example, food and beverage controllers with at least five years’ experience and a master’s degree in food and beverage management can become food and beverage managers or qualify for food and beverage control jobs at large luxury hotels and resorts.
Based in New York City, Alison Green has been writing professionally on career topics for more than a decade. Her work has appeared in “U.S. News Weekly” magazine, “The Career” magazine and “Human Resources Journal.” Green holds a master's degree in finance from New York University.