In most parts of the country, if you want to open your own restaurant or manage a restaurant you have to be certified in food safety. It's important to have your cooks certified as well, but as a manager you have the added responsibility of planning food safety procedures for your kitchen and monitoring your staff to be sure procedures are followed. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and Conference for Food Protection (CFP) have accredited four programs to provide nationally recognized certification in food safety for managers.
The National Environmental Health Association developed a training program on food safety for managers called the Certified Professional Food Manager course manual. The certification process is administered by testing company Prometric, which offers both training and testing. You can take the test online or at Prometric testing centers across the country, or you can take the pencil-and-paper version at specified locations. The exam is available in English, Spanish, Chinese and Korean.
The National Restaurant Association offers food safety management training as part of its series of ServSafe courses for restaurant staff. You can take the training online through the NRA, or order books or DVDs to study at your own pace. You can also take ServSafe training in a classroom setting from authorized trainers. If you take the classroom training, a proctored exam is usually included as part of the program. Otherwise you can take the exam online.
National Registry of Food Safety Professionals
The National Registry of Food Safety Professionals also provides nationally recognized training and certification for food managers. Its product line includes a guide to food safety management principles, as well as the HealthGuard certification training program for managers and a number of support materials covering employee hygiene, sanitation and related topics. Products are available from the NRFSP's website, and you can take your certification exam at any Pearson Vue test center.
The fourth nationally recognized manager training course is part of the Learn2Serve series offered by 360Training. The Food Protection Manager Certification program and exam are available online through the Learn2Serve website. Depending on your state's regulations, there might be limitations on how long you can take to finish the program and its exam. The company can tell you what time restrictions apply to your state if you call its technical support line.
Fred Decker is a trained chef and certified food-safety trainer. Decker wrote for the Saint John, New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal, and has been published in Canada's Hospitality and Foodservice magazine. He's held positions selling computers, insurance and mutual funds, and was educated at Memorial University of Newfoundland and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.