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Manager of Culinary Program

Santa Barbara Zoo

Manager of Culinary Program

Santa Barbara, CA
Full Time
  • Responsibilities

    Immediate opening for an experienced and successful Food or Food & Beverage Operations manager. Must also be passionate about animals, conservation, and be energized by wanting to provide an outstanding guest experience daily!

    This is Full-Time, Regular, Exempt position.

    Schedule is generally Tuesday through Saturday, between hours of 7:00 am to 5:30 as needed, including some holidays. Flexibility in hours and days of work may be required, based on events and business needs

    Compensation: DOE

    SUMMARY: Under the general direction of Director of Business Operations, the Manager of Culinary Program oversees and manages all zoo Food Services & Culinary Program Operations.

    ESSENTIAL DUTIES include the following:

    Daily Operations

    Manages all aspects of Culinary Program staff in all capacities and provides strong leadership to the team in a collaborative manner.

    Manages Culinary Program’s budget to meet fiscal goals. Appraises program’s financial position and issues monthly financial & operating reports.

    Sustains high standards, innovates, ensures compliance, and implements culinary industry trends.

    Creates specialty dishes, develops recipes to be used, and markets those options to guests and staff.

    Reviews menus and analyzes recipes to determine labor and overhead costs, and to assign prices to menu items

    Reviews work procedures and operational problems to determine ways to improve service, performance, and safety.

    Assesses staffing needs and recruits staff, using online advertisements and attendance at job fairs.

    Ensures business continuity by purchasing equipment and supplies as needed.

    Keeps records required by government agencies regarding sanitation or food subsidies.

    Maintains food and equipment inventories, and keeps inventory records organized.

    Investigates and resolves complaints regarding food quality, service, or accommodations.

    Plans menus and food utilization, based on anticipated number of guests, nutritional value, palatability, popularity, and costs.

    Establishes and enforces nutritional standards, based on accepted industry standards.

    Collaborates with all departments to ensure guest satisfaction at all levels.

    Organizes Catering for Special and Private events.

    Routinely checks facility equipment and maintenance needs with support documentation.

    Oversees all cash handling procedures in Culinary Program.

    Estimates food, liquor, wine, and other beverage consumption to anticipate amounts to be purchased or requisitioned.

    Staff Development:

    Organizes and directs Culinary Program’s staff training on use of equipment, safety, goals, standard operating procedures and policies and more.

    Resolves personnel problems (with the help of the Director of Human Resources), hires new staff, and evaluates employee performance.

    Encourages, supports and exemplifies the highest ethical standards to ensure the continued development of the institution and the profession.

    Holds peers accountable for their performance

    Provides staff coaching and feedback on a regular basis.

    Develops and implements individual development plans and ensures their application with regular follow-ups.

    Shares critical information, best practices, and procedures on a consistent basis with staff through meetings that further departmental goals and productivity.

    Responds to staff questions and concerns in a constructive and timely manner.

    Terminates employees within defined practices and policies.

    Guest Relations

    Greets every guest with a smile.

    Thanks guests for supporting/visiting the Zoo.

    Responds to all guest inquiries, complaints, and comments according to Zoo guest relations procedures.

    Maintains composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.


    Adheres to the Zoo’s policies and procedures as outlined in the Employee Policy Manual.

    Attends one-on-one meetings with Director of Guest Experience

    Attends bi-monthly all-employee meetings.


    Answers phone calls, voice mails, and e-mails promptly.

    Ensures the Zoo’s presentation standards for cleanliness and maintenance are met by keeping work areas clean, picking-up trash and micro-trash, reporting unsafe or unsightly conditions.

    Associates with guests to assist and share information.

    Maintains a clean neat appearance and adheres to the Zoo’s uniform dress code.

    Takes responsibility to stay informed about happenings at the Zoo, such as reading employee communications and attending meetings.

    Reflects the qualities outlined in the Guest Relations Statement and the Employee Pledge.

    Other duties as required.


    To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements and environmental characteristics described below are representative of the knowledge, skill, ability, and working and physical elements required of the position. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

    Education and Experience:

    Minimum 2 years experience in Food and Beverage industry.

    Supervisory experience.

    Experience managing successfully a non-corporate food operation a plus

    License, Certification, or Preferred Qualifications:

    Cooking and catering experience preferred.

    Valid California driver’s license with good driving record is desirable.

    State Health Code Certification, Managers ServSafe Certification, ServSafe Alcohol, and ability to re-certify.

    Knowledge, Skills and Ability:

    Excellent verbal and written communications skills.

    Ability to work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

    Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.

    Ability to interact courteously and respectfully with supervisors, fellow employees, volunteers, and guests.

    Ability to understand a Profit and Loss report and make immediate adjustments as needed.

    Ability to provide immediate feedback on a daily basis whenever applicable.

    Must have excellent conflict resolution management skills.

    Strong computer and technology comprehension (Word, Excel, E-mail, Tablets, Modern Point of Sale technology).

    Knowledge of health department food preparation regulations.

    Leads by example and enforces a culture of exercising safe work habits throughout the department.

    Physical Demands & Work Environment:

    Requires the ability to access all areas of the facility.

    Ability to negotiate the zoo work environment including behind-the-scenes, lawns, gravel, and hilltop.

    Ability to perform physical activities that require considerable use of arms and legs and moving the whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.

    Must be able to lift cases in excess of 25 pounds waist high.

    Must be able to participate in all operational practices: includes ability to climb stairs, manipulate tools, stand/walk for up to two continuous hours at a time and throughout shift during events.

    Ability to exert a negligible amount of force frequently or constantly push, pull or otherwise move objects.

    Exposure to hot surfaces and sharp objects.

    Involves working out-of-doors in all weather conditions.

    Supportive and open employment culture.

    Tools Used:

    All Restaurant equipment and food cart equipment

    Point of sale cash register system

    Standard office equipment: telephone, copier, printer, facsimile machine, and calculator

    Personal computer and software (Word, Filemaker Pro, Excel, Outlook)


    Standard kitchen utensils and equipment



    Microwaves and conventional ovens

    Exacto knife

    Electric cart

    This job description is representative of the expectations of the position described. Additional duties, reporting relationships, and/or position criteria may be assigned as deemed necessary by the Chief Executive Officer or authorized representative. No changes to this job description shall be made without written permission by the Chief Executive Officer or authorized representative.

    The Zoo reserves the right to revise this job description at any time. The job description does not constitute a contract for employment, and does not guarantee employment for any specified period of time. The job description does not in any way alter the at-will employment relationship.