Shift Leader

Average Shift Leader Salary Nationwide


Overview and Basic Information


If you like to manage other people, a shift leader job might be a great fit. Shift leaders mostly work in fast food or other quick service restaurants and direct employees when a manager isn’t on duty. They also act as quality control to make sure customers are having a great experience.

Food service shift leaders make sure their team members are correctly doing everything they’re supposed to:

  • Prepping food

  • Stocking supplies

  • Greeting and serving customers

  • Managing payments and the cash register

  • Cleaning tables and kitchen areas

  • Setting tables

Shift leaders report directly to an assistant manager or managers.

Example shift leader job description

Our restaurant is looking for a shift leader to manage business operations and employee teams during their scheduled hours. Shift leader duties include managing money, resolving guest and employee conflicts and making sure all the equipment is in top shape. Ultimately, it’s the shift leader’s responsibility to ensure every aspect of their shift runs smoothly and efficiently. If you like to lead people, are committed to high-quality service, and have restaurant experience, let’s talk!

Typical duties include:

  • Providing instruction and constructive feedback to your team during their shifts

  • Scheduling and assigning work tasks

  • Managing requests for time off and handling last-minute call-outs

  • Training and coaching new team members

  • Inspecting equipment and communicating any necessary repairs to the assistant manager

  • Checking cash register drawers and preparing bank deposits

  • Ensuring team members adhere to health and safety guidelines

  • Addressing customer and employee complaints

  • Resolving conflicts between coworkers

  • Maintaining a positive work environment


  • One year of previous shift leader experience or other manager role

  • At least 18 years old

  • Knowledge of the restaurant industry strongly preferred

  • Understanding of health and safety regulations

  • Commitment to exceptional customer service

  • Work well in a team environment

  • Leadership skills and ability to make quick decisions

  • Strong problem-solving skills

  • Ability to stand for long periods

  • High school diploma is preferred

  • Good references

Common questions about shift leader jobs

How much does a shift leader make?

According to Payscale, food service shift leaders make a median hourly income of $9.99 per hour, or $18,130 a year. Food service shift leaders usually make the upper end of the average pay.

What are the education requirements?

Shift leader jobs usually don’t require a high school diploma. Most training is done on the job and includes food handling and safety training. It’s important to have leadership experience from previous jobs.

Career paths for shift leaders

If you’re really good at being a shift manager, there’s a good chance you’ll be promoted to assistant manager. From there, you can climb the ladder to location manager, franchise operator and then franchise or restaurant owner.

The future of shift leaders

Employment of all food and beverage workers is projected to grow 14% from 2016-26, faster than the average for all occupations. Job prospects in most restaurants are predicted to be excellent due to high turnover.

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