How to Choose the Right Service Management Specialization for You

By admin

server with drinks

Hardly a day goes by when the average American doesn’t seek the help of some member of the service industry. Every time you fill up at the gas station, buy your morning coffee, shop for a new outfit, or dash off to a fast food restaurant for lunch, you are interacting with the service industry. Overseeing it all are service managers who work behind the scenes to make sure your daily experiences are as seamless as possible.

To break into the service management field, it can be helpful to possess a related degree such as the Bachelor of Arts in Service Management offered at the Forbes School of Business at Ashford University. The degree program covers the vital topics of running any organization, including human resources, accounting, business law, marketing, and service operations. But one of the key features of the degree is that students are required to select a specialization that focuses specifically on one of four major areas of service management: retail management, restaurant enterprise management, non-profit enterprise, and hospitality enterprise. Which one of these specializations will be the best fit for your career aspirations?

Retail Management

It’s no secret that Americans love to shop. The National Retail Federation reports that there are 3.7 million retail establishments in the United States. This figure includes stores that sell everything from auto parts to furniture, apparel, electronics, sporting goods, and just about anything else you can imagine. All of those businesses employ approximately 42 million workers and add a whopping $2.6 trillion to the country’s gross domestic product. In order to keep those cash registers ringing, retail managers must create a positive shopping experience for customers. Ashford’s Retail Management specialization covers vital skills like advertising, pricing, merchandising, staffing, customer service, and store layout.

Restaurant Enterprise Management

Similarly, the restaurant business is another massive industry with unique concerns. Since it involves the basic human need of nourishment, food service is heavily regulated and scrutinized. As such, Ashford’s Restaurant Enterprise Management specialization places an emphasis on issues like sanitation, food safety, and menu planning, in addition to operational topics like budgeting, staffing, and purchasing. This knowledge will help students stand out in an industry that encompasses more than one million restaurants that will generate an estimated $782 billion in sales in 2016, according to the National Restaurant Association.

Hospitality Enterprise

The hospitality industry also serves to meet a basic human need – the need for shelter. This industry strives to provide travelers with a home away from home and it includes everything from the best luxury resorts to more modest motels and travel lodges. The American Hotel & Lodging Association reports there are more than 52,000 hotels in the United States. Those establishments combined for $163 billion in sales in 2013. The Hospitality Enterprise specialization covers event planning, food and beverage control, facilities management, ADA compliance, contract negotiations, and labor planning.

Non-Profit Enterprise

If you want to be a manager in any of the industries spotlighted so far in this article, you will be tasked with turning a profit. But the wide world of non-profit organizations offers a far different objective. Money is, of course, important to non-profits too, but these organizations are more concerned with using their resources to make a difference in the world. According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics, there are more than 1.5 million tax-exempt organizations nationwide, including public charities, private foundations, chambers of commerce, and fraternal organizations. The Non-Profit Enterprise specialization includes a financial component, but it also focuses on topics like diversity, communications, staff supervision, leadership, marketing, and community relations.

The service management field is a land of opportunity. It covers millions of businesses nationwide and touches upon numerous industries. If you are passionate about helping people fulfill their needs, service management may be the place for you.


Written by Erik Siwak, Communications Manager for Bridgepoint Education

For more information about on-time completion rates, the median loan debt of students who completed each program, and other important information, please visit


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