Careers in Restaurant and Food Services
Chef/Cook, Food Delivery, Host/Hostess, and Waiter/Waitress
Working in a restaurant, for a catering company or for another institute, a career in food services requires a variety of people in different positions. In the restaurant industry the service is usually considered just as important as the food therefore a chef/cook must impress as well as the host/hostess and wait staff. All the various employees work together to provide customers with a positive experience. Restaurants are usually fast paced work places where you will be moving and on your feet for a usual eight hour shift. A chef/cook will be preparing food in a kitchen at a rapid pace, while wait staff will be responsible for relaying orders to the kitchen and then delivering the food to the customer. Host/Hostess greet and seat the customer. Other people in the food service industry work for catering companies or for various institutes (Hospitals, correctional facilities, schools). The work done at catering companies is usually done at large events such as weddings or charity balls. You will be serving uniform meals to a large number of people. Working at one of the various institutes requires preparation of uniform, nutritious meals for a large number of people. There are usually no wait staffs at these institutes. Food services employees are employed by restaurants (usually privately owned), government departments, catering companies, cruise ships, hotels, and bars.
Education and Training
As a chef/cook you will need the greatest amount of training or education within the restaurant industry. Many chefs attend a culinary arts school, while others obtain a diploma from a technical or career school. For many wait staff, bartenders, and host/hostesses the job is learned through on the job training, though there are some short-term courses available usually lasting a maximum of 12 weeks.
Skills and Interests
A career in restaurants/food services requires that you have some interest in the culinary arts. As a chef you will be preparing food for 90% of your time. Wait staff will deal more with the customer and therefore must be friendly, patient, and have strong customer service skills. A good memory is also an asset when taking orders. You must be in fairly good physical condition as you will be on your feet for most of your shift. You will also have to like working as part of a team and working for shift work. Most of the time restaurant or food services positions will not fall into the regular nine to five working day. Restaurant owners must be willing to take some risk due to the uncertainty of the industry and must have some creativity to separate themselves from the competition.
Some wait staff or hostesses only receive minimum wage while some restaurant owners and chefs can make a six-figure salary. Tips are usually added to a wait staff or bar staffs salary to increase their earnings.
Full time Hostess, Bar staff, Wait Staff
$ 25, 000 - $ 45, 000 (Depends on type of restaurant and gratuity received)
$ 35, 000 - $ 125, 000
Other career choices