Most people are no stranger to what is involved in restaurant and food service jobs, but what might surprise you is how many different career opportunities there are in the food service industry. While you may instantly think of working the order counter at your local fast food restaurant, there are many other jobs within this field. Many jobs even require a college education, though this isn’t always the case. You can also earn more than minimum wage working in the restaurant or food service industry while the actual salary depends on your job title, where you work, your education, experience, and location.
Types of Food Service Jobs
As expected, there is a large range in available food service and restaurant jobs. You can work for a fast food restaurant as a cook or someone taking orders, you can be a kitchen worker, administrative association, wait staff, greeter, cashier, drive-thru attendant, or restaurant manager. Jobs in the restaurant and food service industry also vary in where you will work, including restaurants, cafes and delis, schools, prison cafeterias, lunch rooms, grocery stores, or public venues.
The type of education you need will vary, depending on the job path you’re on. Many food service jobs, such as being a cashier for a restaurant or a café employee, won’t require any sort of education. On the other hand, if you want to get involved in restaurant management, an associate or bachelor’s in business will be required. Restaurant management degree programs are available at community colleges, four-year colleges, and many trade schools both locally and online. And of course if you want to work as a cook, you should have both cooking experience and some culinary education and training. While education may be preferred for some of the restaurant and career paths, on-the-job training is also probably.
Depending on the type of food service job you want, there are some skills that can be helpful. First of all, you will be dealing with customers often unless you’re working in a back office administrative position or as a cook, so you should be comfortable speaking with others. As a waiter or waitress, you need to be able to speak politely, have excellent verbal communication skills, and be able to take orders. Multi-tasking is absolutely essential in all restaurant and food service jobs. Someone who wants to work in restaurant management will need to be an organized person who can also multi-task, and not only manage all aspects of the restaurant, but employees, and provide customer service as well.
Salary and Job Outlook
The salary for restaurant and service jobs can range from minimum wage to over $40,000 a year depending on your location, job title, training, and experience.