*By 2020 the National Restaurant Association expects 1.3 million restaurant jobs to be created across all areas of the industry.*

Cooks and food preparation workers held 3.0 million jobs in 2008. Employment of cooks and food preparation workers is expected to increase by 6 percent over the 2008–18 decade. Job opportunities for cooks and food preparation workers are expected to be good because of high turnover and the need to replace the workers who leave these occupations. ~ Source: bls.gov

Considering a career change to the food service industry – here are some important tips that you must know. And before you enroll in the latest culinary schools or all set to acquire the latest degrees in hospitality – stop – your first step is crucial for a satisfying career change. It is gaining more knowledge about this industry and about yourself through some planned research and analysis. What inspires you, what skills that you have currently can be applied to this career transition and what are the viable options for making a good living in the food service career?

And the first step is identifying whether you a Generalist or a Specialist? Take a few hours to find out which of the following appeals to you the most – acquiring degrees thereafter and changing careers then becomes a well-researched step.


Identifying Skills and Interest

The Generalist

As a generalist you very well be the owner of a restaurants, hotel or resort. or a general manager – the title says it all here! With responsibilities from managing the facility, hiring people, overseeing finances and revenues, supervising staff and much more.. the generalist can have many responsibilities. Also waiters are generalists, they must be aware of the menu, beverage choices, food ingredients, specials and above all serving guests , customers in the best possible way. If you are looking for part-time jobs joining in as a wait staff / hostess / bus person could be some options to explore.

The Specialist

There are perhaps a lot more specialists in the food industry than those I list here, do share in comments below if you can add on to the list here:

  • Chef or Kitchen Manager – get the kitchen staff organized for efficient cooking and perhaps should know how to prepare all dishes that would be on the menu
  • Sommeliers – wine specialists in fine dining restaurants who focus on wine lists.
  • Grill Cook – specialist in grill cooking
  • Baker – baking specialists
  • Bartenders – specialist in the beverage department

Other than BOH ‘in-the-kitchen’ jobs,  there’s always an option on a freelancing career – as a restaurant consultant. Restaurant consultants assist restaurant owners how to run the business efficiently and profitably. Consultants are usually hired for their services – if you have good finance and technical skills with a passion to enter the food industry this could be a viable option.

For more info on various roles in the restaurant you can visit foodservicewarehouse.com. And for more in-depth information on salary structure, growth outlook there’s of course the best target bls.gov.


Researching Job Boards

Your next step is furthering your research on the titles that suit your skill set and passion the most to get a practical idea of what the job truly desires and offers – skill set, salary range, working hours and general demand. Once you are through this step you have a thorough understanding of current job scenario and what the skills that you might want to add to your current portfolio.

Here are a few job boards where you can scan through the job descriptions which often cite the required education, degrees and roles and responsibilities in the food service career.


FOH BOH Career Progression

FOH career plan: greeter –> busser  –> back waiter  –> waiter  –> head waiter / trainer  –> assistant manager  –>  general manager

BOH career plan: dishwasher  –> prep cook  –> pantry cook  –> line cook  –> sauté cook  –> sous chef  –> executive sous chef  –> executive chef


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General Terminology in Food Service Industry

Some terms that you might like to be familiar with when you begin on the quest for a restaurant career, this also can be your starting steps to your new career – to identify where you would want to work and what options are out there other than the restaurant next door.

  • QSR – Quick Service Restaurant
  • FOH BOH – Front of House, Back of House (dining area / kitchen)
  • Fast Casual – A fast casual restaurant is a type of restaurant that does not offer full table service, but promises a higher quality of food and atmosphere than a fast food restaurant. (1)
  • Family Style – Family style restaurants are a type of casual dining restaurants where food is often served on platters and the diners serve themselves. (1)
  • Casual – A casual dining restaurant is a restaurant that serves moderately-priced food in a casual atmosphere. Except for buffet-style restaurants, casual dining restaurants typically provide table service. (1)
  • Fine Dining – Fine dining restaurants are full service restaurants with specific dedicated meal courses. (1)
  • Bistro and brasserie – bistro usually indicates either a fast casual dining restaurant with a European-influenced menu or cafés with a larger menu of food. (1)
  • Bar/Tavern – where people gather to drink alcoholic beverages and be served food. (1)
  • Contracted Food Service – Through the contract service food can be served on-site at your restaurant, café, and cafeteria.
  • Catering – Provide (food and drink), typically at social events and in a professional capacity
  • Hotels / Resorts – Hotels and resorts offer wide range of dining options, from bakeries to bars, fast food and fine dining all options might be available here.


(1)    : (Source: Wikipedia)

(2)    : (Source Start Your Restaurant Career: by Entrepreneur Press)


Have you recently transitioned to a food service career or assist others in doing so? Please do share your thoughts in comments below to help those in transition.