When I was "just a waitress", the only career path I could clearly see for myself was to work my way up to be a restaurant manager.
But I didn’t want to be a restaurant manager. What then?
This is part of a series on hospitality industry careers, where I reveal career and job options that you didn’t know about in 11 hospitality industry sectors. Helping you create a career path in the hospitality industry!
The better informed you are about the reality of your career options, the better decisions you are going to make.
My name is Maria and as your host, I am here to help hospitality students and graduates succeed in their careers through industry tips and career advice.
If you prefer to watch a video on this, here it is:
I am going to share with you 3 career options in the restaurant industry that you need to know about! So that you can have more options than just being a restaurant manager.
There are more options than these 3 of course, but let’s start here. And if you have any questions, let me know! email@example.com or @savvyhotelier on Instagram.
Your experience is valuable!
Right now you’re feeling like you’re “just a waitress or waiter” and you have no other skills.
But the truth is, you have more valuable skills and experience than you think, even if you just have restaurant experience and customer service experience.
I’ve now learned how to properly present my skills and experience on my resume. (Check out the video where I amend my old resume!)
Knowing how to sell my skills on my resume changed my life and had I known it back then, oh my, I would have had all the jobs I wanted!
You can get my Resume Template with examples here, so you can get yourself a resume that sells too!
Restaurant industry stats
Unfortunately for the restaurant industry, my new future did not have restaurants in them.
With 74.9% staff turnover in restaurants and 30% of seasonal employees I only contributed to the statistics. (in USA, 2018)
Had I known my career options beyond “restaurant manager” title back then, who knows what kind of career I could have had? And that’s the case for many more people, not just me.
Only 3% of workers in hospitality in the UK (2018) chose hospitality because of career prospects and only 40% believe it is viable to have a long-term career in the sector.
Which is not true! There are so many career opportunities in the hospitality industry!
Which is where I come in, I am going to reveal those secret careers in the restaurant industry you need to know! So you can see the long-term career opportunities in the restaurant sector of the hospitality industry.
Because as I say, the more you know about how the industry works, the better-informed decisions you can make about your own careers!
3 Restaurant jobs you didn't know about
Let’s get to it, I’ve got for you 3 different kinds of roles in the restaurant industry, beyond the “restaurant manager” title.
In restaurant business (and hotels too for that matter) there are two types of people:
1. those that run the operations and
2. those that open them.
That’s because it takes a very different skillset and mindset to open a restaurant than to run it.
Opening a restaurant is like taking care of a newborn baby while you’re learning how to walk yourself.
While running a restaurant is like being a parent to a teenager or an adult - someone that runs itself 80% of the time and requires fine-tuning every now and then.
To become an opening manager full time, you need to start gaining opening experience by joining opening operation teams and get familiar with the “process” and the pace of opening. There is no hard process but you need to know how things work.
It is a highly demanding and fast-paced job that requires a lot from you. You’ve got to know everything from logistics and supply chain, to standards, to hiring, training, menu design etc.
You can be an opening manager at a chain brand, as a freelancer for independent restaurants, or within hotel restaurants specifically.
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A restaurant concept developer creates the restaurant concept for a particular location or cuisine in mind. This works for both independent restaurants as well as hotel restaurants.
What type of food you’ve going to serve, what the price point it is going to have, what the service style and ambience of the restaurant will be are not random decisions (it definitely shouldn’t be!).
As a concept developer, you do exactly that. You identify if the burger place is really the right concept for this location or decide if the Lebanese restaurant should be casual or formal.
You work with the person or company trying to open a restaurant, providing feasibility study and financial modelling to see if the idea is viable and profitable as well as provide consumer research and testing data.
You can become a concept developer from a background as a chef as well as a waiter. How to become one really depends on your creativity and ability to network with people that already do that.