Is Restaurants a Good Career Path for Graduates

Is Restaurants a Good Career Path for Graduates
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Is Restaurants a Good Career Path for graduates? Restaurants contribute significantly to the tax base, job creation, and vibrancy of local communities.

In other words, the restaurant industry fosters regional job growth, supports local agriculture, and keeps money in the community.

However, they tend to operate on razor-thin margins. This is because, restaurant revenues are highly sensitive to changes in customer service, foot traffic, and the group social atmospheres (Source).

Take, for instance, restaurants were running at the top of their game before the pandemic. However, they were forced to close to all but takeout and delivery when COVID struck. Social distancing orders put many restaurants out of business and some to a halt.

As a result, restaurants lost huge income. In addition, many workers lost their jobs (Reuters). However, With the pandemic eased off in 2022, many restaurants struggle to rebound. But, there is an increase in employment in this field (CNN).

Some of the emerging themes from the post-pandemic restaurant industry are;

  • Emergent technology to increase restaurant sales
  • Changing consumer behavior and dining preferences
  • Desire to stay safe
  • Rise in restaurant sales in 2022
  • Recruitment and retention issues

As you can see, the restaurant industry appears to be an interesting one. We’ll explore it further to see what its career path holds.

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What is Restaurant?

A restaurant is a business place where people pay to sit and eat meals that are cooked and served on the premises.

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Examples Of Restaurants

The restaurant type influences everything about its business. If you’re interested in a restaurant career path, find out which restaurant genres are most popular with customers, profitable for the business bottom line, and your career goals.

That said, the following are top examples of restaurant types;

  • Fast Food Restaurants
  • Casual Dining Restaurant
  • Fast-casual Restaurants
  • Contemporary Casual Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Pizzerias
  • Pop-up Restaurants
  • Ghost Kitchens

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Is Restaurants A Good Career Path for Graduates?

Yes, undoubtedly restaurants are a great career path for anyone. You can get a job here even if you’re still in high school and looking for a little extra money.

There are also professional roles available for those graduates who have spent their entire life training to be the best in the industry.

In addition, restaurant jobs can cover different professions. For instance, you can work in fast food, fine dining, or catering.

You can also work in a private residence, as a barista or a sommelier. So, restaurants have many different niches, and it’s an industry that is always looking for new employees.

According to a CNN report, “Recruitment and retention are top issues. Seven in 10 restaurant operators say they don’t have enough employees and about 50% note that will be a top challenge this year.”

So, you can leverage in on that.

If you’re interested in working in a restaurant, you can find a list of jobs that’ll inspire you to pursue a career in this field.

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Is Restaurants a Good Career Path for Graduates: What are the Benefits of Working in Restaurants?

Variety

While some days may be similar, it is a given that the day-to-day in a restaurant will change frequently.

For instance, you could be serving tables of teenagers one day and a couple on a romantic date, the next day.

Also, as a prep cook, you might find yourself chopping vegetables one night and poaching shrimp the next. So, when you’re in a restaurant, there’s always something new to do.

Fun Working Environment

You can have a lot of fun if you work with a good team. Restaurant crews frequently become friends and look out for one another.

For example, restaurant managers may assist servers, servers may assist one another. Also, hosts ensure that patrons are seated evenly so that servers receive the most tips.

In addition, bussers clear tables quickly so that more customers can be seated. So, many people remember their restaurant team fondly.

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Transferable Experience

You can gain a lot of experience as a server. For instance, serving a part-time job while in school helps you build social skills. It can also help pay the bills before moving on in your career.

Certainly, some people choose to make a great restaurant employee a lifelong career, which is also rewarding. Certainly, you can go anywhere with a restaurant experience.

Being Part of a Team

Working in a restaurant teaches you the value of collaboration. You will gain experience as a member of a team.

Everyone expects you to do your job correctly. You will feel this pressure, and you will realize the value of doing your part as a team member.

The team will move forward smoothly if everyone does their part. Unfortunately, this also means that you may have to take over if someone else is unable to pull their weight. However, this is part of being a team!

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Learn to Deal With Difficult People

Patience is a virtue that you will greatly develop if you work in a restaurant. This is because you will encounter difficult people.

It might be hard to tolerate and deal with them at first. However, as you continue to grow, you’ll learn how to gracefully handle those kinds of people.

You Get to Eat Free Food Sometimes

Who doesn’t love free food? Absolutely no one!  When you work in a restaurant, you are constantly surrounded by delicious-smelling food.

You can sometimes eat some of that delicious food at the house! We all know that free food is the best kind of food. So, working in a restaurant allows you to take advantage of this!

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What are the Job Prospects for Restaurants?

Is Restaurants a Good Career Path for Graduates? Well, research from the National Restaurant Association predicts restaurant sales will continue to rise, forecasting sales of $898 billion in 2022, up from $864 billion in 2019.

However, recruitment and retention are top issues. Seven in 10 restaurant operators say they don’t have enough employees and about 50% note that will be a top challenge in 2022.

Also, the group estimates total industry employment will reach 14.9 million jobs. That’s up just 400,000 from 2021 as job openings remain high and still a million fewer jobs than pre-pandemic levels (Source).

Similarly, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the overall employment of food and beverage serving and related workers will grow by 17 percent from 2020 to 2030. This is much faster than the average for all occupations.

Further, about 1,032,100 openings for food and beverage serving and related workers are projected each year, on average, over the decade.

Finally, many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

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Is Restaurants a Good Career Path for Graduates: How Much Can You Make From Restaurants?

The median hourly wage for food and beverage serving and related workers was $12.49 in May 2021 according to the BLS.

In 2022, restaurant workers make annual salaries as high as $36,500 and as low as $14,500, according to ZipRecruiter.

However, the majority of Restaurant Worker salaries currently range between $19,500 (25th percentile) to $27,000 (75th percentile) with top earners (90th percentile) making $32,500 annually across the United States.

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7 Highly Paid Restaurants Career Paths

1. Restaurant Manager

If you understand how to run a successful restaurant, you may be able to become a restaurant manager.

However, being a restaurant manager comes with a lot of responsibilities. But, it can also be a rewarding career.

In the United States, the average annual salary for a restaurant manager is $54,546. This is based on 82.8k reported salaries on indeed.com in 2022.

If being a restaurant manager interests you, see Restaurant Sales: Top Tips To Increase Restaurant Sales

2. Wine Steward/Sommelier

Istockphoto: Wine Steward

If you want to become a Sommelier, you need to earn your L3 wine certification from a reputable wine school. With that, you can work in fine restaurants and across the hospitality industry.

This means that you can make good money because pay and tips are better. Further, as a Sommelier, you’ll know which wines a restaurant has both on and off the wine list, and can help find the right wine for every meal or occasion.

The average salary for a Sommelier is $52,064 according to payscale.

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3. Director of Catering

Catering is part of the restaurant and food service industry. This is a great field to get into whether it’s a company or an individual who offers catering or it’s an extension of the restaurant.

Moving up to the position of Director of Catering ensures that you will make a lot of money. However, it’s a busy career. Your job requires you to be on top of your game at all times.

This is because you’ll need to always satisfy the client.

The salaries of Directors of Catering in the U.S. range from $28,780 to $166,320, with a median salary of $124,534 according to Comparably.com.

The middle 57% of Directors of Catering make between $124,772 and $138,289, with the top 86% making $166,320.

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4. Private Chef

Istockphoto: Private Chef

A private Chef is one of the highest-paying jobs in the food service industry.

As a private chef, you can work in exclusive restaurants that serve only the wealthy and famous and have limited seating and menu options.

You can also set up shop inside your clients’ homes and create a fine dining experience in their homes.

Certainly, this job pays well, but you must manage an entire staff like an executive chef and be available at all times. The average salary for a Private Chef is $95,342 per year in the United States according to indeed.com.

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5. Waitstaff/Server

Waitresses and waiters are the people who take your order and bring you your food, and this is usually an entry-level job that you can start on the first day with little training and no additional education.

The average hourly pay for a Waiter in the United States is $15.90 an hour according to Ziprecruiter.

However, waiters’ hourly wages can be as high as $29.09 and as low as $5.29. Further, the majority of Waiter wages currently range between $9.62 (25th percentile) to $17.07 (75th percentile) across the United States.

6. Prep Cook

The Prep Cook is in charge of preparing food for cooking or serving. You’ll need to be skilled with a knife to complete this task because it requires a lot of cutting. So, you will be in charge of fresh produce, meats, fish, cheese, and other foods. 

Also, you will sometimes prepare them for raw service, and other times you will prepare them for the next step in the cooking process.

Finally, this job will teach you a lot about food safety and will help you hone your knife skills in preparation for a career as a chef.

The average salary for a Prep Cook is $14.87 per hour in the United States according to indeed.com. However, salary.com reports that the average hourly rate for Prep Cook ranges from $14 to $17 with the average hourly pay of $15.

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7. Bartender

Istockphoto: Bartender

The bartender position is a front-of-house position that can pay well depending on the tip situation.

To get this job, you must have a bartender’s license or get hired as a barback. It is not a difficult license to obtain, plus you will benefit from the training.

Then, you’ll need to do a lot of on-the-job training to learn how to make all of the drinks. 

The average salary for a bartender is $15.32 per hour in the United States and $170 for tips per day. This is based on 45.7k salaries reported on indeed.com in 2022.

If you want to become a bartender, check out this article: How Can I Become a Bartender With No Experience? Best Bartender Jobs Near Me

FAQs

What is the highest paying restaurant job?

  • Director of Catering: $124,534 mean salary per year
  • Executive chef: $65,725 national average per year
  • Private chef: $95,342 average salary per year
  • Restaurant manager: $51,272 national average per year
  • Sommelier: 51,014 national average per year

What is the easiest position in a restaurant?

The following are entry-level jobs to help you get your foot in the restaurant door:

  • Bartender
  • Busser
  • Dishwasher
  • Host/Hostess
  • Line Cook
  • Prep Cook
  • Server

What is the hardest restaurant job?

Some of the hardest positions to fill for restaurants are cooks and line cooks, managers, and bartenders.

What is the best restaurant to work in?

5 of the best restaurants to work for, according to Glassdoor are:

  • In-N-Out Burger
  • Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants
  • Chick-fil-A. Chick-fil-A,
  • Darden
  • Starbucks


Conclusion

Is Restaurants a Good Career Path for Graduates? A lot of people worked their first job in the restaurant industry. It helps people earn extra income and learn how to manage their working time for the first time.

However, others seize these opportunities and use them to build a well-paying career for themselves in the food industry.

So, depending on your career goal, restaurants can be a good career path for both entry-level positions and high-paying career paths in the food and beverages industry.

References

  • www.bls.gov – Food and Beverage Serving and Related Workers
  • edition.cnn.com – The restaurant business will probably never recover from Covid
  • www.brookings.edu – Reopening America: The restaurant sector must adapt and innovate to survive
  • www.reuters.com – For U.S. small restaurants, coronavirus impact is swift and brutal

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