Hospitality Career Paths: Operations
Hcareers / FEBRUARY 08 2021

There are many different career paths you can take in hospitality; you can start off as a dishwasher and work your way to a director of talent or start off as a server and become a food and beverage manager. Maybe sales and numbers are more your thing, so you start in retail and become a revenue director. 

Although there are almost endless possibilities for career paths, there are three main pillars that all of those positions fit into either operation, sales and marketing, and revenue management. 

Let’s take a look at the operations career path first. 


If you decide to go into the operations side of hospitality, you will be working in either the housekeeping and maintenance, food, or front office departments. Below are what each department functions are and positions you can hold in those departments. 

Housekeeping department 

The housekeeping department is in charge of making sure guest rooms, common areas, lobbies, hallways, fitness facilities, and restrooms are clean and ready to use. This department is vital at all times for a great guest experience, but especially so during the pandemic to ensure safety for all guests and team members. 

The positions available within the housekeeping department are;

Housekeeper/room attendant – Housekeepers are in charge of cleaning all areas of the hotel including the guest rooms and public areas while keeping track of inventory and cleaning supplies.

Executive Housekeeper – The executive housekeeper is in charge of training housekeepers and conducts quality inspections of all hotel areas. They are in charge of maintaining the annual housekeeping budget, scheduling and interviewing candidates alongside the managers. 

Housekeeping Supervisor – Housekeeping supervisors are responsible for monitoring the daily housekeeping activities, schedules and assignments, inspecting equipment, and maintaining records of inventory. 

Director of Housekeeping – Directors of housekeeping provider leadership to the housekeeping department. They recruit, interview, hire and develop new team members and assessing performance. They monitor and maintain operating budgets alongside other department leaders. 

Laundry Attendant – Laundry attendants are in charge of sorting all linens and loading laundry into the washers while following proper protocols for cleaning products. They are in charge of organizing clean laundry and maintaining the inventory of cleaning products and property linens. 

Laundry Lead – The laundry lead is responsible for opening and closing procedures of the laundry facility, such as controlling the workflow and preparing all machines for daily use. 

Maintenance department 

The maintenance department in a hotel is essential to each property. They are in charge of keeping up the appearance of the property and its equipment, tackling safety issues to prevent any problems or malfunctions throughout the property, and handling repairs. 

The positions available in the maintenance department are:

Maintenance Technician – Maintenance technicians perform various maintenance responsibilities throughout the property, including repairs and preventative maintenance on equipment, groundskeeping and more. Technicians work as part of the team under the maintenance supervisor. 

Maintenance Supervisor – Maintenance supervisors perform some of the maintenance repairs but also interview, hire, train and manage every member of the maintenance team. Supervisors conduct property inspections and maintain the annual budget. 

Chief Engineer – Chief engineers are responsible for the maintenance of all equipment on the property, as well as the exterior maintenance. Chief engineers prepare the schedules of team members, conduct team meetings, and monitors all compliance with safety standards. 

Food and beverage department 

You can decide to work behind the scenes in the food and beverage department or in the front of the house depending on what your skills are, or where you are most comfortable. If food preparation is your passion, then you can work in the kitchen as a cook or chef however, if you prefer to interact with guests and less with the preparation then you can be a waitstaff, bartender/barista, or host. If you like both then you can work your way to a food and beverage manager. 

The positions available within the food and beverage department include: 

Dishwasher – Dishwashers make sure the restaurant is able to keep serving their guests by washing the utensils and chinaware in a timely manner. You help maintain a clean environment in the kitchen and follow the safety and sanitation guidelines and standards for your property. 

Line Cook – Line cooks are typically assigned to one particular ingredient or station in the kitchen. They are in charge of setting up and stocking necessary items, preparing the food, and cooking menu items according to the chef or sous chef instructions. 

Server – Servers ensure the guests have a great dining experience. Servers are responsible for taking guests orders and delivering the food and/or beverages. Making sure through the guests’ experience that everything is to their liking. Servers also perform opening and closing duties at the beginning and end of their shift. 

Bartender – Bartenders serve guests alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and help create beverages for servers. They must also maintain the cleanliness and appearance of the bar area and the inventory and stock of the bar. 

Host/Hostess – Hosts/Hostesses are the first people that guests come into contact with. This position is responsible for coordinating guest reservations and seating guests when they arrive at the dining area.

Sous Chef – Sous chefs are in charge of overseeing and managing the food preparation, supervising, and ensuring production standards are met. Monitoring inventory levels, recipes, and food costing sheets. They are train line cooks and assist the executive chef in ordering all food. 

Kitchen Manager – Kitchen managers are responsible for assigning, coordinating, and supervising that the set-up and food production areas in the kitchen maximize productivity and prepare the food according to safety guidelines. 

Executive Chef – Executive chefs are in charge of supervising food production, cost quality, inventory menu planning, and recipe testing while leading and mentoring the kitchen team. 

Food and Beverage Director – Food and beverage directors are responsible for coordinating and supervising all operations in the food and beverage department while making sure the department is profitable and ensuring high-quality products and services. 

Front of the house department 

The front of the house in a hotel is the guest-facing area in the hotel. If you enjoy interacting with guests, especially when they first arrive, this is the area for you. Front of house positions handles operational tasks like check-in and check-outs, organizing transportation and activities. 

The positions available in the front of house department include:

Front Desk Agent – Front desk agents are responsible for a variety of customer service duties. They are responsible for checking in and checking out guests, answering any questions the guests have, and offering recommendations. 

Concierge – Concierges are responsible for recommending and coordinating amenities and reservations for guests. They are also responsible for managing the delivery of packages to guests, maintain a daily activity log for all services, and creating a welcoming environment. 

Bell Person – Bell persons are responsible for making it easier and more enjoyable to arrive, check-in, and stay at the property. Bell persons help assist guests with their luggage, explain features of rooms, helps deliver messages and packages and maintain the appearance of the lobby area. 

Front Desk Supervisor – The front desk supervisors are responsible for overseeing and directing front desk operations. They are responsible for hiring, training, and mentoring front desk staff. They set goals and conduct employee meetings. Supervisors order inventory for the front desk team and develop and administer key procedures. 

General Manager – General managers are responsible for directing and coordinating activities of the organization to maximize profits. They are responsible for guest and employee satisfaction. General managers develop and implement company policies and goals and coordinate activities of hotel departments.  

Interested in a hospitality career in the sales and marketing department? Learn about those opportunities here.