The Food Service Industry: 3 Exciting Career Paths
The service sector is one of the fastest growing in the world economy and part of that is due to the expanding food service industry. Casinos, restaurants, resorts, cruise ships - the list of career paths is endless and so are the job opportunities.
Here are three sample food service jobs - something for everyone. One requires on-the-job training. The other two require a culinary school education or even a four-year degree. In any case, you can build a fine career in the dynamic and growing job market of food service.
If you have an artistic flair, consider becoming a food stylist. A what? That's right, a food stylist.
Any chef will tell you that presentation is half the battle when it comes to restaurant success. If the food is just slopped on the plate (think the local diner) it won't have the same appeal as a meal that's plated like a work of art.
Food stylists attend culinary school for a year, maybe two. They work with chefs to find the perfect setting for the seared tuna special or the mile-high lemon meringue pie. These professionals often learn other skills. A beautiful buffet table takes careful planning. The eye-pleasing design by the cruise ship's food stylist turns the midnight buffet table into a photo-worthy event.
These pros may also learn the art of food and ice sculpting. So, from plating brussels sprouts to creating 250 chocolate swans, food stylists are needed on cruise ships, casinos and, of course, by wedding caterers. And the demand grows stronger each year.
Depending on the size of the business, these executives usually run the show. They may be in charge of ordering the food, keeping the budget under control, hiring new employees, managing employee disputes and a million other little problems every day - all to make the guests more comfortable.
You'll find food service managers on cruise ships that have lots of small, themed-restaurants, casinos that sometimes have more than 12 different restaurants to tempt guests, and resorts that have a main kitchen, snack bars and other eateries.
Food service managers must have excellent people and planning skills. They must be able to work with everyone from the bus staff to the temperamental head chef who just watched 120 Baked Alaskas melt. These people must be calm, cool and collected at all times.
Food service managers usually attend college or a culinary school for at least two years. If you've got a good head for figures and for creative problem solving, you're an ideal candidate to become a food service manager. It's a tough job, but one that'll satisfy your need to succeed.
Anybody can drop off a cup of coffee with hash browns at the local diner because diner patrons don't expect much more than a good cup of coffee and some decent hash browns. On the other hand, if you're waiting tables in a tux at The Silver Truffle, you'd better know how to serve the sumptuous meal just sent out from the kitchen.
As a member of the wait staff, for the most part you learn on the job. And believe this: a good waiter makes a good meal a great meal by enhancing the dining experience. An ill-trained or careless waiter turns a great meal into a nightmare if guests are left waiting at the "table time forgot."
Here, you ARE the face and personality of the restaurant. As an experienced waiter, you take on that responsibility and YOU make the difference between a great meal and a dining nightmare that others will hear about. Statistics show that customers who have had bad experiences in restaurants tell seven other people about the terrible service or bad food.
So, regardless of where you start, there's plenty of opportunity to move up the career ladder, assuming more responsibilities and earning a bigger paycheck. It's one of the fastest growing segments of our economy and you can take advantage of the demand for food service workers whether you graduate from a four-year college or learn your skills on the job.