Food service is an excellent and often well-compensated choice for individuals passionate about food and drink service. This is why people end up working in the industry for a long time. The following guide provides a broad sense of the food service industry, including the current career prospects and can also help you with specific but practical resume tips.
Food Service Job Titles
Current trends in the food service industry
No-contact, co-op delivery and curbside pickups are the latest trends in this industry after the COVID-19 outbreak, which kept thousands of restaurants and other food service businesses afloat. The expansion of delivery expectations also boosted the financial incomes of significant tech and logistics companies like Amazon, which provided the software and systems that made deliveries possible.
The increased dominance of technology in the industry has also led to technical jobs in the food industry. Technical roles like vertical farm consultant, man/machine Team manager and AI developer will expand to handle online delivery and payment methods. However, while touchless transactions will become more common, sanitation positions, such as concierge and janitorial jobs, will also grow to ensure a daily cleaning staff is on hand to sanitize all service areas.
Of course, some more significant trends revolve around the rise in demand for healthy food varieties such as vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free products. These diets are finding their way onto menus at restaurants of varying price points. The latest vegan statistics suggest that 2% to 6% of the adult American population opt for a vegan diet. Likewise, synthetically-grown meat known as faux meat has garnered favor over animal meat because of allergies, health consciousness and ethical choices. It is a challenge for the food service industry to plan, produce and create nutritious meals to provide to patrons.
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Salary and employment outlook for food service jobs
Projection in food and beverage serving and related workers is 10% from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations.
Food service workers with extensive work experience and excellent customer service skills can secure jobs at dining establishments. However, these professionals will face tough competition as the prospect of higher earnings attracts many candidates. Usually, the median wage for food service workers depends on the establishment’s market profile, the quality maintenance of food and beverages, job title and location. The annual average salary amounts to $21,260.
Read on to know more about the salary outlook for specific job titles.
Front of House
The front of the house refers to the areas that directly affect the customers in a restaurant or lobby. Some common locations are the entry and exit doors, bars and dining doors. Front-of-house positions include food servers, bartenders, waitstaff and baristas. These workers are responsible for hosting patrons, serving meals and beverages and keeping guests entertained. Front-of-house staff salaries vary depending on the venue style, size of the team and management duties.
Job Outlook 2020–2028
The employment rate of bartenders is projected to grow 6% from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that there will be an additional 552,400 new jobs between 2019-2029.
Back of house
The back of the house is the command center in a dining establishment and is crucial in menu planning, cooking and financial management. Common locations include the kitchen, employee area and office. Back of the house workers are kitchen managers, head chefs or bartenders, restaurant managers and sanitation workers. They are responsible for running the restaurant or cafe.
Job Outlook 2020–2029
Food and beverage manager
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says there will be a minimal growth of 1% 2019-2029, which is lower than the average growth of all other U.S. occupations.
Catering service manager
Between 2019 and 2029, catering service jobs are projected to grow by 2,200 new jobs.
9 of the top soft skills needed for food service jobs
More than 12 million people in the United States are working in a restaurant or dining job. Food service operations involve catering planning, cleaning and reception, among other services. The scope of employment within these tasks is broad, and it demands crucial technical and soft skills. Growing these skills can increase your chances of landing a job in this industry.
This is our list of some of the essential skills for the food service industry:
Excellent customer service skillsAll food service establishments rely on the quality of customer service. Addressing customer needs respectfully and adequately while ensuring a great dining experience is always the most critical task of your job. While clear written and verbal communication is the key to good customer service, situational relationship-building ensures customer satisfaction. Serving customers also involves resolving issues, such as questions about an overcharge on the bill.
Sales awarenessYour sales persona, developed through education and experience, helps grow business revenue. Examples of sales techniques are free sampling, suggesting drinks and dessert combinations and explaining the menu. Whatever you choose to do, improving sales techniques have to be approved by your superiors and adhere to business policies. To improve your sales awareness, you can take courses like the Oculus customer service and sales training by the IMPRESS program, which can help you practice restaurant sales techniques.
MultitaskingServers prep the plates in the kitchen, accommodate multiple people at tables, serve them meals and beverages and check financial transactions for any mistakes. Both staff and restaurant managers need to juggle countless customer requests without losing focus. After mastering this skill, you can maximize efficiency and productivity without derailing the patron’s experience.
Familiarity with restaurant technologiesWith technology growing in the restaurant industry, you have to learn all the hospitality tech tools to remain relevant in the game. While the variety of technologies differ from job to job, here are a few examples of the most important things you should look into (and that you should have on your resume):
Physical speed and strengthFood and beverage workers face a broad range of potential hazards in dining establishments, most common among them slips and falls that cause fractures. In addition, incidents of burns from cooking and serving plates prove fatal in many cases. There is a considerable 78.78% increase in deadly accidents in food preparation and serving related occupations, according to the report National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2019 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Good servers need to know how to carry heavy loads without stumbling or spilling. Your ability to move at a steady pace without distraction is essential. Restaurant tasks are physically demanding, so you have to consider your stamina and endurance. You can practice light exercises such as planks, lunges and correct eating habits to stay fit and healthy.
Attention to detailThe test of a food service worker is their attention to detail. As a food service worker, you need to know the reason behind a customer’s un-touched plate and ask them if you can do anything to resolve an issue that may have arisen with their meal.
Food servers must also remember which guest ordered what meal and whether or not there is pepper in the dressing that could trigger someone’s allergies. Double-checking orders, sending additional requests to the kitchen and providing a safe dining experience are all part of the job.
Specific knowledge of vegan and meat alternativesThe food business is buzzing about vegan or raw diets. As more people discover tasty meat-free meals, vegan and vegetarian restaurants and recipes become equally popular, creating opportunities for herbivorous butchers or vegan chefs. These experts need to learn cooking skills to prepare the ingredients properly and maintain taste quality.
Nutritional knowledgeThe L.E.K. Consulting's 2018 food and beverage survey suggests that 93% of consumers want to eat healthy at least some of the time, with 63% trying to eat healthy all of the time. Health-oriented food primarily includes fresh, natural, additive-free and sustainably produced food. Knowing the main class of nutrients like carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, vitamins, minerals and water, and their molecular and health effects while preparing and serving food requires a thorough food quality check. Most food service workers enroll themselves in programs that provide lessons in food preparation, service, nutrition, sanitation practices, customer service and business skills.
Food safety and risk analysisFood businesses constantly battle safety hazards like cleaning chemicals, broken glass, bacteria, viruses and toxins. A food service worker needs to know the contamination level of an ingredient, foodborne illness, safe storage and methods for cleaning of food supplies and equipment to maintain food safety standards.
The ServSafe certifications provide food safety training for food service workers to minimize food safety risks and hazards and increase healthy food practices to serve the consumers.
Educational requirements needed for food service jobs
Many food service industry individuals like dining room personnel and fast-food workers are college students or high school graduates/ However, many employers prefer to hire people with degrees for serving and bartending positions.
You can acquire food and beverage handling training through professional certification courses from member-associated organizations like the National Restaurant Association or online education companies like Udemy.
To handle alcoholic beverages, you will need to be 18 or above, take an alcohol permit exam and obtain a license to work as a bartender or barback. Many bartending programs include lessons in wines, garnishes and the use of glassware. That said, different counties, states and countries have varying types of legal and educational requirements, so you should always research.
You should also consider that many restaurants specialize in the delicacy of a particular country and require servers who can speak their specific language of the same country. For such cases, specialization in a foreign language can be highly advantageous. Beyond language, it’s also important to be mindful of the culture the restaurant attempts to replicate. For example, a Japanese hibachi restaurant expects workers to treat customers through a specific cultural mindset — such as not picking up the food plates until after the customer finishes.
Suppose you want to aim for a manager or higher position in any food service establishment. In that case, you should graduate with a bachelor’s or associate degree in food preparation and service management.
Food service resume examples by experience level
Preparing a compelling resume involves carefully picking up resume formats that best represent your skills, educational qualifications and work experience. While there are several resume formats, you need to choose the one that best fits your work experience.
Read on as we guide you to tailor a good food service resume.
Food and Beverage Manager
3 tips to stand out and get the job you want
Constantly update your knowledge.The ever-changing landscape of the food and beverage service industry demands you to always be on your feet, figuratively and literally. Food service workers must continuously evolve and upskill themselves to get the best positions. Employees in this industry must continue to improve technical skills such as food preparation and handling techniques, restaurant software management and new service styles and improve written and verbal communication and team management skills. Irrespective of your experience level in the industry, upskilling yourself always helps improve your job prospects. If you're starting, volunteering or interning is the best option to gain practical experience.
Use job-related keywords
You will need to tailor your resume to match the applied role. It is crucial to include keywords and phrases relevant to food and beverage services that catch the attention of hiring staff. Write keywords the recruitment manager mentioned in the food service job description. Remember to connect them to your previous work roles by writing them in your work history sections.
Some of the keyword suggestions are:
- Food handler
- Catering experience
- Fast food restaurant
- POS management
- Food and beverage service
- Food Safety management
Prepare to ace the interview.
Before taking an interview, make sure you have prepared thoroughly by researching the business’s background, food policies, dishes and competitors. This shows that you know their existence in the market.
Anticipate some of the questions given below:
- Could you give me examples of common and severe food allergies and explain how you would be mindful of these?
- How would you deal with a drunk customer?
- What experience do you have concerning this particular food service position?
- Can you tell me about yourself?
- Why do you want to work here?
- What are your strengths?
- What are your plans in the food service industry for the next five years?
Answer such commonly asked job questions in a calm manner and claim that position!
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How do I create a food service resume?
Creating a food service resume involves choosing the appropriate resume format. Begin by introducing your career objective or profile summary and follow through with your work experience, core food service skills and educational qualifications. Next, write your resume with a structured pattern and ensure that it aligns with the job description.
How do you get into the food service industry?
Any individual with desirable food service skills and a passion for learning can join the food service industry. For many young people, especially students, food service is often the first step in entering the hospitality industry. We advise entry-level individuals with less than three years of experience to build professional and transferable skills to use them anywhere you go in various food service jobs. Try attending campus placements, walk-in interviews and other recruitment drives to secure employment.
What are some career profiles in the food service industry?
The food service industry offers numerous opportunities and diverse roles in the sector. Some job titles are restaurant manager, catering service manager, bartender, busser, barista and food and beverage servers.
What is the highest degree in the food service industry?
A master's or bachelor's in food and beverage service management is the highest educational qualification. However, many people from other industries can join and succeed in food service. People who graduate with a food industry management major have the flexibility to choose agri-food systems or sales. Professional certifications in food preparation and handling by member associations or credible training institutes also help individuals gather core management and service skills.
What is the retail industry?The food service industry refers to any establishment or business concerned with food products' preparation, management and service. This industry involves food supplies distributors, management and handling staff and infrastructure.