Restaurants are fast-paced workplaces where staff have to make countless decisions related to customer service, resource management, timing, logistics and other complicated concepts on a near-constant basis.
"There are both technical skills and soft skills that you learn as a restaurant worker that are transferable to many fields – in my opinion, you should always keep it on your resume!" says Mary Grimm, Recruiting Manager for Beacon Hill's Associates Division in New York.
Although some of the knowledge and skills related to restaurant careers are only applicable in that industry, there are many talents that can be applied to other fields or drawn upon to move past ground-level roles in the front and back of the house. These four job descriptions can be paths for those in the restaurant industry, or with recent past experience, interested in progressing beyond their current role.
Servers, hostesses, bartenders and front-of-house managers at restaurants all regularly interact with customers and strive to provide great experiences to each and every guest. The skills developed, which range from identifying potential issues before they escalate to more serious problems to finding effective resolutions for customers that fit into company policies, have some obvious applications in other customer service roles. Positions including salesperson and call center representative can bring past restaurant experience into play in a different professional setting.
"Greeting guests, answering phones, checking inventory, and creating an overall positive experience are skills that transfer to an array of positions including receptionist, office assistant, concierge, and office coordinator," notes Ms. Grimm. "The acquired soft skills – the ability to handle multiple personalities at the same time, shifting priorities, time management, and unpredictable responses – are what really stand out to me. All of these could be utilized in a variety of jobs. Furthermore, specific to a sales role – restaurant workers have to immediately build rapport with the table, sell product, and bounce back quickly. All of these qualities are essential."
These roles may also offer additional room for career growth. Strong salespeople are always in demand, and can either move into more senior roles directly focused on sales or managerial positions. Effective performance in a call center can be the first step in moving into supervisory roles in that department, as well as other areas of large companies.
The hospitality industry includes a variety of service jobs, with definitions often bundling restaurants into that list. These roles generally focus on creating a positive, enjoyable experience for customers or clients, whether directly, by managing others who do so or providing critical support for operations. Skills that come with working in restaurants, such as customer service, problem-solving and multitasking, are also important in hospitality.
"Many skills acquired from the restaurant industry translate well into the corporate world," comments Angela DiPaul, Division Director of Beacon Hill's Associates Division in Philadelphia. "Strong problem solving, time management, and communication skills are critical – and no matter what industry you are in, restaurant or otherwise – the customer is always right!"
The benefit of switching to this field is the many more career types available outside of traditional restaurant roles. Hotel managers, flight attendants, tour guides and many other roles can draw on restaurant experience in a different environment and provide new opportunities for professional advancement.
Food lawyers may focus their professional attention on everything from the rights of workers in various food-related occupations to food allergies and public health, as The Balance explained. While a career in law requires in-depth education as well as plenty of focus on passing the relevant licensing exams, restaurant workers have a few key advantages if they want to pursue a law career focused on food laws and policy:
- They already have a strong grasp of a variety of food-related issues and concerns, especially if their experience is in the back of the house where they make meals, learn new recipes and manage resources on a regular basis.
- They can continue to work in the restaurant business by finding employers looking for staff outside of their class times, such as during nights and weekends, as well as help pay for the cost of their schooling.
Restaurant employees, especially those in managerial roles that handle ordering, costing, inventory and similar tasks, have plenty of experience in managing the supply chains that fuel their restaurants' operations. The understanding that comes with first-hand exposure to supply chain operation can pay off with a career focused on logistics. While this is another career that may require additional education and credentials before transitioning from the restaurant field, a bachelor's degree is often enough to secure roles like logistician and supply chain manager.
Finding a great career means leveraging past experience, skills and professional interests and passion. Get in touch with the team at Beacon Hill today to support your career goals.
This content is brought to you by the Marketing Team at Beacon Hill Staffing Group.