People, experience, food, and drinks four key factors that make the restaurant industry so intriguing to people as a place to work. When job seekers are looking for a job within the restaurant industry, some tend to think right away of a bartender job, server, or cook. Yet, the industry has a lot of exciting opportunities that might not have been considered before. The majority of these positions listed below require a warm personality towards people, skill, knowledge, and consistent self-education. However, some positions don’t require any experience.
The restaurant industry is unique. Most people describe it as a family atmosphere rather than a team one. However, keep in mind that it is also a competitive industry where you have multiple restaurants close to each other trying to provide the best experience possible to become the go-to spot in their area. Meaning you will have a ton of fun working at a restaurant, but you will also need to be focused during peak hours.
To fire things up, let’s begin with 5 unique and trending positions within the restaurant industry:
Vegan and Vegetarian restaurants are on the rise. That also means this position is trending. Not just because of the surge in these types of restaurants but because more and more Chefs also believe that the current way of food consumption isn’t sustainable. On top of that, plant-based meals is also delicious, healthy, and good for the environment.
Similar to a Wine Sommelier, this position isn’t as popular compared to wine advisors. As the title suggests, Whiskey Advisor makes whiskey and food pairing recommendations to guests.
Craft brewing is becoming a popular avenue as a career. Brewers their job is to take historical styles and put their own unique twist to develop their own. Sometimes these brews can be made with traditional and non-traditional ingredients. Microbreweries are a great representation of this. They are the leaders who love to push the limits of what beer can be and taste like. Check out your local brewery for some examples. They might have an IPA that might spark some interest.
That’s right Farmers can be part of the restaurant industry. Restaurants that put a lot of focus on having the best ingredients tend to have their own operations in farming or are very involved with farmers. Located in Washington, Texas, The Inn at Dos Brisas is a high-end restaurant attached to a luxury hotel with a 42-acre farm. This farm is also USDA certified and mostly planted with heirloom varieties of fruits, vegetables, and everything seasonally appropriate. As a Farm Manager, you will be responsible for monitoring staff, crops, and livestock, purchasing supplies, preparing budgets and reports, and ensuring maximum profit.
Social Media Manager
Yes, perhaps it might not be culinary or service related, but these days even restaurants need a Social Media Manager to create brand awareness to drive customers. In this position, you would be doing far more than taking pictures and creating social media posts. You also need to respond to guest reviews on online review platforms, help with marketing initiatives, conduct marketing research, even event planning could pop up. Usually, this position is common to see with large restaurant or hospitality groups.
Common Restaurant positions
Front of House
Are you comfortable with setting the tone for what type of experience diners are about to receive? Then perhaps a Host/ Hostess position might be right for you. In this job, you are the customer’s first impression of the restaurant and the service. As you may expect by now, in this role, you would be responsible for greeting guests and taking them to their tables. Additionally, they provide menus, information, answer the phone to make reservations for guests or questions that people might have.
Busser/ Bus Person
Have you been told time management and prioritizing duties are one of your stronger skills? Then becoming a busser/ bus person might be interesting to you. Bussers often work with Servers, Dishwashers, Bartenders, and Hosts, so strong teamwork and time management skills are needed for this position. Your overall responsibility in this role will be to clean tables, set tables, provide utensils, fill empty cups of water, etc.
Some restaurants prefer to hire Food Runners/ Runners to make the Server their job more efficient and more manageable. You might be able to guess already that the responsibility of the food runner is to bring the meal from the kitchen to the diner as quickly as possible, ensuring the food is eaten at the right time and temperature.
Are you the type of person who loves to engage with people and provide a wonderful experience because that’s one of the factors it takes to be a Server. In this position, you are pretty much the brand ambassador of the restaurant because you are leaving guests with a memory of the experience you created for them. Here are some of the responsibilities in this position. Taking customer orders, delivering food and beverages and making menu recommendations, answering questions, and sharing additional information with restaurant patrons.
In this position, being a Barback means you are assisting Bartenders with a variety of tasks. Responsibilities can range from changing kegs, maintaining the needed quantity of bottles, tracking inventory. One thing to consider is that your task will be slightly different compared to if you would work at a speakeasy bar than compared to an Irish pub.
Are you intrigued by spirits, liquors, beer, and wine? While also holding conversations with your customers and getting to know them. Then perhaps becoming a Bartender/ Mixologist is your calling. Depending on the establishment, your skillset might need to be more extensive. While some places just require you to serve without little knowledge of spirits and liquors. Others will be more advanced in what they do. For example, cocktail/ speakeasy bars are a good example.
Establishments such as Death & Co and Columbia Room have a cocktail culture with its purpose to amaze customers by providing classic cocktails and other original house cocktails. Behind the scenes, Bartenders/Mixologists need to create cordials, syrups, infusions, prepping garnishes, and come up with recipes. So having a solid flavor platter is essential too. Key indicators to be in a bartender position are good memorization for recipes, working under pressure, and a warm personality.
Bakeries such as Tartine Bakery or Tatte Bakery & Cafe always keep their doors open to hiring Baristas. Most people will want a coffee to go with their pastries and other menu items. Requirements to become a Barista is to have good communication skills. Excellent memorization since you will need to remember if the customer their late has whole or half and half milk, iced or hot, etc. And depending on the business, you might need to add some latte art to your skillset.
Like Host/ Hostess, the Maître d' is the first point of contact when guests and patrons enter the restaurant. Additionally, they are also in charge of reservations, giving people essential information about the restaurant menu and ambiance. Maître d' is also the point of contact for loyal customers and in charge of VIP services, ensuring customer satisfaction is at the highest level before the service goes into full effect for the guest.
Food & Beverage Manager
This position can be considered rare within the restaurant industry and can be found with larger restaurant or hospitality groups. Managers in this position are responsible for inventory management, such as bar and kitchen products. Ensuring the kitchen and bar are meeting health requirements and are up to code. As well as working with the General Manager to define menu items and overall workflow of prep and other relevant operations for the restaurant team.
Is wine your thing? Do you love to share stories about how a particular wine is made and who made it? Then perhaps becoming a Sommelier is your calling. Sommeliers are in charge of creating a wine list that pairs with the menu items. You also need to be prepared to recommend wine while educating guests in a fun way to make the experience of drinking wine fun. In this position, you are required to have good communication skills and knowledge of wine vineyards and wineries.
As the job title describes it, the Assistant Manager is responsible for helping the General Manager with the development and execution of the operations within the restaurant. Assistant Managers are responsible for dealing with paperwork, helping with decision-making processes, handling training programs, and taking over the responsibility of managing the restaurant.
This position might be perceived as the most critical when it comes to the operational part of running a restaurant. General Managers focus on the hiring aspect, training programs, marketing, PR, optimization, etc. They help to deliver the best experience possible for the restaurant their guests.
Back of House:
If you love to provide the best culinary experience, then perhaps the goal of becoming an Executive Chef might be right up your alley. Executive Chefs are responsible for coming up with specific dishes for the restaurant’s menu.
Occasionally some restaurants their concept can require a unique menu. For example, in fine dining restaurants, you can expect the Executive Chef to develop a 5 to 7-course meal creating an out-of-world experience for their diners. Not to forget they also take care of the entire cooking process & operations in the kitchen. From preparation all the way to how the food is served.
After the Executive Chef, you can consider the Sous Chef as the assistant. For example, if the Executive Chef takes a day off, the Sous Chef will be in charge of the kitchen. To become a Sous Chef, you need to have a similar skillset as the Executive Chef and have a good amount of culinary experience.
Pastry Chefs are in charge of putting sweet treats on the menu. In this position, you will develop recipes, prepare and work on the presentation of desserts such as cakes, pies, crepes, mousses. The list goes on, and so does the creativity. General duties include ordering ingredients and supplies for the restaurant to hiring employees to assist in the production of pastry goods and other aspects of the business.
If you need some inspiration, we suggest looking at Jordi Roca. The Spanish chef won the inaugural "World's Best Pastry Chef" award from Restaurant magazine and has been featured on Chefs Table. He has managed to create a new perspective of what pastries can be, taste, and look like.
No matter the size of your restaurant, a Line Cook is essential to ensure the kitchen can run without any delay. Line Cooks handle numerous tasks in the kitchen and help to streamline the head chef their operations. The responsibilities of a Line Cook are setting up and stocking food items and other necessary supplies, preparing food items such as cutting, mixing, and preparing sauces, cooking food according to the specified recipe standards such as frying, grilling, sautéing, etc.
Fast Food Cook
Are you looking to be part of a quick-service restaurant? Restaurants that are based on speed rely on fast food cooks that can work under pressure. Whether you are a restaurant like Clover Food Labs in Boston or Chick-fil-a. Speed and quality are what matters here. As a fast-food cook, your responsibilities will be to prepare food as fast as possible and work with kitchen equipment such as deep fryers, sandwich makers (A panini press, for example), ovens and grills, and more.
Short Order Cook
People in this position are responsible for taking customer orders preparing food to specifications, such as grilling, cooking, frying, etc. A job such as this can be found in smaller eateries. You can expect to handle small orders for breakfast or brunches.
Prep Cooks are the foundation of the kitchen. Without them, a dish would take significantly longer to leave the kitchen. In this position, you are responsible for the initial preparation of the ingredients that are needed for recipes. By having each ingredient initially prepared, it allows the team to cook easily and in a timely manner. You can expect to be measuring ingredients and seasonings. Prepare cooking ingredients by washing and chopping vegetables, cutting meat, and other preparation techniques, etc.
Just like the Front of House has a General Manager and Assistant Manager, some kitchens have a Kitchen Manager. In this role, you would be responsible for a cohesive unit and delivering high customer satisfaction. Responsibilities you may expect are supervising food prep and cooking. Check food plating and temperature and price menu items in collaboration with the Restaurant Manager.
Without any clean dishes, how would cooks be able to plate their dishes? Dishwashers are the first step to gain exposure in the culinary world. It is a position that doesn’t require any experience, and you get to develop a strong understanding of how a restaurant’s kitchen operates. Slowly but steady, your kitchen knowledge will increase, and you can work your way up under the guidance of Chefs. In this position, you will be responsible for clean dishes, hygiene, dishwashers, cleaning the kitchen, etc.
From the front of house to the back of house, whether you are service-oriented or craft-oriented. There is a place for everyone in the restaurant industry that wants to create experiences for people. And that‘s the beauty of the restaurant industry. If you want to be part of that environment, begin your job search here.