Nick Palmer, the character of No Reservations, a comedy-drama film directed in 2007, performs in a restaurant’s kitchen with classical music in the backdrop. The keyword is “performs”: it looks rather like a sophisticated show than routine action. Is a chef an artist? Yes. Does everyone have to be an artist to work in the food industry?
No. There are plenty of jobs in restaurants that require a variety of skills – practical abilities, not mastery. Thus, everyone can find a position in this particular industry that caters to people’s needs all over the world every single day.
In the USA, the average salary in the food industry has reached $55,393 per year in 2021. In leisure and hospitality, the hourly pay has risen from $14,66 in December 2020 to $16,97 in December 2021, as soon as the pandemic eases. Isn’t it a goal worth putting effort into? And there is room for “works of art,” as a bonus, as long as you’re eager to try.
The Food Industry’s Professions
Each industry is based on typical functions such as marketing, management, quality control, and communication. One can easily find the appropriate positions in cooking and food serving.
Making a final product – a dish on the restaurant’s table, served in a place with a welcoming ambiance – involves quite a several people. They are professionals who deal with cooking and purchasing, accounting, managing, transporting, researching, and selling. As Wikipedia says, the food industry is highly diversified. It includes lots of professions in different fields. To simplify, they could be divided into three groups:
- Culinary jobs;
- Administrative jobs;
- Support jobs.
Administrative positions’ goal is to organize the workflow. Managers, assistants, coordinators manage the day-to-day operations, maintain various standards, and direct all kinds of resources to reach the business goals.
They also communicate between the clients and the service’s suppliers and interact within a team. Skills needed for administrative jobs are strong communication and time management abilities boosted by such personal traits as reliability, self-confidence, and attention to detail.
Support staff includes bartenders, servers, dishwashers, and all the positions needed to run the service. Since some of these team members contact customers, outstanding communication skills are a must for them. The knowledge of the service’s quality standards is also required. Such features as tact, friendliness and high spirits would be a plus.
Culinary professionals are chef, sous chef, pastry cook, banquet chef, and executive chef. These are the experts who cook all these things that make people book the tables in advance and, in some cases, wait up to several weeks to enjoy the dishes.
A separate group of professionals is represented by experts who research and consult the food industry’s consumers about the best products. Experts who use their knowledge of food to help people enjoy the pleasures of artistically served dishes most healthily are nutritionists.
There are well-paid positions in every group of professions in the food industry. A salary level depends on an eatery’s status and the particular professional’s credentials such as experience, skills, and achievements.
The Most Paid Jobs in the Food Industry That Are Always in Demand
$41,911 per year
Individual choices of the products and dishes are mostly based on preferences. That’s why dinner in the restaurant is a pleasure: you organize a menu according to your own rules. However, some people have special needs in food caused by such deviations as diabetes, obesity, hypertension, or a specific way of life (as sportsmen have, for example).
A nutritionist’s job is to assess customers’ needs and give recommendations about the products and dishes which suit them most.
A nutritionist makes a meal and nutritious plan and helps build new eating habits for everyday life to achieve this goal. A multidisciplinary profession and engages a bulk of knowledge in medicine, health care, and psychology. Competent professionals are always in demand.
$45,703 per year
Birthday party, wedding, company training, business meeting, banquet – during such events food is served. Thus, somebody has to organize the process. The caterer is the number one professional for making up a menu, delivering the dishes and beverages, and serving them. The caterer’s responsibilities are wide-ranging:
- Discuss a menu with a customer;
- Find a team for cooking;
- Provide products;
- Transport the dishes to a remote location;
- Set up tables;
- Ensure a special atmosphere for an event.
Good taste is a must for caterers: a profession implies an ability to make the perfect combination of dishes and how they are served to make a general impression of an event.
Another set of skills needed is communicative ones – they help reach a consensus in the visioning of an event between a client and a food supplier. Such skills are necessary for the coordination of all the organizational activities.
$46,866 per year
A chef is a kitchen’s heart. A creative and managerial profession since a kitchen’s head cooks the dishes himself and coordinates a team consisting of a sous chef, the line cooks, junior chefs, and some support staff such as the cleaners and dishwashers. The kitchen team has a solid structure; every member has a particular role.
A chef is streaming the power of each team member in the right direction to deliver a dish to the table just in time and keep the high standards of cuisine. The creative part of the job includes inventing new recipes and polishing the ways of dishes’ presentation. The most valuable skills are leadership and multitasking, apart from cooking mastery.
$50,940 per year
The dishes and wine work in collaboration to make a visit to a restaurant unforgettable. That’s why the sommelier’s role is crucial: not only for the outcome of one particular “session” but for the reputation of the place in general.
The sommelier’s responsibilities lie in composing the food and wine pairings, updating the wine list, and assessing the choice of wines made by guests according to their preferences and a budget. A real professional is obsessed with wine as a great part of cuisine and a kind of cultural artifact.
That’s the key to success: a sommelier can find such appropriate words to describe the certain sorts of wine that the audience is bound to love them. Vivid imagination and a storyteller’s talent are personal features that help a professional become outstanding.
$51,953 per year
If a restaurant or other place for pleasant dine were an orchestra, a restaurant manager would be its conductor. To find a new vendor, update a menu, buy new furniture, respond to client’s complaint, hire a new chef, handle a PR campaign, make a financial report.
These tasks represent just a small fraction of the manager’s responsibilities. This position’s task is to coordinate all daily operations, including front-of-the-house and back-of-the-house, motivate a team, and keep the quality, efficiency, and service standards.
The most challenging part of the job is to ensure stability in the fast-paced environment. To stay on top of all the issues, a restaurant manager has to have outstanding communication and time-management skills and the ability to build a rapport and articulate perfectly.
Everyone can find their place in the kitchen. The food industry is prosperous when it comes to the job, so you can be sure all your skills will be useful. A restaurant is a place of art, indeed. Do you feel you are ready to make this art? Start now!
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