If you have a passion for food, you should consider a career in the food service industry. According to the National Restaurant Association, roughly one in 10 U.S. employees work in a restaurant. Aside from its popularity, though, there are several other benefits of working in the food service industry.

#1) Strong Job Growth

The food service industry has experienced strong job growth over the past few decades — a trend that analysts expect will continue. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 9,662 food service employees in January 2008. As of March 2018, however, approximately 11,883 employees work in this industry. This shouldn’t come as a surprise considering that the average family dines out more than four times a week. Therefore, food service offers stable, recession-proof employment for hardworking individuals with a passion for food.

#2) Performance-Based Pay

Depending on the specific job, you may be eligible for performance-based pay in the food service industry. Waiters and waitresses, also known as servers, are often paid a flat hourly wage plus tips. Generally, customers tip their waiter or waitresses between 15 percent and 20 percent of their bill. If a customer buys a $100 meal, for example, he or she may tip $20. Unlike otherwise stated by their employer, the waiter or waitress can keep these tips.

Customers may even tip kitchen staff, including the chef. As reported by CBS News, recently passed legislation prohibits food service employers in nine states from forcing servers to share their tips with other staff. Therefore, some employers are including additional tip options for kitchen staff on customers’ bills. When a customer pays using a credit card or debit card, he or she can enter a tip amount on the receipt for their server as well as the restaurant’s kitchen staff.

#3) Specialized Training Available

You can differentiate yourself from other prospective applicants seeking employment in the food service industry by completing specialized training courses. If you have a food handlers certificate, for example, an employer will probably choose you over an applicant who doesn’t have this certificate. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that more than 48 million Americans fall ill to foodborne illness each year. This specialized training course will teach you how to properly handle food to minimize the risk of foodborne illness.

#4) Food Discounts

Many restaurants offer special discounts for their employees. At Applebee’s, for instance, employees receive a discount of 50 percent off a single menu item with a maximum discount of $7. If you order $14 burger plate, you’ll only pay $7. At Chick-fil-A, employees are entitled to one free meal, with a $7.50 maximum value, during break. Many people choose to work in the food service industry strictly because of the free or discounted food prices, but there are countless other reasons to consider employment in this industry.

#5) Variety of Careers

There are plenty of careers available in the food service industry, only one of which is serving. Culinary chefs are always in strong demand, with statistics showing that chefs in the United States earn an average salary of $47,390. Chefs are responsible for preparing and cooking food, making them an invaluable asset to restaurants. Some chefs are also tasked with creating new dishes. They’ll experiment using different ingredients to find the perfect combination for a mouthwatering dish that reflects the restaurant’s values.

All food service establishments also have a manager. Known as a restaurant manager, this person is responsible for guiding workers, conducting quality control and handling customer complaints.

As you can see, there are many reasons to consider a career in the food service industry. Just remember to choose a career that’s relevant to your interests. As long as you enjoy working, you’ll have an innate desire to succeed.


by: James Ponds