Hospitality is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the UK, with thousands of jobs from pot washer to general manager !
The UK’s hospitality and tourism sectors employ more than 4.5 million people, which works out as approximately 10% of the working population, according to Oxford Economics. The food and drink sector needs to recruit 109,000 people by 2022 so there are plenty of openings, whether you are interested in working in restaurants, cafés or hotels.
If you don’t just love eating food, but are also into preparing, serving and seeing other people enjoy it, the restaurant business might be for you. There are dozens of roles, including Waiters and Bar Servers, Receptionists, various levels of Chef and the management team.
In large restaurants and chains, don’t forget those behind the scenes, including Event Planners, Human Resources staff, Marketing teams and Finance roles.
Some start as waiting or kitchen staff and work up to being a manager, while others join a management training scheme after gaining an HND or foundation degree in hospitality.
Waiting roles pay minimum wage at first, but this can rise with experience and enthusiasm. Most of these jobs involve shift work and long hours are the norm. However, the skills are totally transferable, so you can work all over the world.
Chefs can earn upwards of £18,000, but potentially much more in upmarket establishments. Managers will earn around £24,000.
As a Restaurant Manager, you would be responsible for giving your customers 100% satisfaction and ensuring that all the food served is to a high standard. This job has many elements from managing staff and running a business to ensuring health and safety is adhered to at all times. You could be working in a hotel, a small independent restaurant or as part of a chain.
How much can I earn? A starting salary for a restaurant manager is £18,000, rising with experience.
You don’t need qualifications to start working in a kitchen - experience and hard work will get you far. However, many businesses prefer you to complete a Basic Food Hygiene certificate and some apprentices spend time working towards NVQs levels 2 and 3 in cookery.
If you want to reach the lofty heights of Head Chef you need to be capable of managing a team and consistently creating and producing dishes that lure your customers back time and again.
You need a real passion and talent for cooking, must be able to juggle several tasks at the same time and be able to handle pressure as you’ll be working to very tight deadlines.
How much can I earn? Head Chef salaries can vary from £30,000 to more than £60,000, depending on experience and the restaurant you’re working in.
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If you like helping people and enjoy the idea of making somebody’s experience exemplary, then consider working in a hotel or guest house.
According to The British Hospitality Association, there are almost 46,000 hotels in the UK, which are responsible for around 512,000 jobs - and counting.
In the past five years, 331,000 jobs have been created and the BHA says another 100,000 will be delivered by the end of this decade. It is a popular option for the young, more than a third of employees are under the age of 25.
You could go for front-of-house jobs, such as Receptionists, Waitresses or Managers, or you may prefer behind-the-scenes jobs including Housekeepers, Porters and Kitchen staff.
Hotels also need people to run their Sales, Finance and HR departments.
The key skill you need for this industry’s front-of-house jobs is with people.
Great hospitality staff have fantastic people skills, so there’s nothing to stop you starting in a junior role and then working your way up, if you don’t mind starting on a minimum wage. You can also train with a foundation degree, HND or degree in hospitality management, hotel management, or hospitality business management (see ucas.com). There may be apprenticeships in your area (see apprenticeships.org.uk).
Some jobs come with accommodation included and larger hotel chains usually offer internal management trainee programmes, which may also include external training.
This is the top job and its occupant is responsible for several areas – not least dealing with customers and managing the staff. You’d also be in charge of building maintenance, housekeeping, managing budgets and marketing.
In a big hotel, you might manage one department, such as reception, and report to an overseeing General Manager. In a smaller outfit, you could be very hands-on, dealing with guests and the day-to-day running of the hotel.
Whatever role you take, you’ll need to be business-minded, an excellent multi-tasker and team leader, and able to cope well under pressure.
How much can I earn? Once you’ve snagged a job as a manager, you can expect a starting salary of £19,000, moving up to an average of £35,000.
A manager has the potential to earn up to £100,000, though, depending on the hotel, location and turnover.
The catering element of a hotel is down to the Catering Manager who will be responsible for all its food and drink, from restaurants and room service to events such as weddings.
You’d spend time consulting with chefs, managing staff, and overseeing admin and budgets. You’ll need a culinary or management background for this job – and having a related degree is useful. However, experience of the job itself will always be the most important requirement at a managerial level.
How much can I earn? Experienced Catering Managers can expect to earn from £25,000 to £40,000.