Sarah’s top 10 reasons to join the hospitality business

By J&C Team

It’s growing at a rapid rate and there are so many opportunities in hospitality it’s worth considering. Guest editor Sarah Willingham has been in the industry since her first job aged 13 and on the back of her hard work has become a multi-millionaire. in 2016, she was named one of The Sunday Times’ ‘500 Most Influential people in Britain’. Here are her tips on why hospitality is so rewarding!

Career progression

If you are a go-getter, the sky’s the limit in the hospitality industry. If you work hard, continue your professional development, use your initiative and get on with customers and colleagues, the chances of you progressing to a management position are high.

Many large chains have a clear career path mapped out and usually promote from within, so with a bit of hard work you have a great chance of climbing that ladder or progressing your career yourself like I did.

Career versatility

You are so lucky in the hospitality industry to have the chance to try out lots of different roles and there are very few businesses that offer these kind of opportunities.

There is massive scope to working different departments and try a stint on Reception, Front of House in the restaurant, Housekeeping, Concierge, Events, Kids’ Club… the list goes on. 

You don’t have to feel stuck or pigeonholed and each role teaches you different skills which you can use elsewhere. There are also significant opportunities for people in other fields too, such as accountancy, HR, marketing and sales, so the opportunities are enormous. And it can be good fun! The people are great and you get to meet the customer face to face, day in, day out, if you’re on the frontline.

You can be creative

I love the fact that the hospitality industry allows me to indulge my creative side. There is always the chance to dream up, create and name a new dish or cocktail, implement a welcome routine for guests that impresses and inspires, design a memorable event or think outside the box to solve problems. The ability to think creatively makes it a unique industry to work in.

Great perks

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy the perks of the job! Meeting cool people, rubbing shoulders with celebrities, eating Michelin starred meals and being able to stay in hotels at a massively discounted rate are great benefits for staff. Many companies also offer a friends and family discount and treating someone else is just as lovely to me as indulging myself. The end of year parties are usually pretty epic too!

Transferable skills

You will learn skills along the way that will not just benefit you in work but life as well. Even if you aren’t directly learning you will gain so much simply through working alongside others. You will find yourself knowing which wine is nice to serve with a fillet of beef or how to defuse a fiery situation. Hospitality provides you with a skill set that can’t be rivalled.

Sense of Stability

Even during times of economic uncertainty, people always need food, drink and somewhere to sleep, so the hospitality industry can offer a decent level of security and stability. Some businesses do, of course, close, but the skills you learn in the industry are easily transferred and there will always be jobs for the qualified.

Chance to travel

Hospitality is one of the best industries to work in if you want to see the world and experience life in different countries and cultures. International chains will often send members of the team to other countries for training or transfer them to a hotel in another part of the world.  If you speak another language then the opportunities to travel will increase but even if you don’t, this isn’t always a barrier to being sent abroad. I was sent to Russia for several months to open a new Pizza Express in Moscow and although I didn’t speak a word of Russian, I had a truly amazing experience.

it’s all about teamwork

Part of working in hospitality is knowing how to get on with people and how to defuse conflict. It means that you will usually find yourself working within amazing teams. Yes, there will be the odd colleague you don’t see eye to eye with, but on the whole, you are guaranteed to meet fun and lively friends for life.

Meet new people

As well as your colleagues, you will also meet customers from every walk of life too, from different countries, different cultures and maybe even the odd bit of royalty! There aren’t many other lines of work where customers are able to directly show you their gratitude and thanks. People genuinely appreciate what you do and you can make people happy – I think that’s rather special in a world that can be over-cynical.

Never a dull moment

If you hate routine and doing the same thing day in, day out, hospitality is the career for you. There is so much variety and never a dull moment. The time you get up, how many hours you work, your tasks for the day, who you speak to and even what you eat varies from day to day but that’s what makes it so exciting. I wouldn’t have changed my experiences for the world.