Looking for a fast-paced industry where you can show off your people skills? hospitality is the answer!
The hospitality and tourism sector is one of the UK’s largest, employing more than 4.5 million people, according to Oxford Economics, or approximately 10% of the working population. The food and drink sector needs to recruit 109,000 people by 2022, so there are plenty of opportunities.
If you don’t just love eating food but are also into preparing, serving and seeing other people enjoy it, the restaurant business may be for you. There are dozens of roles, including waiting and bar staff, receptionists, chefs and the management team. In large restaurants, there are also people working behind the scenes, including event planners, human resources staff, marketing teams and finance roles.
When it comes to management, some work their way up from kitchen staff, while others join a management training scheme after gaining an HND or foundation degree in hospitality.
How much can I earn? Waiting roles pay minimum wage at first, but this can rise with experience. Most jobs involve shift work and long hours are the norm. However, the skills are extremely transferable, which means you can find work all over the UK – and the world.
Chefs can earn upwards of £18,000 – more in upmarket establishments. Managers earn around £24,000.
As manager, you’re responsible for ensuring customer satisfaction and that all the food and drink served is of a high standard. The job involves many elements, from managing staff of all levels and running a business to ensuring everyone adheres to health and safety policy. You can work in a hotel, a small independent restaurant or as part of a multinational chain.
How much can I earn? The starting salary for a restaurant manager is £18,000, rising with experience.
You don’t need qualifications to work in a kitchen - experience and hard work will get you far. Many businesses, however, prefer you to complete a basic food hygiene certificate, and some apprentices work towards NVQ Level 2 and 3 in cookery.
If you would like to reach the lofty heights of head chef, you need to prove you’re capable of managing a team and consistently creating and producing dishes that bring 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.
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It is difficult to get an accurate number of hotels in the UK, but the British Hospitality Association has 46,000 members, which are responsible for 512,000 jobs. In the past five years alone, 331,000 jobs have been created and another 100,000 are expected by 2020.
There are front-of-house jobs such as receptionist, waiter or manager, or you can work behind the scenes as a housekeeper, porter or kitchen staff. Hotels also need people in their sales, finance and HR departments.
If you have fantastic people skills and don’t mind starting on minimum wage, there’s nothing to stop you starting in a junior role and working your way up to management level. You can also study a foundation degree, HND or bachelor’s degree in hospitality management, hotel management or hospitality business management. Apprenticeships may also be available in your area (see apprenticeships.org.uk).
Some hotel positions come with accommodation included, and larger hotel chains usually offer internal management trainee programmes that 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 staff. You’ll also be in charge of building maintenance, housekeeping, managing budgets and marketing.
In large hotels, you may manage one department, such as reception, and report to a general manager. In smaller outfits you’ll be more hands-on, dealing with guests and the day-to-day running of the hotel.
You need to be business-minded, an excellent multitasker and team leader, and able to cope well under pressure.
How much can I earn? Managers can expect a starting salary of £19,000, moving up to an average of £35,000. However, there is the potential to earn up to £100,000, depending on the hotel and its location and turnover.
All the food and drink offered in a hotel – from the restaurant and bar to room service and one-off events such as weddings – is the responsibility of the catering manager.
In this role you’ll consult with chefs and manage staff, as well as oversee admin and budgets. A culinary or management background is needed for this job – a degree in a related field can also prove useful. However, experience will always be the most important requirement at managerial level.
How much can I earn? Experienced catering managers can expect to earn from £25,000 to £40,000.