The restaurant business can be exciting and interesting for many different professionals, so it's not uncommon for people to dream of breaking in. Here are some tips on starting a career in the restaurant business.
First of all, an educational program makes a nice segue from one career to another. It gives you a narrative to show how and why you are planning to make the leap. Food service programs teach you a little bit about many parts of the industry, including food prep, safety, and possibly business and customer service skills. Eventually, if you are serious about making it far in the restaurant business and possibly becoming a restaurateur, mba programs are a great educational goal to set your sights on for learning the ins and outs of managing a successful restaurant business.
Find How Your Experience Applies
The key to getting a good job in a restaurant when you're switching fields is knowing how your past experience can be applied to your new job. This is key for two reasons. First, you probably have some good work-related skills if you are experienced in another field, and you don't want to have to reinvent the wheel when you're learning a new career field. The other is that employers like to hire people with life experience. If you can make a convincing argument for why your old career was relevant or gave you skills others don't have, you'll be ahead of everyone else vying for the same position.
Find Your Niche
Your niche may be something related to your previous background, or it may not. This is why a food service program is helpful; it lets you explore a little bit about all the parts of the food service industry so that you know what you do and don't feel interested in. You may not start in your niche, but knowing where you would like to go will help you stay focused on taking new opportunities within your company.
Be Willing to Start Somewhere
Finally, be willing to start somewhere in order to get your foot in the door. You may have your heart set on a managerial position. However, the best managers in the restaurant industry started at a lower position that gave them the ability to empathize with their workers; there are a lot of different challenges in each part of running a restaurant, and understanding these is key to running the business effectively. You might consider starting as a line cook, a server, or another entry-level position to get your foot in the door with a restaurant that you love and then prove what a hard worker you can be. In short, breaking into the restaurant business may take some work, but it's a career choice that pays off for a lot of people in the long run in terms of job satisfaction.