A career in the restaurant business can be exciting, fast-paced and a great way to meet fascinating new people every day. Depending on your position, compensation as a restaurant employee can be surprisingly high. And of course, this business offers a great way to learn culinary skills and gain a window into the art and science of food and dining.
But despite the benefits and opportunities of this career path, working in a restaurant also brings a set of challenges that may or may not suit your individual ambitions, needs and personality. Know the risks before you commit to a future in the culinary industry.
Risk 1: Instability
Restaurants are a high volume business, which means restaurant owners make heavy upfront investments in perishable items that they may or may not be able to sell by the time they expire. The success of any restaurant depends on a wide range of factors that can’t always be controlled, and most restaurant owners recognise that if they can’t make a profit on the food and space in which they invest, they can be in over their heads very quickly. Restaurants rise and fall fast, and they can disappear or go out of business without much warning. When they do, employee careers can disappear with them.
Risk 2: Teamwork Is Essential
In some careers, your success will depend on you alone. Your hard work and smart decisions nothing else will determine whether you thrive or fail. In the restaurant business, this isn’t usually the case. A successful business depends on teamwork, and employees in the dining room and kitchen need to work together in order to serve their customers well. A few weak links in the line of communication can spell trouble for everyone.
Risk 3: Depending on Tips
Working for a tip-based salary in a busy restaurant at the high end of the cost spectrum can be far more lucrative then many people realise. But in a less expensive venue with an unpredictable volume of customers, the opposite can be true. In addition to dealing with slow days and occasional stingy tippers, restaurant employees need to contend with compensation that rises very slowly. After all, a tip of 15 to 20 percent has been standard in most venues for more than a generation.
Tips 4: Details Matter
Restaurants can be precarious, and one unhappy customer can have strong negative impact on the future of a business. In a successful restaurant everything matters, from the presentation of a fancy dessert to the control of potential salmonella contamination. Cutting corners might bring higher profits and greater stability in some businesses, but not this one. If just a few plates arrive at their tables cold, late, improperly prepared, or laced with allergens, the damage can be difficult to contain.
Get Ready For a Future in the Culinary World
If you’ve weighed the risks and you know that a career in a restaurant is the right choice for you, then stop daydreaming and take action. The job search resources at LiveCareer can help you find the employment leads, salary information, CV tips and training guidelines you’ll need for success.