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What Is the Food and Restaurant Industry?

This is one of the most widespread and popular industries in our lives. The food industry includes any establishment serving food outside our homes: restaurants, cafeterias, college dining halls, catering and vending companies, carryout operators, hotels, rehab, and retirement centers. With the food sector being so encompassing, we can safely say that a large percentage of people in any given country has worked in it at some points of their lives.

The food industry is divided into two sections. One includes those people who prepare food and serve it. Another includes people who produce and distribute food, equipment, and services that the first group needs. To the first section belong restaurants and coffee shops. As a rule, restaurants employ front of the house people – bartenders, waiters, and hosts – and back of the house people – chefs, cooks, managers, and dishwashers. Coffee shops and fast food services usually employ only people who prepare food, managers, and cashiers.  

The second section includes those people who produce and distribute food, equipment, and services. To it also belong equipment, food, and beverage suppliers. Even though equipment suppliers do not deal directly with food, they are an indispensable part of the food industry, since food producers depend on good appliances for making good quality food. Food suppliers are usually farms or various food corporations, whose employees advertise their products to food producers; employees of companies that sell wines and other liquors also approach bartenders and restaurant managers, trying to convince them to buy their beverages.

Because people are getting increasingly busy, they do not cook at home but prefer eating out. The food industry is thus always growing, constantly adding thousands of job vacancies to be filled with new employers. There are, therefore, always job opportunities open in the food and restaurant sector both for a certified staff such as chefs and cooks and uncertified employees such as waiters and cashiers.


What Positions Are Available in the Food and Restaurant Sector?

The food industry is a wide field employing professionals with various skills, abilities, and responsibilities. Because the food sector is divided into two parts engaging people who prepare food and those who produce and distribute appliances and services only indirectly connected to food, a range of professions involved in the field is extremely wide. Such seemingly unrelated professionals as bartender, waiter, alcohol producer, and engineer can work in the food industry.

For most of the people, however, the occupation that is immediately associated with the food sector and restaurants is that of the cook or chef.  Yet although both the cook and the chef prepare food in the kitchen, their responsibilities are poles apart.

What Is the Difference between the Chef and the Cook?

Indeed, words a “chef” and a “cook” define a professional working in a kitchen only roughly, mostly in the eyes of the people unfamiliar with the food and restaurant industry and unaware of the specificities of culinary business. For people involved in the culinary field, however, there is a vast and clearly defined difference between the two occupations. The major difference between them is in education and work experience. The chef is a person who has a culinary degree or is trained by famous chefs. chefs are expected also to move up the ranks during their career in the restaurant or banqueting suites. Hence, chefs are clearly differentiated from one another. At the top of the profession stands an executive chef. Below the executive chef are sous chefs and chefs de partie who still need to work hard to rise to the top.

Cooks, in contrast, do not have a culinary degree and usually work in the kitchen under the supervision of the chef. The cook prepares food daily and performs kitchen duties directed by the restaurant’s managers or the chef. Not infrequently, cooks also clean the kitchen by the end of the working day. Even a more important difference between the cook and the chefs is that the former does not invent recipes but follows someone else’s menu plan. It is rather chefs who are usually responsible for creating and implementing menus in restaurant or bar settings. Cooks always continue their training and can easily become chefs with time.


What Skills Do You Need to Have to Work in the Food and Restaurant Industry?

The food and restaurant sector is broad, employing people with different expertise and skills to do jobs as dissimilar as cooking and selling kitchen appliances. Every occupation needed in the food and restaurant industry requires a set of different skills and abilities. Some of these occupations and skills they require employees to possess are presented below:

Kitchen staff

  • Safe food handling;
  • Storage practices;
  • Health department regulations;
  • Kitchen appliances usage skills.
  • Knowledge of food allergies;
  • Sanitizing practices.

Waiters

  • Knowledge of food preparation techniques;
  • Good decision-making;
  • Multitasking;
  • Good communication skills;
  • Patience;
  • Customer service skills.

Bartender

  • Techniques of alcohol management;
  • Good knowledge of alcohol and soft beverages;
  • Mixology;
  • Customer service skills;
  • Attention to details.

What Skills Do You Need to Have for Managerial Positions?

Managers in restaurants and other places of the food sector usually have different responsibilities requiring a wide range of skills. Managers are expected to track finances, schedule the kitchen staff and waiters, and work with sellers of food and kitchen equipment. They may also open and close the restaurant or the coffee shop which they supervise. To perform these tasks, managers in the food and restaurant sector should have the following skills:

  • Recruiting and training experience;
  • Good organizational skills;
  • Scheduling and staffing coordination skills;
  • Vendor relations;
  • Good communication skills;
  • Inventory control;
  • Discipline.

How to Prepare for the Interview in the Food and Restaurant Sector? 

Below is the list of some questions usually asked during interviews in the Food and Restaurant Industry. Go over them and formulate clear, smart answers to them. Coming to your upcoming interview armed with clever answers will help you impress your recruiters. Here are the questions posed in the past during interviews in the Food industry:

  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Tell me about a time that you worked in a team.
  • Describe your approach to time management.
  • Do you believe that you possess leadership qualities and why?
  • How would you react if you had a disagreement with a colleague?
  • Can you manage multiple projects at once?
  • Why do you want to work in the food sector?

To help you prepare for your interview, we have thoughtfully added to our materials interview questions and answers along with useful interview tips. Prepare for your interview with our interview resources and become placed at the top of the list of the most promising candidates for your applied position. 


The Numerical Reasoning Test

However incredible it may sound, you need to have good mathematical skills, when you work in the restaurant and food industry. There will be times, when you will need to make quick calculations on the spot. You may need to calculate a rough cost of somebody’s bill or your own tip, if you work as a waiter, cashier, or cook. This means that you will need to know how to calculate not only full numbers but also percentages, and decimals.

To hone your mathematical skills, practise with our Numerical Reasoning Test, specifically designed to land a job in the food and restaurant industry. On this test, you are required to answer questions using figures and facts presented in statistical tables, charts, and diagrams. This is a multiple-choice test. You will need to choose one right answer among several incorrect alternatives. The Numerical Reasoning Test is also strictly timed. You will have less than a minute to answer each question. Our excellent test simulations are timed as well. You can practise with them and get the exact idea of what to expect on your pre-employment test, if you are asked to take one by the company for which you applied. By studying with our test, you will improve the accuracy and speed of your calculations and will best your own time record.  

JobTestPrep specializes in helping job applicants to become hired in the food and restaurant industry. We explain to job applicants how the sector is structured and what skills they should have to be hired for the position they want. Purchase our exclusive PrepPack™ and enter on a promising career in the food and restaurant sector.