The restaurant industry has a wide range of exciting jobs, from part-time roles to full careers. Not only are restaurant jobs incredibly fulfilling, but if you don’t have a college degree, they are also some of the highest-paying gigs out there. There are many different ways to get into this business; keep reading to see if any of these jobs sounds like the right fit for you.
- Short Order Cook: Short order cooks usually make the kind of simple but satisfying comfort food we all crave from time to time. Unlike typical back of house cooks, they often whip up their meals right before the customer, whether it’s across a diner counter or in a food truck.
See Friendly’s for Short Order Cook job opportunities.
- Fast-Food Cook: These days, fast food doesn’t just mean McDonald’s. Food trucks are gaining increasing popularity, which means there are more opportunities than ever for beginning cooks looking for part-time work. Fast-food jobs are great places to learn the basics of cooking and build efficient skills to grow upon.
- Prep Cook: Rather than spending their time on the line, prep cooks assist in food preparation. In addition to keeping ingredients stocked and cleaned, they also make sure that they’re ready to be used in recipes. This kind of job will require you to know the difference between a julienne and brunoise cut like the back of your hand.
See Hardee’s for Prep Cook job opportunities.
- Line Cook: Line cooks report directly to their Sous Chef, and they handle multiple food orders at the same time. This job requires the ability to work quickly and multitask, and you also need to have an extensive knowledge of the menu and your particular station.
- Sous Chef: Unlike the previous positions, the Sous Chef role is one of leadership, and it often requires a four-year degree to get the job. You’ll be expected to not just have a knowledge of your menu and culinary techniques, but run a team and come up with unique solutions. These positions aren’t easy to get, so be prepared to show off your skills.
- Executive Chef: Yet another step up, this is a role for people who already have a solid career in restaurant business. You will be expected to act as the mind behind your restaurant and its menu, running your team efficiently even under stress and exhibiting a front-to-back knowledge of each recipe.
- Kitchen Manager: Managers require a special type of leadership skill, as a large part of their job entails building a team of employees and tracking inventory. In many restaurants, kitchen manager and executive chef are one and the same, but if you work in a larger restaurant, the two roles may be separate.
See Fazoli’s for Kitchen manager job opportunities.
- Expediter: The expediter is usually also the kitchen Manager and the executive Chef, but as mentioned above, in larger or more fast-paced environments, the roles might be broken up. The Expediter’s specific role is to prioritize different orders as they come in, making sure that everything comes out of the kitchen and to the table in a timely fashion.
- Pastry Chef: Pastry chefs specialize in baked goods, which require a special kind of precision. In this role, you’ll need to be able to make precise measurements, distinguish between types of bread, and know exactly when sweets need to come out of the oven. You’ll have more luck getting a job as a pastry chef with some education or mentorship experience.
- Dishwasher: If you want to work in a restaurant environment but aren’t quite ready to cook, dishwashers are vital to the success of any food business. Dishwashing is a consistent and sometimes tedious job, but it is great for people who can get into a steady work routine.Front of House Restaurant Jobs
- Host/Hostess: This job requires great people skills, strong organization, and a thorough knowledge of your restaurant’s layout. In addition to taking reservations in person and over the phone, you’ll be contributing to the restaurant atmosphere in a big way; after all, you’re often the first face diners will see.
- Cashier: As a cashier, you need to be able to operate POS (point-of-service) software in addition to having excellent customer service skills. Be prepared to handle money and operate a touch-screen computer on a daily basis in this role.
- Sandwich Maker: Sandwich makers know how to blend style and flavor onto a plate – and they do it all during the busiest times of the day. If you want this kind of job, you’ll need to know your different kinds of bread, what meat goes well with what cheese, and how to add maximum flavor between two slices. You’ll be making Instagram-worthy meals on a daily basis.
- Server: Also called waiters and waitresses, servers often do all the heavy lifting of customer interaction. Not only do you need to carry out multiple table orders with precision, but you need to be able to tell how to give them the best customer experience – whether that means striking up a conversation or giving them space.
See Texas Roadhouse for server job opportunities.
- Busser: Bussers are the important right hand to servers, clearing tables and refilling customer drinks where needed. This is often a fly-on-the-wall job that requires less customer interaction than other front-of-house position; your job is to see when a table needs your assistance and get it done quickly.
- Food Runner: In some restaurants, the busser and the runner might be the same person. In others, the servers are expected to run their orders. As with both of those positions, you’ll be expected to be an expert on your restaurant’s layout and organize multiple food orders at once. Additionally, balance and coordination are key: you’ll be carrying out multiple plates of food at a time, so if you have a case butterfingers, this might not be the job for you.
- General Manager: While putting together the right team is critical to the job of the GM, this job also requires strong organizational skills; you’ll also be ordering the necessary supplies and even contributing to the floorplan of your restaurant. Essentially, your job is to create the perfect atmosphere for your customers, through both the look of your restaurant and the people who staff it.
- Assistant Manager: The assistant manager will carry out many of the same duties of the GM, although they will often spend more time with the employees and the customers. Leadership skills will serve you well in this role, as you will need to have a solid relationship with your staff. And as always, good people skills are important when you’re in a customer-facing job.
- Shift Manager: Shift managers are team leaders, usually one step below the assistant manager. This job is largely devoted to maintaining a steady workflow in a restaurant, working with staff to ensure that workstations are stocked, cleaned, and ready for when the next shift of workers come in. Like the assistant manager, you’ll be regularly interacting with staff and customers, so have your welcoming smile ready.
See Wendy’s for Shift Manager job opportunities.
- Bartender: This job involves a lot more than pouring a beer. Bartenders know the formulas for multiple drinks and exactly how to mix them. And like any other front-of-house job, establishing a strong customer relationship is important. Most importantly, though, you’ll need to be a real booze enthusiast in order to do your job well.
- Barback: Unlike bartenders, barbacks don’t have to be licensed to serve alcohol to do their jobs. This is because they mostly do support and prep work: changing out a keg coupler, stocking limes, and generally keeping the station ready for the bartender. And if someone comes up with a non-alcoholic order, you might be expected to whip that up, too.
- Barista: If you are passionate about the difference between a latte and a macchiato, you might do well as a barista. You’ll need to know about the many different kinds of coffee, how to brew it, and how to make any variety of specialized drinks. And if you know how to do latte art, then you’ll be a star in this role.
- Sommelier: If you can tell where a glass of wine came from just by the smell of it, then you might be a sommelier. Not only will you be expected to be an expert on all different varieties of wine, but you’ll need to put that knowledge to use for customers. Be prepared to explain the differences in samples to others and help them find the one they’ll like the best.