Where to Get the Best Work Experience

You probably have to earn money anyway and if you goal is to work in the Food & Beverage industry, get a job in a restaurant. Here’s why.

Relevant Work Experience

When you graduate you have a degree, diploma, certificate under your arm, but there’s a good chance you will be told–if that’s all you have–you are not qualified because you have no relevant work experience.

To avoid this situation, get some ‘skills’ while you are still at school that are not only transferable (soft skills) so can be applied to any industry, but skills that will jump start your career in food.

Benefits of working in a Restaurant

I worked in a restaurant from the age of 16 until I finished university.  I can honestly say it was the most fun and rewarding job I have ever had.  The skills you acquire create a solid foundation for any job, because pretty much every job requires you to work with people.

I decided to reach out to an old family friend, someone who lived across the road from me growing up in our little village in the UK who has spent over 30 years in the hospitality industry.

Andy Vaughan started working in food & beverage when he was 14 – he’s now 47 and the celebrated General Manager of Little Beach House Malibu (Soho House).  He said it’s the only thing that he has ever done.

Great Employee’s Have These Skills

I asked him what the top 3 skills a great employee needs.  He said for front of house, his best employees are hospitable, empathetic and have a great work ethic.  For back of house he said they need dedication, a strong work ethic and lots of patience.

Whether you are the dishwasher or the face of the restaurant, these skills are so important as you move forward in your career.

I asked him if he would recommend this as a career path and if he could tell me the highlights, as well as what the shit sandwich is (I stole this phrase from author Elizabeth Gilbert, who eloquently states there’s always a shit sandwich–doesn’t matter what job you have–you just have to decide on the flavour!)

I love working with people. It’s all about relationships, especially when you get to my level. But day to day, to make people return, they must feel invested in the product. There must be a reason for them to return. The industry is far less transactional than it once was. Guests need to feel a connection.

He went on……”The shit sandwich is the pressure of making sure it works no matter what the cost to the business. You must remember why you are doing it. It is not just to make a profit. It is about the guest (customer) always;

Every Job, Every Industry

He went on to explain that the restaurant business teaches you about people and the nuances that makes them tick;

It teaches you to be empathetic to everyone’s needs. It teaches you that even when you feel low and might want to stay at home, you need to get to work because there are a team of people there that rely on you.

Work experience

I can’t think of a better training ground for any career–but if your goal is to work in the food & beverage industry–think about the food handling and food safety training you can also add to your resume.

How’s that for relevant work experience?

Andy also recommended a book and a video ‘Setting the table’ by Danny Meyer. It teaches you everything you should know about hospitality.

Ross Schaffer – Inspiring Customer Service is THIS EASY just about sums up everything you need to know about customer service and your career!

If you have read the book ‘Setting the Table’ what did you think of it? Please share this article if you found it useful or know someone who might 🙂

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