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How Do I Pursue a Food Service Career?

Waiters at upscale restaurants are expected to be familiar with various wine labels.
Working at a cafeteria is one food service career.
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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 09 April 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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A food service career is any position that is involved with preparing and serving food to customers. This usually assumes the food service is being done outside the home, and it is often implied that the food will be prepared for several customers at once or throughout a day. If you want to pursue a food service career, it helps to first determine what kind of jobs would be most interesting to you; you may, for example, want to start a restaurant, or you may want to work for a catering service.

Restaurant jobs can be quite varied, and they are not always difficult to get. While most entry level positions are not considered food service career positions, they can open doors to career opportunities. Taking a job as a waiter or waitress, for example, may not be considered a food service career, though in some restaurants, being a career server is an option. Taking a position as a waiter or waitress will often open up other food service career opportunities, however, such as restaurant manager, assistant manager, chef, and more.

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Other food service careers may focus on distribution. Food distributors can deliver food items to restaurants, bars, and even schools on a daily basis or at other regular intervals. A career in distribution may mean you will work as a manager or owner, as a delivery driver, as a sales representative, or even as a buyer who coordinates with food manufacturers. Like the restaurant business, working toward a food service career in distribution often means working your way up from the bottom, though if you have a college education, you are more likely to be able to get a position without starting at the bottom.

Caterers are businesses that will prepare, deliver, and serve food in a variety of settings, not just in a restaurant. Caterers will often go to specific sites to deliver and serve food, rather than having customers come to a restaurant or other set location to eat. Weddings and other events often require caterers to serve guests, as do business functions, seminars, fairs, and more. Working for a caterer as a server will allow you the opportunity to work up through the ranks, but you can also start your own catering business if you have plenty of cooking experience and are willing to take some courses on running a business.

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