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Looking for a Restaurant Job? 10 Tips for Working in the Food Service Industry

The restaurant industry is fast-paced and unpredictable by nature. Front-of-house employees are required to smile despite multiple priorities, irritable visitors, and food order mishaps. Kitchen staff must remain focused, calm, and quick while multitasking and providing input to the servers. Let's face it: working in a restaurant is a difficult job.

That is why it is critical to consider which restaurant environment you want to work in and what position is best suited for you, plus develop techniques to manage the mental and physical pressures.

Salisbury House restaurants care deeply about its staff, and we start careers with a range of job opportunities plus, we include in-house paid training, staff discounts and flexible scheduling. We have 10 tips for the food service industry or people interested in restaurant jobs.

The Restaurant Industry vs The Food Servicing Industry

People frequently mistake the food service industry for the restaurant industry. In reality, the two names are used interchangeably, but they have different qualifications.

To be categorized under the restaurant industry, the business must include a seating area for dine-in eating. The food service sector comprises businesses that prepare and serve meals without expecting customers to eat at their facility.

You’ll find fine dining, fast-casual, family facilities, etc., in the restaurant industry. In the food service industry, you’ll discover take-out outlets, caterers, food trucks, etc.

Different Types of Restaurant Jobs

Since there are different types of restaurants, various positions are available, and the number of hires will fluctuate. The most common jobs are:

  • Managers: general, assistant, kitchen, and front-of-house.

  • Kitchen Staff: executive chef, sous chef, line cook, and prep cook.

  • Front-of-house: host, server, busser, and bartender.

Applying for Restaurant Jobs - 3 Tips

Restaurants are known for hiring new faces to revitalize their team and meet demands. But, there are a few things that will impress a hiring manager and convince them that you have the skills to handle a position within the food service industry.

Make sure you're ready for your restaurant job interview; research general interview questions and be familiar with the specific location you’re applying at. Plus, you should have questions to ask – this proves you’re genuinely interested in this position and want to pursue it.

How you present yourself is crucial, so follow these tips, and you'll be able to find work faster than you can say Worcester.

1. Get your Serving It Safe & Food Handler Certification

Having the Serving It Safe and Food Handler certification on hand will give you an edge over the entry-level competition and let you compete with applicants with prior experience. Plus, some restaurants such as Salisbury House, request that you’re certified upon being hired rather than your first 30 days.

2. Include the Right Keywords on Your Resume

Resumes aren't very exciting, but you should gauge yours towards the position or location you’re applying for/at. The job description should provide enough information to determine which skills you should highlight, or you can browse the restaurant’s website to gain insight.

If we use Salisbury House restaurants as an example: we might be interested in applicants who have experience cooking breakfast items or meals, have knowledge of craft beer, or have worked in family restaurants.

3. Research Interview Questions and Learn About the Restaurant

Depending on the restaurant job you’re applying for, the hiring manager will have different questions. Although, some common standard questions are:

  • Why do you enjoy working in the restaurant industry?

  • What do you think are the most important skills for this restaurant role?

  • How do you handle your mistakes when working in a restaurant?

  • What does excellent customer service mean to you?

  • What hours are you available to work?

Name-dropping facts about the restaurant, the menu, or the location will showcase your knowledge and prove that you took the interview seriously.

A job interview in an all white office. The interviewer is female and is holding a clipboard. The applicant is facing the interviewer, so you can only see his long black dreads. They're sitting at a white table with two coffees on it.

5 Tips for Working in a Restaurant Kitchen

Nobody wants to make a mistake while working, but eventually, it happens. It’s best to be prepared for any emotional or physical toll before you start your career in a professional culinary setting.

Here are five suggestions for working in a professional food establishment.

Be Aware of the Surroundings

The front-of-house and kitchen areas are fast-moving and slightly chaotic environments. If you’re unaware of your surroundings, you could quickly injure yourself, a staff member or worse case, a customer.

It’s common practice for kitchen staff to say “behind you” if they’re behind someone, “hot” if they’re carrying a hot dish, or “may I” if they have a question. This keeps the communication open and helps everyone be aware of moving elements.

Failure to observe your surroundings or communicate with co-workers is regarded as disrespectful and hazardous. It also demonstrates that you have not spent enough time in a professional restaurant.

A male barista is fixing a coffee machine. A female barista is walking near him and looking. They're both behind the counter.

Have a Clear Understanding of Tasks

If you haven't completely grasped your allocated tasks or aren’t entirely familiar with the menu – ask questions; so you have a clear understanding of your responsibilities and how the restaurant wants to be represented.

Of course, asking repeated questions could irritate your coworkers, but executing your job correctly is most important. The culinary atmosphere is all about consistency, and asking for clarification is less likely to frustrate people than misinforming a customer or cooking a dish incorrectly.

Two baristas looking at an espresso maker. The female barista is pointing at the machine while the male looks over.

Move Precisely and Mindfully.

Movement efficiency is critical whether you’re working in the kitchen or front-of-house. If you rush around aimlessly, you will affect the flow of your co-workers and spoil the ambiance for customers. Take a minute to consider what you want to accomplish, and eliminate any needless motions. Dividing your procedures into manageable parts will help increase efficiency.

Two baristas making coffee. The male barista is making espresso, the maker is in front of him. The female barista is cleaning up coffee beans. There are coffee bean roasters in front of her.

Prioritize Hygiene and Organization.

While working as front-of-house staff, your appearance should reflect the type of service you’re providing. Certainly, people have personal styles, but in this industry, hygiene is the top priority. Therefore, clean hands and fingernails, no strong scents, and no weathered attire.

For kitchen staff, stations and attires should be tidy: all equipment should be in its appropriate location, aprons and jackets should be as clean as possible, hair should be tied back or concealed, and hands washed regularly.

A female barista is cleaning the window sill of a cafe.  The window is the size of the wall and has plants underneath it. The barista has short brown hair and is wearing a white shirt and brown apron.

Maintain Your Cool.

Restaurant jobs are notoriously stressful. When you are worried, it causes others to get apprehensive, and it might even make the customers uneasy. Even if you are frustrated on the inside, you must try your best to appear calm on the surface. This will demonstrate to your coworkers and customers that you are confident in your talents

A male barista is fixing the espresso maker. He's holding a cloth wear the coffee pours.  He's wearing a hat, has a auburn beard  and tattoos on his arm. A female barista is looking at him, you can only see her white shirt and brown apron.

5 Self-Care Tips for Restaurant Workers

Employees of all positions and industries should create a self-care regimen that stabilizes their mental health. People with restaurant jobs, especially, need coping mechanisms. A heavily referred 2015 study reported menial jobs like waitressing are far more stressful than professions like medicine or architecture.

Working in a culinary environment means long hours, being on your feet, and handling irritable customers. Although the heightened stress and its label as a more stressful job actually come from not feeling empowered or appreciated and missing out on sociable hours. These personal elements affect the perception of one’s self-worth. Lacking them in a career will weigh heavier on a person than the complications and pressures of employment.

Unfortunately, feeling empowerment and appreciation from an employer and schedule switches aren’t in your control. However, we found the below simple self-care practices help boost morale and balance chaotic work days. Try integrating them into your life and see if they bring you any release!

Don’t forget about your daily dose of Vitamin D and Fresh Air.

You will get great exercise throughout the day working as a front-of-house or kitchen staff member, but you won’t receive the same benefits that vitamin D and fresh air provide. Sunlight reduces stress and depression, improves bone strength and the immune system, and can increase your lifespan.

Fresh air has similar benefits, like cleaning your lungs, boosting mood, lowering heart rate, and increasing energy levels. All restaurant workers should take one of their breaks outdoors if the weather permits.

A waitress is sitting at a table while on her phone. The phone is between her ear and shoulder. She's bald, wearing gold hoops and all white. She's in a glass, screened in room, with sunshine and greenery.

Say NO to energy drinks and caffeinated drinks.

When you’re in the middle of a dinner rush or are closing at 2 am, an energy drink or caffeinated beverage full of sugar seems very tempting. But, most of us have felt the dreaded side effects of caffeine burnout: jitters, anxiety, upset stomach, and unable to concentrate.

Instead, opt for lemon water with mint, caffeine-free tea, stay hydrated, eat well, drink or smell peppermint, or take a break to listen to energizing music.

A cocktail glass with lemon, mint, and water. It's on an off-white table.

Treat yourself after your shift ends.

Many restaurant workers carry the responsibility of putting others before themselves; this can weigh heavily on the mind and body. Once your shift is over, tend to your mental and physical health rather than going straight to bed or spending time on your phone.

Pamper yourself with a foot massage or hot bath, treat yourself to a sweet dessert or savoury meal, or give yourself a break with a guided meditation or yoga session.

Three restaurant workers sitting together at a restaurant looking at one of their phones. The woman on the left has brown hair and it's in a bun, she is pointing at the phone. The woman in the middle is bald, wearing all white and is holding espresso. The woman on the right has short blond hair, is wearing a black shirt and is holding the phone.

Eat healthy foods, and don’t skip meals.

Shift work can distort your eating schedule and biological clock, so it’s important to maintain personal schedules and properly fuel your body when you have the time. When you’re on your feet all day and are required to work through rushes, it can be hard to sneak away for a snack or bring your own meal.

Salisbury House workers have the perk of receiving staff discounts and working at a restaurant that serves healthy, fresh food. If you’re not in that situation, we recommend keeping apples, oranges, dried fruits, trail mix, or granola bars in your bag or locker; that way, if you can’t afford to buy food, you have something healthy to keep your energy high.

A bowl of food being put down on a restaurant table. The bowl is white and teal inside. The food looks like a fried rice dish.

Build professional relationships with coworkers.

Building professional relationships within your workplace creates a safe space for yourself and your coworkers. When there is an overload of orders, frustrated customers, or other stressful situations, you can lean on each other to boost morale. You can take a quick breather and vent or make each other laugh, plus, working through the holiday season won’t be as dreadful.

Three restaurant workers talking and laughing with each other. They're in a staff room and are all wearing pale blue aprons. The woman on the left has blond hair and is wearing a stripped hat. The woman in the middle is bald and is wearing a white shirt. The woman on the right has long dark braided hair and is wearing a black shirt.

Restaurant Jobs in Winnipeg - Salisbury House Is Hiring

If you’re looking to kickstart or advance your career in the restaurant industry, Salisbury House Restaurant would be pleased to receive your application. As of November 2022, we’re looking to fill front-of-house, back-of-house, and management positions.

Salisbury House posts all restaurant jobs in Winnipeg that we’re trying to fill on our website, or you can submit your application for any position, and we will keep it on record.

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