If you pursue a Catering and Hospitality career you probably already know the industry is fantastic to be part of. You meet a wide variety of people from all walks of life and teamwork is at its best. After all, this industry thrives on reputation and providing an outstanding service. We’re sure that is why you entered the industry to begin with.
We know everyone who wants to pursue a career in this industry has one thing in common, passion! Whether that be a love of food, providing the small touches that make the difference or you’re really passionate about customer service; whatever it may be, it’s why you love the industry.
Nevertheless, at some point in your career, you will want to get to the next level. Having worked within the industry for over 30 years, there are few themes that never age. That is why we have put together a list of our Top Ten Tips to help you be successful in your catering and hospitality career.
1. Develop a Career Plan
“Failing to plan is planning to fail” – a quote you may have heard before but it’s important to know what you want to achieve and by when. You need to have goals you can strive for. We’re not just talking about your next step on the ladder but what is your ultimate goal and how you want to progress. You need a 1, 3, 5 and 10 year plan.
For example maybe your ultimate goal is to run your own business one day. At the moment you’re working as a waiter and have been inspired by the business owner you’re working for. Your next step isn’t likely to be quitting your job and setting up your own business, you need to learn the ropes first. Below might be your plan:
Current Job: Waiter
1 Year Goal: Restaurant Supervisor
3 Year Goal: General Manager
5 Year Goal: Operations Director
10 Year goal: Own your own chain of restaurants
2. Talk to Your Manager About Your Plan
Don’t be afraid to ask! If you don’t talk to your manager, supervisor, or boss (whatever their title), how are they supposed to know what your plan is? If you work in a bigger establishment or company, you may have regular reviews about your progress and where you want to head to. This is a great opportunity to discuss your plan and talk through with them, how you will get there. Ask for their help and advice.
If you work in a smaller company where it is more all hands on deck, you’ll need to ask for some time to speak to your manager about your goals and if they can help you with that. Ask them what you could improve on or how you could prove you are worthy of stepping up to the next level.
3. Show Your Willingness To Work Hard and Consistently Learn
The Catering and Hospitality industry is fast paced and things can change quickly, therefore it’s important to be adaptable, flexible and willing to work hard. Regardless of how you’re feeling, bringing a can do, positive attitude to work will go a long way in this industry.
Take advantage of any opportunities where you can take on extra responsibilities or have the opportunity to train. It will prove to those above you that you have a willingness and eagerness to consistently learn and improve.
4. Share Best Practice
Whenever you reach the next rung of the Catering and Hospitality career ladder, one of the responsibilities will be to train those underneath you. A great way to demonstrate this, is by doing it at the level before. For example maybe you are a Kitchen Porter and you would like to become a Commis Chef. You could share your current knowledge and experience with anyone new who comes into the business, i.e a new waiter starts and doesn’t know where things are but you do. Sharing this and putting time aside to show new employees aspects of their role will showcase your understanding of the industry and business.
Listening is a key skill in any industry but particularly in Catering and Hospitality because customer service is so important. Everyone plays a part; from a chef to a waiter, or a kitchen porter to a general manager. Listening to customers and each other is key. A good listener is someone who can decipher the important information out of a conversation. This is critically important if you are reporting a complaint or an instruction back to someone else, if you get that wrong, the outcome could be impacted.
6. Share Your Ideas
It does not matter if you are starting out in your career or have climbed up a few rungs of the ladder already, ideas should always be welcome. Businesses survive by constant improvement and development. Using your Initiative and thinking outside the box to solve problems could support a business to be more successful.
For example you have started a new job as a Chef De Partie in a new restaurant and you have some ideas for new recipes and dishes for the menu, don’t be afraid to put them forward. One of those dishes could be a best seller!
Or maybe, you’ve moved Bar Manager roles and in your old position, they used some great technology to advise customers when their meals were ready, suggesting this could add that final touch to the customer service that they need.
7. Increase Your Industry and Business Knowledge
If you want to be successful and you know what your plan is, part of that is learning as much as you can. Keep up to date with the latest industry developments, for example hygiene or what the food trends are in current times. Understand the type of business you’re in and how that operates compared to other businesses i.e a bistro compared to a restaurant.
8. Understand What Type of Business You Want to Work For
We are not just talking about the business type here, I.e hotel vs restaurant. That is important as the way different types operate need to suit your working style but we’re also talking about culture.
Having the ability to know what working culture is right for you will give you the best chance of success. Here are some things to consider:
- Looking at how you like to be managed- do you need more structure or are you happy being left to your own devices
- What type of people do you like to work with- relaxed, fun, assertive, attentive? Think about the personality traits that fit well with you
- Small business or big corporation? They differ and you will prefer one of the other
- Think about places you’ve been that you’ve liked, why did you like it?
9. Don’t Job Hop
Sometimes we all move jobs only to realise it isn’t for us and move on fairly quickly. This is OK once or twice in your career but doing this regularly and moving every 3/6/9 months is not.
Why? It makes you look like you don’t have the commitment or willingness to work. Think about it from an employer’s point of view. If they see you’ve moved a lot, why would they invest time and money into training you? In their eyes, in a few months you’ll leave and find somewhere new anyway. In other words, not only are they now a staff member down, but they have to go through the whole recruitment process again which takes up their time.
This is why it is important, as mentioned in a previous point, to understand what you want in your career; the type of business you want to work for and the culture you want to work within! All of these points will ensure you work somewhere you will love and your career will be successful.
10. Find a Mentor
Finally, to succeed in any career, having someone who can advise and guide you is imperative. Mentors can also have added benefits such as opening doors through their network of contacts as well as challenging you to be the best version of yourself.
It could be someone you work with or someone you admire. If you don’t know the person ask if they would be happy to meet you or Zoom you (depending on when you are reading this!) as you’d like to ask them for some advice. Whoever you choose, pick someone who has the experience to support you to get to where you want to be. Ask if you can meet them every few months to keep your career on track.
Hopefully these ten top tips will support you to get to your Catering and Hospitality career dream.
If you feel you’re ready to take the next step in your catering and hospitality career, contact us today. We’ll chat through your career plan, goals, and your ideal working environment to ensure we find you a suitable role.