No matter where you live in the United States, you're sure to see a "help wanted" sign for waiters, cooks, bartenders, and other restaurant positions. But if you want to be taken seriously for a job in the restaurant business, you have to realize one thing: Food isn't just nourishment. Food is an art, food heals, food brings people together and, above all, food is money.
As an employee, though, it's up to you to turn that nourishment into revenue. Here are a few things your interviewer will be looking for in both entry- and management-level candidates.
As an entry-level worker, you need to show the following characteristics and skills:
No matter how menial the task, if food is involved, then the stakes are high. Mishandled food can spread disease, harm reputations, and even derail entire businesses.
So when you head into your interview, the most important message you want to convey to your potential employer can be summed up in one word: Trust. Every meal you touch and plate you carry can make or break her business. Prove that you can handle this responsibility.
Nobody takes each meal experience more seriously than your employer—not even the customer. If a meal arrives at a table a little late or cold, the customer will probably get over it. But your employer won't, and neither should you.
If you know how to take your company's high standards and make them your own, and you're willing to go the extra mile to meet and exceed customer expectations, let your manager know.
Can you keep your attention focused and your ears open? Can you remember one instruction that reaches you while you're carrying out another? Can you keep your hands busy, your eyes open and your mind fully engaged at all times? Let your employer know how you handle chaotic, time-critical situations without losing your stride.
Management positions require more outside-the-box thinking and need the following skills:
Something's going wrong in the kitchen. Orders are backing up. Customers are unhappy. Critical items are running low.
If you can quickly assess the situation, isolate the issue, and fix it without losing a beat, you're ready to manage a team in the restaurant industry. If not, you'll need to work on your problem solving skills.
Are you a great leader? Are you fair but firm when employees don't live up to your expectations? Do you deliver instructions clearly and coach struggling employees instead of yelling at them? Most of all, do you have the experience and intuition to match people to tasks that engage their strengths? If so, make this clear in your interview.
Employers don't just need restaurant managers who can motivate and lead teams. They also need managers who can double as accountants, counter clerks, hosts, and sometimes even housekeeping staff.
In the modern small business landscape, managers need to wear many hats, often at the same time. If you can handle money, develop marketing strategies, and even unload items from the dock when necessary, your employer will want to know about this.
For more information on launching a career in the restaurant business, reach out to the job search experts at LiveCareer. Visit the site for resume building tools and tips that can help you get ahead in this demanding field.
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