Traditional Careers in FoodWhen most people think about beginning a career in food, they automatically come up with the more traditional occupations. These include positions like chef, baker, and restaurant manager. Below we have covered some of the common positions so that you can get an idea of the opportunities that these kinds of jobs can offer.
It is an exciting time to become a chef. Some of the hottest trends in food include a shift toward eating ingredients that are grown locally or sustainably, prepared more naturally, and include ethnic spices and flavors. In fact, in one survey, 44 percent of chefs said that the trend of local food sourcing grew the most over the decade ending in 2015.1 Fresh and house-made ingredients are also appealing to today’s consumers, as well as street food and food trucks.There are many opportunities to pursue your creative culinary passion, regardless of whatever your specific interests may be. Whether you want to run a kitchen in a local boutique restaurant or become a top chef for a major franchise, one of your best bets for beginning your career is to obtain a culinary arts education. It can give you a solid foundation from which you can start building your career as a chef.
* Average salary—$45,920
* Top-end salary—$74,170 or more
* Projected job growth and openings—Nine percent, 11,300
2. Baker or Pastry Artist
If you love the idea of sharing delicious breads or delectable desserts with the masses, then becoming a baker or pastry artist could be an ideal choice for you. There is a real know-how and science behind crafting perfectly baked goods. You may be wise to begin mastering your skills in a baking or pastry arts program. It can give you the footing needed to grab attention in the baking world.With carefully fine-tuned skills, you could be ready to do just about anything, whether you want to set up your own specialty pastry shop, prepare artisanal breads for local grocers and markets, or create a variety of mouthwatering treats in a large commercial bakery.
* Average salary—$26,270
* Top-end salary—$38,400 or more
* Projected job growth and openings—Seven percent, 13,000
3. Restaurant Manager
You could embark on a culinary career that focuses on operations. With jobs like restaurant, kitchen, or catering manager, a food service management position is a great option for individuals who possess both a strong business sense and a love for culinary arts. And there are a number of restaurant management schools that can help aspiring professionals like you enter the industry.Depending on the size of establishment you work for, you could secure a management position that focuses on the front of house, back of house, or both. Front-house managers focus on the serving and bartending staff. They ensure that customer service standards are being met and that food and drinks are coming out as expected. Back-house managers, on the other hand, are responsible for the kitchen and food preparation staff. They oversee the kitchen, check on portion quality and size, and make sure that health and safety standards are upheld.Most management positions will also require you to be involved in areas like staffing and scheduling. You could be responsible for interviewing, hiring, training, and ensuring that each shift is staffed adequately. You could also oversee areas like ordering, inventory management, and costing. It really depends on the type of business and the scope of your role.
* Average salary—$53,640
* Top-end salary—$83,010 or more
* Projected job growth and openings—Eight percent, 3,700
4. Hospitality Manager
This position is sometimes similar to that of a food service manager except that it includes the addition of overseeing accommodations. Hospitality managers, also known as lodging managers, typically oversee entire facilities that include both accommodations and food services, like hotels and resorts. They tend to focus on overall guest experiences and ensure that the business is organized and profitable. Hospitality managers can be involved in many areas of financial, human resources, and operations management.If you like the sound of this interesting career path, then you may want to consider attending a hospitality management school. You could find a program that prepares you to work for all types and sizes of lodging establishments, from small inns to large corporate resorts.
* Average salary—$57,810
* Top-end salary—$94,330 or more
* Projected job growth and openings—Nine percent, 2,800Unique Careers in FoodWhen you research unique career possibilities in the food industry, you can come up with hundreds of ideas. There are multiple niche areas popping up in food service and production. Take a look at a few of these exciting possibilities below to see if any of them appeal to you.5. Bed & Breakfast OwnerMany bed and breakfast (B&B) owners would tell you that their work is a labor of love. You need to enjoy meeting and engaging with people of all backgrounds, providing memorable hospitality in your home, and serving your guests delicious food. And there are good opportunities in the B&B industry. In fact, the bed and breakfast market grew by 4.6 percent from 2010 to 2015.5A growing number of travelers are seeking the personalized experiences that B&Bs can offer over larger resorts and hotels. Along with free breakfasts, B&Bs often include free parking, Wi-Fi connections, and even evening wine and appetizer services. Guests may also benefit from personalized trip planning and transportation services, all of which are typically included in the price of their stay.Because bed and breakfasts are privately owned businesses, salary data is not available. But if you are running a small four-room B&B that operates on an average of 50-percent capacity (which is realistic for a B&B over the course of a year), you can expect to earn approximately $62,000 per year. That is based on a nightly rate of $85 and does not take into account your operational costs. Of course, the amount that you earn is based on a number of factors including the area in which you are based, how much you charge a night, if you provide add-on services, and your occupancy rate (which typically improves over time as your business becomes more known).Individuals interested in opening a bed and breakfast can benefit from business management training
. It can provide you with a solid understanding of key business principles from accounting to marketing, which could help you build a successful business a little faster. Some programs even include a culinary component.6. Cookbook AuthorWhether as an avid home cook or a culinary professional, becoming a cookbook author could be the food career that you are after. A good first step is to develop a theme for your cookbook. Then you would likely want to contact potential publishers to get an idea of their interest. Another option is to look into crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter that can enable you to obtain funding without the backing of a publisher.Once you have come up with a viable idea and a means to get it to the market, you can work on perfecting and compiling your best tried-and-true recipes and accompanying them with beautiful photos. You will want to write a book that is both on-trend with consumers and has a look that grabs their attention.And it is worth noting that many cookbook authors garner attention by food blogging as a supplement to their publications. A food blog can be a great way to gain followers and create publicity for your book before it has hit the shelves. You may even want to check out some writing schools
that could help you acquire authoring skills that can enhance the content of your blogs or books.
* Average salary—$69,130
* Top-end salary—$114,530 or more
* Projected job growth and openings (for all authors and writers)—Two percent, 3,1007. Food EntrepreneurThe food industry has led to all kinds of niche markets. As a result, many people have become food entrepreneurs. These people have usually built successful businesses based on one or two specialty products that they have developed in their own kitchens. And with the explosion of the Internet, food entrepreneurs are able to reach markets that were previously hard to access.If you make a to-die-for BBQ sauce, mouthwatering salsa, or other prepared food that could be commercially successful, then you may want to become a food entrepreneur. With solid business skills, (which you could acquire at anentrepreneur school
) and one or more quality products, you could be on your way to creating a successful business. You’ll need to become familiar with areas related to food labeling, permitting, regulations, and health and safety. And you’ll also want to enhance your sales efforts by making contacts with food distributors and connecting with local retailers that could sell your products.Because entrepreneurs are self-employed, salary and job outlook data is not available. Your earnings and potential growth of your business rests upon your product mix, pricing, and promotions. If you are offering a product that appeals to a large market segment, and you work hard to establish your business, then you could make a good living while being able to pursue your passion.8. Professional Food ForagerA food forager is most known as a person who goes into the forest and other natural settings to find foods that are grown in the wild. However, a new career field is emerging for professional food foragers who search through farmers’ markets and other local businesses in order to source food for restaurants.Chefs do not typically have the time to source ingredients like locally grown produce or artisanal products, so they hire professional food foragers to do it for them. Foragers source the ingredients and sometimes even educate the chefs and restaurant staff as to the origin of the items.Since this is a relatively new field, earning and job growth data is not readily available. However, a 2015 survey found that 68 percent of restaurant customers were more likely to choose restaurants that use local food items, and 60 percent of customers were more likely to frequent restaurants that offer eco-friendly food.1 So as more restaurants tap into this trend, it’s likely that professional food foraging services will become more in-demand.9. Research ChefMost individuals working in this field are professionally trained chefs who also possess backgrounds in food science. Research chefs come up with new foods and dishes for food-manufacturing companies, restaurants, and other food-based businesses. They often have their hands in areas related to research, product development, marketing, and sales. Many research chefs report that their days offer a lot of variety. They can be found doing anything from conducting research on the newest food trends and attending industry trade shows to developing ingredients or dishes in kitchens and engaging with customers and focus groups.Careers in the food industry of this nature can take several years to achieve. You may want to consider obtaining culinary arts training
to get started. Then, while you gain experience in a professional kitchen, you can take food science courses that could support your goal of becoming a research chef.
* Average salary—$48,430
* Top-end salary—$83,990 or more
* Projected job growth and openings—31 percent, 1,400