Five Restaurant Job Skills You Can Use to Switch Careers

Many people have a passion for food and would love the idea of working at a restaurant. Some even go after goals like burger joint or pizza business opportunities. However, if you’ve experienced your career growth stalling in the food industry, that dream of being able to cook and serve your own inspired dishes may be slipping away.

As you contemplate a career change, it’s vital to leverage your existing skills. Here are a few strengths you may have built up over the years and some new professions where they could translate well.

Upselling and cross-selling

If you’ve worked the storefront, you’ll know that there’s a particular skill in making the successful upsell or cross-sell to a hungry customer. It’s not just about driving numbers or delivering spiels. Actively listening to each customer for cues and building good rapport will help you identify – and cater to – their individual needs.

This skill can work wonders for you in a career as a sales representative. You’ll be able to translate these factors while learning other sales techniques, driving your success to a more competitive environment with potentially more significant rewards.

Relationship management

Like sales skills, you tend to develop some degree of proper relationship management when you work in front-of-house positions at a restaurant. You’ll often function as a liaison of sorts between the patrons at the tables and the kitchen staff, anticipating and smoothing out issues while reporting them. This ability to multitask and manage situations is what’s needed in customer service positions at a lot of companies, letting you smoothly transition into a new line of work.


Of course, not all of the work in a restaurant is necessarily customer-facing. Back-office tasks you may have handled in the past could include scheduling worker shifts, managing bookings and reservations, maintaining kitchen cleanliness, and even a bit of bookkeeping.

All of these skills are essential in many companies and roles. You can highlight your attention to detail and level of organization and move on to work as a facilities manager, virtual assistant, events planner, human resources manager, or accountant.

Creative displays

Do you take it upon yourself to stay updated and monitor the latest trends in the design world? Your aesthetic tastes can often be put to use in many ways at the restaurant where you work. A degree in art or design may not even bear as much weight as the hands-on experience you’ve gained in crafting eye-catching displays or trendy signage. Leverage that creativity to start your career in design, whether as a visual content marketer or social media manager, and a wide range of industries can open up for you.

Innovation or multiple skills

When you desire a career shake-up, sometimes it’s not about leaving the food industry, but being your own boss. If you have a knack for innovative solutions or honed many skills in your years of experience in the food industry, this might be time for you to explore entrepreneurship.

Are there great opportunities for a food business in your area? Or perhaps you’d like to move into the B2B frontier and become a food distributor or manufacturer? Identify gaps in the local economy so that you can launch your startup with the right concept to fill the market’s need with a profitable venture.

In the modern employment scene, you don’t have to feel constrained by the first job or industry where you started. Make the most of the skills you’ve developed, and your restaurant experience can translate to better opportunities elsewhere.

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