What experience and qualifications do you need for a restaurant job?

If you are on the hunt for a restaurant job, it's important to understand that you can no longer simply walk into an entry level role. The hospitality trade was dealt a huge blow by the recession, and many restaurants were either forced to close or cut costs by making staff redundant. This means that there are a lot of experienced restaurant staff currently looking for work. So how do you ensure that you are able to compete with them?

In general, it's all about experience. Despite many people labelling restaurant jobs as 'unskilled', you'll actually require a range of skills if you want to be successful in your job. Employers look for floor staff who can handle a full tray confidently, memorise specials, match wines with food, advise allergy sufferers, carry three full plates at once and use a corkscrew. Bar staff will be expected to be able to pull pints, change kegs and make cocktails, among other things.

In general, employers look for restaurant staff with at least one year's experience. If you are applying for work in a fine dining restaurant, you will often be required to have at least two years' of silver service experience.

If you don't have any experience working in hospitality, you should highlight any transferable skills that you've picked up in other roles. For example, you learn a lot about customer service while working in retail.

You could also apply for roles such as drinks runners, bar backs and kitchen porters, which normally don't require any experience and offer a good starting point for a career in hospitality.


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