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Career Change for Restaurant Servers and Managers

Updated on June 5, 2016

Tips for Restaurant Servers or Managers Looking to Change Careers

Many restaurant servers, and those who go on to become managers, start out because they think waiting tables is a great way to earn cash when they're young - and they're right. When I was a server in my early 20's I was making more money than most of my friends who had just graduated from college. I loved the business so much I decided to make it a career.

By the time I went to culinary school in NYC, I already had several years experience as a server and some limited experience as a manager. Once I graduated from culinary school, I worked my way up to managing fine dining restaurants and even worked with a few celebrity chefs. The exposure to amazing restaurants, farmers markets, and specialty shops in NYC allowed me to absorb as much knowledge about food, wine and service as I could take in.

Once I had some management experience, I continued my career as a restaurant consultant. I helped create a highend restaurant point-of-sale system; and consulted on project implementations for various clients, from a Starbucks franchisee to a small Jamacain restaurant in Queens. Finally, I reached my 10 year career goal and opened my own upscale restaurant. It was a very creative and exciting time in my life!

Unfortunately the economy put a damper on my long term career plans of being a notable restaurateur, and my partners and I had to close the business. I was devastated, but after much soul searching, I realized it was time for me to leave the restaurant industry behind. But I had no idea what to do next. How would my ability to name 25 different types of cheese or mushrooms come in handy? Who would care if I was able to debate the pros and cons of the different styles of service for various concepts?

I assumed I had no transferable skills that would be of value in the business world; I figured I would have to start over from scratch and learn a new trade. Turns out, I was wrong. I had a lot of soft skills that made me valuable with employers, once I got my foot in the door. And most likely, you do too.

Below are some ideas for servers and managers who might be trying to change careers.

Career Paths to Consider for Servers and Manager

  • Administration
  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Event Planning
  • Facility Management
  • Project Management

© 2012 beckyleigh


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