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Best Careers in the Hospitality and Entertainment Industry or Food-o-Tainment

Updated on June 24, 2012
Las Vegas
Las Vegas | Source

Understanding the Leisure and Hospitality Industry

The US Federal Government defines the Leisure and Hospitality Industry as comprising these areas of work:

  1. Arts, entertainment, and recreation,
  2. Food services and drinking places, and
  3. Hotels and other accommodations that include Bed and Breakfast inns, campgrounds, and others.

When a large proportion of America thinks about hospitality as a line of work, they may envision fine dining in vacation resorts or casino hotels, room service, concierge services, banquet services and any number of Tourism and Hotel jobs.However, the field of hospitality is much larger, as is shown in the US official definitions. People may think of a Matre 'D or a casino host, but Hospitality includes jobs they have never imagined.

Job Training in Service and Hosptality

My favorite curriculum and lesson plan in adult education classes I supervised for 10 years included the Restaurant Simulation. This was different from certain vocational programs that taught text book versions of cooking, management, and AP/AR and finance, with a few field trips thrown in.

My simulation began with 8 weeks of core coursework in Mathematics that even included comparison shopping, Sciences related to food service, storage, and preparation; health department codes, English and writing for creating menus, restaurant reports (including employee evaluations and other), and communicating with customers, coworkers, and management, History of foods and their recipes, EEO regulations, interviewing and hiring practices and practical experience, and other pertinent areas.

Two of the most successful restaurant simulations included a Russian Restaurant and an American Southern Cuisine Restaurant. Both were fun and used traditional recipes and foods.

Over the course of a final week of preparation, we would set up a simple restaurant venue with kitchen, dining area, and lobby. We passed out play money to all the other departments in the building to use on the Friday of that week in our restaurant. Then the class composed classified ads for an in-house newspaper that advertised the positions for the business. We created an interviewing and hiring panel, took parts as construction and city health department inspectors, and proceeded all of the tasks necessary to staff and run a casual dining restaurant.

Not only did nearly all of these student participating in the projects graduate with GED certificates faster than other students that chose not to participate or attended classes at other times during the year, but they were able to find substantial full-time employment and/or be accepted into a community college or university more quickly as well. Some of them even found careers in hospitality.

Michael Flatley - Lord of the Dance & World Champion Dancer

Ohio Historical Society Presentation - Prehistoric Smoking Pipes

Disney Land "Dream Job" Winners

2008 Entry - Disney Dream Job Chef Captain Jack Sparrow

Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation

This sector of the industry includes many seasonal and/or part-time jobs for relatively young workers, but many older workers find these first and second careers at Disney World and DIsneyland! In addition, almost half of the employed need no more classroom education beyond high school or GED. On the Job Training (OJT) works well.

Jobs include A) live performances/events (including theater, rock bands,etc); B) historical, cultural, or educational exhibits (Colonial Williamsburg, the Ohio Historical Society); and C) recreation or leisure-time activities that include sports.

For suggestions for finding such employment, see:

Summer Jobs for Youth

Summer Jobs for College and Adult Workers

Although some of these careers are low paying and transient, some people create great success for themselves in them; notably, lover performance stage actors and musical performers.

Occupations and Careers

There is overlap among the three sectors of Leisure and Hospitality, but these positions are unique to this first sector and the lsit is not all-inclusive


  • Managers, such as Agents


  • Archivists, Curators, and Museum Techs
  • Artists and related workers
  • Designers
  • Actors
  • Producers and directors
  • Athletes and sports competitors & Commentators
  • Coaches and scouts
  • Dancers, Musicians and Singers
  • Public Relations specialists
  • Security guards


  • Lifeguards, ski patrol, etc.
  • Ushers, lobby attendants, and ticket takers
  • Tour guides and escorts
  • Child care workers/Nannies
  • Fitness trainers and aerobics instructors
  • Rental Clerks

Food and Alcohol Service

Food service and drinking places offer many youth their first employment. Over 20% of them are ages 16 - 19.

Cooks, wait staff, and all food-prep and serving workers make up 60+% of all occuations in this secrot of the industry. Many are part-time -- even on the Food Network, where ALTON BROWN and Good Eats is not even a paying gig! It is good publicity, though and he does several times part-time that add up to many hours a week.

Generally, turnover is high in this part of the industry. Even chefs travel around the world in accepting new, lucrative opportunities. Beyond that, chefs like Anothny Bourdain combine entertainment an dfood service to travel arund the world and try new foods and ancient odd sustenance of several cable TV channels. Then you have shows like Hell's Kitchen and Survior, with contestants trying to figure out what to eat and how to cook it..

Perhaps we could call all this Food-o-tainment.


  • limited-service eating places: fast-food, cafeterias, Taca Trucks. snack bars, nonalcoholic beverage bars (Starbucks), concessions stands at events.
  • Full-service restaurants: places where customers order, are served, and consume goods while seated, and then pay.
  • Drinking places - bars, pubs/taverns, (night)clubs.
  • Special food services: food-service contractors, catering, and mobile food-service vendors, including some taco Trucks that move from site to site.

Employment Projections for Food & Alcohol Careers Through 2016

High Demand jobs highlighted
High Demand jobs highlighted

Colony Hotel, South Beach FL

(public domain)
(public domain)

Hotels and Accomodations

This sector of the industry is summed up as "places to stay." People travel for business, for pleasure, for attending family events, to look for work, and to "find themselves." Thus, the variety of places to stay is mind boggling.

You may have seen the luxurious 5-star hotel on TV, in the movies, or on a vacation; but, have you ever stayed in a Youth Hostel? While not a lowly flophouse, these establishments are usually no-frills, communal, and can be fun. How about a camping park? Ronald McDonald Houses offer rooms to families of sick children near hospitals. In short, any place to stay the night is in this sector of the industry.


All of the following jobs are increasing in demand through 2016, except gaming (gambling) change makers.


General & operations managers, Lodging managers, Meeting and convention planners; Accountants and auditors


  • Security guards, Chefs/cooks, Supervisors/managers of food prep & service
  • Food prep workers
  • Bartenders
  • Fast food and counter workers
  • Wait Staff
  • Food servers not in restaurants
  • Dining room/cafeteria attendants, bartender helpers
  • Dishwashers
  • Hosts/hostesses
  • Supervisors/managers for housekeepers and janitors
  • Janitors and cleaners; Maids and housekeepers
  • Landscaping and grounds staff
  • Gaming supervisors and dealers; Amusement and recreation attendants and related workers
  • Baggage porters and bellhops; Concierges
  • Sales: Cashiers, Gaming change people, Booth cashiers; Sales reps


  • Office and Administrative Support
  • Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations
  • Laundry and dry-cleaning workers
  • Taxi drivers and chauffeurs
  • Parking lot attendants


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    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      10 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Sure, not everyone needs to go to culinary school!

    • Pam Pounds profile image

      Pam Pounds 

      10 years ago from So Cal Girl in the Midwest!

      Interesting and enjoyable hub, Patty! In my career, I've had to plan large corporate meetings and was client liaison for a food service vendor. This was how I attained such an interest in food. My favorite part was learning the "back of house" work that took place in the kitchens.

      Alas, I may have missed my calling, since I never went to culinary school, but who's to say one day I won't be a partner in a restaurant venture?? Thanks - and good luck to MM's daughter!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      10 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      That's great! Specific duties of the jobs can be found at the DOL Occupational Handbook 2008 - 2009 (updated yearly) online and comparative salaries across the nation can be found at for each occupation.

      Internships are a good possibiity - sometimes Hotel chefs will take on interns are at least allow students to tour their facilties. There is also the possibility of attending a taping of any of several food shows on a number of TV channels.

      If any of the TV chefs have the time, they might speak to her over the phone. Email is a good first contact.

      Have fun!

    • MM Del Rosario profile image

      MM Del Rosario 

      10 years ago from NSW, Australia

      Wow Patty, thanks for answering my request, my daughter is doing food technology as an elective subject and I told her to look on different jobs available in the hospitality industry if she realy likes to continue studying on this career path, this will be a perfect resource .... well done !!!


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