With the economy being what it is these days; it is not surprising that people are trying out new careers in order to make some extra money. Working in a restaurant is a great way to make some really excellent money, if you can find your niche in the industry, so I offer advice off of my 25 years on experience in the industry to those who want to give restaurant work a try and just don't know where to begin.
This article is just an introduction to some of the things that go on in a restaurant. The more you know about the business, the better prepared you will be to go in and interview for a position that you feel you are qualified for, and the better your chances will be on landing the job.
There are several different sides to a restaurant. There are Front of House Workers, Back of House Workers, Management and Owners. Front of House Staff includes Waiters, Bus People, Hosts and Bartenders. Most people starting in the restaurant business start as a Bus Person, because that is where you learn how a restaurant works. Good Bus People can make fairly decent money, because they are usually paid a slightly higher wage than servers, and they also get tips from the wait staff, so they leave with some money in their pockets. It's a great place to start, but if you are lucky enough to be hired as a server, (you usually need some experience for this to happen), this is the preferable job.
Another great place to start in a restaurant is as a host or hostess. This is usually a flat pay rate, although some restaurants do tip their host staff. It is a great way to work your way into the restaurant world, too if you are not experienced. The host is the first person a guest sees when arriving at a restaurant, and first impressions are everything. If you have what it takes with people skills, hosting may be the job for you!
If you are not sure that you want to deal directly with customers in the restaurant industry, the Back of House may be the place for you. There are several different positions in a restaurant that deal directly with the preparations (prep) and cooking of meals. Some of them include Prep Cook, Line Cook, Expediter and Chef Positions. These are all great jobs and a great way to break into the industry as a beginner because often these positions require no experience, so it may be easier to get the job! Dish washing is also not a bad place to start in a restaurant if you don't mind getting dirty, and many restaurants start their employees there and promote from within.
There are larger Corporate-based restaurant chains that will hire people as Management if they have management experience elsewhere. This is a great way to start a real and profitable career in the restaurant industry. Being a manager is a full time job in a restaurant. It is usually a 50 or more hour work week, and it can be a fairly stressful job. Hence the salary!
In conclusion, I will say that the restaurant industry is a fun, busy and exciting place to work. Many people have found their niche in one position or another, and made some money too. I offer luck and good wishes to all who now think they might be ready to try it out!