The breadth of available roles in the hospitality industry is something that continues to appeal to new recruits, offering a whole host of challenges and opportunities. Not all career opportunities are obvious though — and there’s certainly a few hidden gems to uncover! Here’s a rundown of some of the most interesting roles available in the catering industry.

Food technologist/food scientist

food scienceAs a food technologist/scientist, you will become the equivalent of Willy Wonka. That makes for a great response when people ask at parties what you do for a living! This is one of the most interesting roles in the production side of the catering industry. You’ll be responsible for devising and testing new flavours and products, as well as ensuring safe consumption.

Increasingly, consumers are becoming conscious of exactly what they eat. This is being incorporated into the production line, testing, and labelling. Think of those ‘zero fat’ and ‘high protein’ products that are now commonplace in supermarket aisles. You’ll also help invent new ways to keep food fresh, attractive and safe, as well as finding ways to cut costs and save time in production. Along with blending new recipes, experimenting and creating sample products, you might also design the manufacturing machinery.

Getting started

A degree is a common route into either of these roles. Also, apprenticeships and workplace progression can lead to a position as a food scientist. Relevant higher education awards include food science, food studies, and food technology.

Chemistry and nutrition can also lend themselves to securing a role as a food technologist or scientist, but overall some hands-on experience is always invaluable. Other options include the food technologist advanced apprenticeship. Progression from this could lead to a food industry technical professional degree apprenticeship. Those in employment can work towards these roles, in positions such as a lab assistant or a food technician, gaining qualifications while employed.

Pay expectations and working hours

A working week could range from 39-41 hours, and a starting wage is around £20,000, rising to around £45,000 for those with experience. These roles might involve shift work and this is predominantly during the evening.

Food manufacturing inspector

careers within cateringWith an increasing emphasis on allergies and manufacturing practice, the food inspector industry is thriving. Many food and beverage companies place a focus on their health and safety departments for this reason. So, as a food manufacturing inspector, you’ll be at the forefront of these all-important processes.

Your day-to-day duties could include inspecting conditions in processing plants, carrying out quality control checks, testing samples of raw ingredients and processed products, presenting results and interpreting data, ensuring that practices meet the required standards, checking labelling is sufficient, producing quality reports and advising manufacturers on how to improve, as well as issuing warning notices if standards are not being met. The training processes relating to these roles is meticulous, due to the complexity of the work.

Getting started

To get started on your career path, GCSE education or an equivalent certificate is usually a requirement, but candidates could also pursue various apprenticeships. The level 2 award in food catering certificate or a level 3 award in supervising food safety in catering are options to consider. A college course such as the Level 3 Diploma in Food and Drink Operations is also one to look at, providing a combination of taught work and hands-on experience. Candidates could apply directly to a vacancy or gain experience in the field then progress through an existing position.

Pay expectations and working hours

At entry-level, a starting wage in this role can be around £15,000 and an experienced professional can expect up to £30,000. The typical hours are between 40-42 per week, and the role can involve being on call. For this reason, a driving license can prove advantageous.

Catering Manager

catering careerThe catering industry is an intensely social sector to work in. Catering is the backbone of many large conferences, parties, weddings, and other events. Nowadays, catering creates unique experiences for a whole host of purposes. You can be as creative as you want as a catering manager.

From making contacts in the right places to securing a catering plan that will make people’s big events as memorable as possible, the job varies widely. The role relies heavily upon communication, initiative, and leadership, as well as the ability to think outside of the box. You’ll be at the helm of bringing together one-in-a-lifetime events for your clients, and no two days will be the same as a catering manager. Daily, you might need to organise shifts and rotas, recruit and train staff, meet suppliers and negotiate contracts, cater to dietary requirements and plan various budgets.

Getting started

Many hotels and venues are looking increasingly to provide their own innovative training schemes to attract more people into internal roles. For example, take a look at this hotel chain. Many catering managers start off as graduates or on an entry-level scheme, learning on the job and attending courses to gain the relevant qualifications.

It is certainly worthwhile looking into such establishments in your location, finding out where these schemes are available. Bring any experience, even if it is just in the form of a generic events management/catering role. Consider a college course like the Higher National Diploma in Hospitality Management.

Pay expectations and working hours

A new starter can expect a wage of anywhere in the region of £19,000. An experienced catering manager can earn up to £40,000 depending on location. The hours for this role are slightly more than any typical catering position, working up to 41-43 hours per week. It can be demanding, and often working patterns will fall on weekends and include bank holidays.

So, could your next role be within the catering industry?

Thanks for this post go to our friends at The Hogs Head Inn in Northumberland.