Foodservice at a Glance

The foodservice industry is about people. This, of course, includes the customers who eat. However, it also includes the employees who cook and serve, and the managers who run the foodservice facilities. Foodservice continues to change and grow to meet the needs of its customers. This growth means that there are exciting job opportunities. Before you choose a career, you should explore all the job opportunities that are available to you.

According to the National Restaurant Association, there are more than 13.1 million people in the United States working in the foodservice industry. This makes it one of the largest employment segments in the country. Many people are interested in foodservice careers because of the number of jobs available.

The majority of foodservice jobs provide a service, such as cooking food or waiting on customers. Customers are willing to spend time and money for a pleasant dining experience. This means foodservice establishments want to hire well-trained employees.

You can choose from an array, or a wide selection, of foodservice career options. You can advance in your career if you are willing to work hard and get the proper training and education.

Service Opportunities

There are two general types of foodservice jobs. One type works directly with customers. The other type does actual food preparation. Individuals who are part of the service staff must be able to relate to all kinds of customers. It is emotionally and physically demanding to work directly with customers. No matter what happens, the service staff must keep a pleasant and helpful attitude. Four common types of service staff are host, cashier, server, and busser. These jobs and their duties are described in Chapter 5. Service jobs will always be available in the foodservice industry.

Production Opportunities

In the past, most foodservice operations used a traditional kitchen brigade system to divide responsibilities for preparing food.

In a kitchen brigade, specific preparation and cooking tasks are assigned to each member of the kitchen staff. Figure 3.1 shows how these assignments match the person's job title. Many foodservice operations use a kitchen brigade to stay organized.

Today, however, many restaurants also cross-train their employees by giving them work experience in many different tasks. Cross-training reduces the restaurant's labor costs and results in fast service. The five basic positions in the kitchen brigade are line cook/station cook, sous chef, pastry chef, prep cook, and garde manger. These positions usually work separately in a restaurant or hotel kitchen. Cross-trained employees can work at more than one position.

Line Cook/Station Cook

Line cooks and station cooks work on the food production line. They cook foods and put them on plates for service staff to take to customers. They have experience preparing meals quickly. Work is usually divided into stations, such as the grill station and the fry station.

Sous Chef

The sous ('su) chef, or "under" chef, reports to the executive chef. The sous chef supervises and sometime assists other chefs in the kitchen. The sous chef may also fill in for the executive chef when necessary.

Pastry Chef

The pastry chef is responsible for making baked items, such as breads, desserts, and pastries. Pastry chefs must be skilled in a variety of bread- and pastry-making techniques. Pastry chefs produce muffins, biscuits, cakes, pies, and other baked goods. Pastry chefs often start work very early in the morning.

Prep Cook

The prep cook prepares ingredients to be used by the line cooks. For example, a prep cook might wash and peel fresh fruits and vegetables. Prep cooks then properly store these foods to keep them fresh and easily available.

'y FIGURE 3.1 Traditional Kitchen Brigade

Professional Chefs Each type of chef has its own job title. What types of chef jobs interest you the most?

French Term

English Term

Sous ('su) Chef

"Under" C hef

Chefs de Partie

('shef dœ-par-'te)

Line or Station Chef

Saucier (,so-së-'yâ)

Sauce Cook

Poissonier (,pwa-sôn-'yâ)

Fish Cook

Grillardin (,grë-yar-'dan)

Grill Cook

Friturier (frë-,tu-rë-'yâ)

Fry Cook

Rotisseur (,ro-tes'yœr)


Vegetable Cook

Potager (,po-ta-'zhâ)

Soup Cook

Tournant (tur-'nan)

Swing Cook

Garde Manger

(,gard ,man-'zha)

Pantry Chef

Patissier (pa-tis-'ya)

Pastry Chef

Boucher (bu-'sher)

The garde manger (,gard ,man-'zha), or pantry chef, is responsible for preparing cold food items. These items may include salads, cold meats and cheeses, cold appetizers, cold sauces, and garnishes to make plates of food look more attractive.

Management Opportunities

Management jobs in the foodservice industry are offered to people who have the right work experience, training, and education. Managers must be chosen carefully so that the operation will run efficiently and smoothly. You must work hard and have the right skills to become a manager.

Executive Chef

The executive chef manages all kitchen operations. The executive chef works together with the restaurant manager and the dining room supervisor as part of a management team. Executive chefs order supplies, create work schedules for the restaurant staff, and help develop menus and the types of foods that will be prepared by the restaurant. They also manage food preparation and service. Executive chefs must know the latest industry trends as soon as they become available. They must continue their education and attend conferences and seminars.

Research Chef

Large food manufacturers hire experienced research chefs to work in their labs or test kitchens. Many restaurant chains also hire research chefs. A research chef works closely with food scientists to produce new food products. Research chefs can turn favorite recipes into packaged foods that can be sold in supermarkets. They also help write nutrition information for nutrition labels.

Culinary Scientist

Culinary science combines culinary arts and food science. A culinary scientist uses culinary science to set new standards in food technology. A culinary scientist works together with research chefs to create new food products and to update cooking methods. To become a culinary scientist, you must know the basics of subjects such as culinary arts, nutrition, food science, and technology.

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