Ashley Gilday

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine. 

Like many teens, eager to dip my feet into adulthood and make some money of my own, my first job was in the foodservice industry. Little did I know that almost 20 years later, I would still be working in the dynamic industry of food; an industry full of opportunity, job stability and upward mobility.

At 15 years old I answered phones at our local Pizza Hut. Shortly after, I was promoted to a server, which afforded me the chance develop invaluable interpersonal skills that I still use today. Three years later, I went away to college and was able to get a part-time position serving at the Pizza Hut on campus along with a job at another restaurant on campus. Each summer, upon returning home from Purdue, my employment was secure as a server at one of the two local Pizza Hut’s in our suburban town. It was fantastic!

The strong work ethic, time management and interpersonal skills I developed while working as a server over the course of seven years are irreplaceable. At the time I didn’t know I would end up entering a lifelong career in food upon completing my degree in Sales Management from Purdue University. As a living example of how successful a career in food can be, I’ve decided to put together a list of five compelling reasons to consider a career in the foodservice industry.

Five compelling reasons to consider a career in the foodservice industry

  1. Job Stability: Everyone has to eat. Food is never going to go out of style and as long as the human race evolves, the global demand for food will only increase, which means there will be jobs. Therefore a career in food is a lifelong opportunity to move upward on the career ladder or laterally within the industry (see abundant career options below).
  2. Abundant Career Options– There are so many facets to the foodservice industry and the skills you develop are often transferable into many different roles and positions. For example: A classically trained chef may choose to work at a restaurant, become a consultant, work for a large food manufacturer or open their own catering business.
  3. Upward Mobility: As a server at Pizza Hut, I could have went on to become the manager of that store, the regional manager and eventually worked my way up the corporate ladder at YUM Brands if I wanted to. Alternately, I could have gone on to open my own restaurant with the skills I learned working at Pizza Hut and the other restaurants I worked at over the years. Instead, I chose to get into food sales due to the flexibility, autonomy and many benefits of the position, and now I manage a territory ½ the size of the continent and have direct reports. The possibilities for upward mobility are endless with a career in food.
  4. Food: an industry of passion: Food is passion. So is a career in food. Whether you decide to be a server at a high-end restaurant, an executive chef, a food sales professional or a purchasing manager at a large hotel- everyone in this industry shares the same passion for food. It’s fun to have that in common with the people you work with each day.
  5. Lifelong Career: I’ve heard people in the foodservice industry say over and over, “once you start working in food, you will never leave”. Its true. I see familiar faces at the various industry events I’ve attend over the past ten years as a food saleswoman. I have also developed lifelong friendships as a result of my career choice and considering the four bullets above; the food industry offers a challenging and diverse lifelong career for those who want one.

For more information on how to start your career in food visit National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF). And to learn more about the skills essential to establishing a lifelong career in food, check out the Food and Beverage Service Competency Model.

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