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It’s time to map out your career goals.


With so many job opportunities available in the food and drink industry, this is a great time to put your goals into action.

It’s all over the news: there is a national labor shortage in the food and drink industry. This shortage has created a unique opportunity for restaurant workers heading back to work to advance their careers in the industry. Right now is a great time to look for a job to grow your restaurant and hospitality career, but no matter where you’re at with returning to work, you should take time to plan out your career goals. To help, here are a few considerations.

Company Culture
One of the most important things when looking to advance your career is the type of environment you want to work in. While it can be hard to tell from a job ad whether a restaurant has the company culture you’d thrive in or not, it is easier to navigate this in an interview if you know what you’re looking for.

Think about your experience and the things you liked and disliked about a work environment. This time around, do you want to work at a mom-and-pop restaurant? Or somewhere more corporate? Consider the location and the type of clientele a restaurant might bring in (urban vs. neighborhood vs. business center). Do you like working with a large team or a small team? All of these aspects impact the company culture and can be telling about the work environment.

Pay and Benefits
Many restaurants are raising wages, offering sign-on bonuses, and adding health and other forms of employee benefits to attract talented candidates. Decent pay and benefits can go a long way in how satisfied an employee is. Because it’s a job seeker market out there, you can take time to apply for jobs offering the best employee perks, but you should consider what is the most important to you and figure out where these qualities land on the priority list. Some places can offer great benefits because they don’t accept tips and instead charge a service fee, some jobs allow tips and benefits, but a portion comes out of your paycheck. Draft some questions you can ask in an interview to know what exactly you’re signing up for if applying to a place that advertises benefits.

Education and growth
Hitting a plateau in your career is a leading cause of burnout. Consider where you want to be in 5 years and what it will take to get there. Maybe you’d like to be a floor manager or GM of a restaurant — or you want to be a certified Sommelier or Cicerone. What will it take to get there, and what types of restaurants could help you reach those career goals? There are many ways to expand your career when working in the restaurant industry. Knowing how you’d like to grow can help lead you to work in the right places while avoiding the wrong ones.

Expanding horizons
One perk of working in the restaurant industry is that there are restaurants all over the world. So, if traveling is essential to you, make it a part of your career. There are resorts, hotels, and restaurants always looking for talented staff and sometimes recruiting from other cities and states. Now, I’m not going to say planning this out is easy, but it’s possible with some preparation and dedication. Check Poached for opportunities on cruise ships to see the world without the commitment of moving abroad — or become a snowbird and head south for the fall or winter where warmer temperature states experience a later patio season.

This time around, consider your goals and make moves based on what will be best for you. There are countless opportunities in this industry, and it just takes a little self-reflection and dedication to take your career to the next level.

Ashley McNally

Ashley McNally likes to cook, loves to bake, and is always dreaming of her next meal. With over 13 years of experience working in various roles within a restaurant — McNally has made a home in hospitality.

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