According to the National Restaurant Association, there are currently 935,000 restaurants in the United States with 2007 sales forecasted to exceed $537 billion. It's a growing industry, with the average American eating 24 percent of their meals in restaurants.
Restaurants are also one of the easiest places to find employment. Restaurant jobs are generally divided into "front of the house" positions, including hosts, servers, bartenders, bus personnel, and dining room managers, and "kitchen" positions, including chef, sous-chef, line cooks, dishwashers, and prep cooks.
Keep in mind the cyclical nature of the restaurant business when searching for a restaurant job. Most restaurants need extra help before the holiday season. Restaurants in cold weather locations tend to slow down from January - March, whereas restaurants in resort destinations are busy during the beginning of the year and slow down in the summer.
How do you find restaurant positions? Consider the following sources:
- Local Newspapers. Since most restaurant jobs are local, newspapers are still a primary source of information on restaurant job openings. Don't limit yourself to the major newspaper in your area; often the smaller neighborhood weekly papers include restaurant job listings. Many cities also support free entertainment and event tabloids. These publications, too, often feature classified advertising.
When searching the newspaper, notice any mention in other sections, such as the business or city section, of proposed new restaurants. These locations will eventually need employees.
- In-person Visits to Restaurants. Launching a "grass-roots," in-person job search works well for finding restaurant jobs. Where you wouldn't necessarily barge into a fortune 500 company asking for a job, restaurants generally welcome walk-in applicants. Arm yourself with a folder of resumes and hit the turf. Remember though: only visit restaurants during off-peak times - before 11:30am and between 3pm and 5pm.
- Recommendations from Friends and Acquaintances. Most people have family, friends, or acquaintances who work in restaurants. Ask around about possible job openings. Restaurants tend to have a high turn-over rate; current employees are generally the first to know about new openings. They can also give you an idea about benefits, work environment, and hours.
- Online Job Sites. National Online job sites, such as Monster.com and careerbuilder.com, sometimes feature restaurant jobs, although these tend to be management positions. For hourly restaurant positions, try the online classified section of local newspapers or classified sites, such as Craig's List.
There are several sites that specialize in kitchen jobs. Among these are starchefjobfinder.com and foodservice.com.