Working in the hospitality industry can involve long hours, shift and weekend work. You may also be working in a noisy, sometimes high pressure environment where you will need to be on your feet for long periods at a time.
Overall, it is a very rewarding industry to work in, the satisfaction of having provided great service and making sure that your guests and customers leave happy makes it worthwhile.
Rates of pay in the hospitality industry vary from sector to sector and state to state, however, within the flexibility of the workplace you can generally negotiate the hours, days and times you work, with your earning potential being limited only by your choices.
The hospitality industry offers career paths that reflect its dynamic, often vibrant nature. There are many opportunities to start at the bottom and work your way up to management–you just need to set your goals and gain the appropriate experience and training and work hard. You could even open your own business down the track.
Some sectors of the industry provide the more traditional vertical career paths, such as the kitchen where it is possible to move from being an apprentice chef up through various positions to head or executive chef. Many chefs move on to become owner/operators of their own restaurants, or move into management positions in hotels.
Career paths in the hospitality industry are not always vertical. Many people working in the industry move sideways, progressing to a similar level position in a different part of the industry. For example a waiter may move from working in a club to a waiting position in a restaurant. Or they could move to a different job in the same business, for example by moving to a porter position in rooms division of a hotel.
Career paths in the hospitality industry are very flexible. With enthusiasm and industry experience, your hospitality career is limited only by your knowledge of what is possible!
Skills essential to success in the hospitality industry are similar to those required for any other management position. They include financial and business management, marketing and public relations skills. Strong human resource management skills are a must in an industry where staff turnover is high, to recruit the right staff and lead and manage them to provide excellent customer service.
Other general management skills include those needed to maintain a safe and secure environment for both staff and customers, and to ensure that all health, occupational safety and licensing regulations are met.
To work effectively in a management position in the hospitality industry, you also must be able to do all the things your staff do, so that when necessary you are able to help out or cover for them if they’re unable to work.
You can gain the skills you need to work as a manager in the hospitality industry by different pathways. You can complete a diploma or advanced diploma at TAFE or a private training provider or a degree specializing in hospitality at university. Alternatively, you can work your way up from the bottom gaining management skills and experience on the job as you go. Managers who gain their skills this way can go through a process to have their skills formally recognized by a training provider.
Starting Your Own Business
It is a huge decision to start your own business and without a doubt it is rewarding when you succeed. However, operating your own business in the hospitality industry can be high-risk.
What can you do?
There are a number of things you can do when thinking about starting your own business to increase the chances of it being successful. These include, but are not limited to:
- Having a business plan
- Researching the locality you want to set up in. Walk around the area at breakfast, lunch and dinner time. Have a look at other businesses in the area
- Making sure that you have some hands on experience of working in a similar type of business
- Talking to people already in the industry about both your plans and their experiences
- Doing one of the short course available that specifically address opening your own small hospitality business
- Getting some financial advice from a small business adviser
- Talking to your bank manager about small business loans and the steps involved in securing one
- Researching suppliers of industry goods and services. Find out their costs and what they offer
If you don’t have formal qualifications (which aren’t essential to running a successful hospitality business), consider completing safe food handling and responsible service of alcohol courses.
What can I do?
The hospitality industry is growing and there’s a shortage of good people to fill these great jobs right now!