If you have a passion for food, fancy yourself as the next Gordon Ramsay or simply pride yourself on being able to take excellent care of customers, working in or managing any of the UK's 70,200 restaurants could prove a rewarding career choice for you.
Eating out is one of the most popular pastimes in the UK, and if you're a food and drink enthusiast, working in a restaurant provides an excellent opportunity to turn your knowledge and passion into sales!
The UK's restaurant industry is extremely diverse and employs 567,600 people so, whatever you are looking for, you are likely to find something that suits you. Restaurants range from top-end, fine- dining establishments to quick service 'takeaway' outlets.
Restaurants can be classified by type (fine dining, casual/branded dining or quick service) and by the type of cuisine they predominantly serve (e.g. Chinese, European or pizza).
UK high streets tend to be dominated by chain restaurants. Over recent years, there has been a small increase in the number of chains and a decrease in the average size of a chain.
Some of the newer chains, such as Gourmet Burger Kitchens and the Clapham House Group, are relatively small. They also tend to be more focused - for example, Giraffe and Carluccio's both focus on one concept, while the Restaurant Group, which used to have a lot of brands, now focuses on fewer.
The Asian and Oriental restaurant sub-industry (e.g. Indian, Bangladeshi, Chinese, Thai) is also relatively large. These range from takeaways to fine dining establishments. The vast majority of Asian and Oriental restaurants are independent.
Career opportunities and skills needed
There are a wide variety of jobs in the restaurant industry, ranging from kitchen assistants, waiting staff and chefs through to supervisory and managerial positions.
For a lot of the 'entry-level' positions, many employers say that willingness to work hard and a good attitude are the most important things they look for. For public-facing roles, such as bar staff or waiting staff, good people skills and an appreciation of the importance of customer service are essential.
Committed workers who are willing to take on new responsibilities are most likely to progress.
Many restaurants find it difficult to hang on to their staff, as some employees tend to work part time while studying etc. and sometimes do not stay in their job for long. Individuals who show enthusiasm and commitment to their job are often rewarded by employers with rapid progression up the ladder.
Individuals wishing to move into more senior positions are likely to require previous managerial experience and be able to display a solid understanding of the industry.
Click here to download an industry profile factsheet.