According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are more than 5 million restaurant jobs currently in the United States, and this number is expected to grow by 14 percent within the next 10 years. Such jobs run the gamut from bartenders and servers to chefs, sous chefs and line cooks. They can be located in hotels, in locally owned eateries, in country clubs, in chain restaurants and even in less common places like river boats, casinos and cruise ships.
So-called "front of the house" restaurant jobs are those jobs where the employee interacts with the public. These include bartenders, hostesses, bus help and servers. Virtually all of these jobs are available without advanced education. Waitress jobs pay an average around $20,000 per year in wages. This varies considerably, however, depending on the restaurant, the region of the country and the employees experience.
Kitchen jobs, or "back of the house" restaurant jobs include the staff necessary to prepare the food, such as the chef, sous-chefs and line cooks. Chefs and head cooks average $45,950 a year in salary, according to the BLS, and the number of chef and head cook jobs is expected to increase by about 10 percent over the next decade. Restaurant cooks, those employees who make salads and run theare the bread and butter of restaurant kitchens and make an average of $26,440 a year.
In addition to cooking and serving jobs, restaurants also employ managers, bookkeepers, sommeliers (wine stewards) and marketing professionals. Food service managers make an average of around $52,000 a year.
Restaurant jobs have the advantage of allowing you to work in a vibrant, ever-changing atmosphere with flexible hours. Such jobs are also available in virtually all parts of the United States, so it makes a good career for someone who enjoys traveling or is married to someone whose job means frequent relocation.