Chef Career Choices: The many branches of the food service industry.


Most chefs set their career path step by step beginning with a few years of knocking about finding a direction, then settling into a trajectory, either choosing their career or letting it choose them.   Both methods work fairly well. Once you have been working in any of the many branches of the industry, your future probably lies in that field. It’s hard to change say from a convention center to a bistro.  Each branch of the food industry requires a specific set of abilities, which you acquire and refine as you rise through their ranks.
There are of course crossover opportunities, but at some point of most careers  your specialization opens new options and closes others.  If you are reading this you already probably have chosen a future in the food service industry, and if you’ve read any of the posts here or chatted with others in the field, you have given some thought to what works for you. Your school should have provided you with good ideas about “what is out there” and the specific benefits and drawbacks of the various industry branches.
Food and Beverage is  a vast industry with nearly endless options, and you have the Internet as the easiest way to research them at your fingertips. Consider it shopping.
To be clear, we are not talking about positions or titles here. We assume that anyone entering the field with the intent of making it more than a collection of jobs will rise through the ranks to one or more management positions.
One by one ChefsPro will discuss the relative merits and drawbacks of the industry’s branches. If you know this field and think something of importance is missing please leave a comment. If you feel there we have left out an area, please add it in the comments.
Of course, neither all hotels nor all small restaurants are alike. They define themselves in many ways, the most obvious being quality and prestige. The nifty place on the corner and the destination restaurant in Manhattan or San Francisco are completely separate entities, as are a luxury resort and an airport hotel. The Embassy Suites is not the Four Seasons. You will have to fill in the missing spaces for yourself.
For just about every type of location the rule that quality leads to quality holds true.  If you want to contend in the top locations, you have to train in them as soon as you can. You can’t switch up easily if at all later in your career.

  • Restaurants
    • Small to Medium Independent Restaurant
    • Independent Chains
    • Volume Restaurants
    • Celebrity Restaurants
    • Restaurants in groups with diversified properties.
    • Corporate Family Style restaurant chains.
    • Fast Food Restaurants
  • Hotels and Resorts
    • Hotel Units
    • Boutique Hotels
    • Conference Centers
  • Casinos
  • Private Clubs
    • Golf Clubs
    • City Clubs
    • Sports and Yacht Clubs</>
  • Night Clubs , Gentlemen’s Clubs, Comedy Clubs
  • Catering Businesses
  • Product Development Groups
  • Commissaries
  • Retail and Take Out Operations, Gourmet Markets
  • Food Service, Educational, Corporate Dining
  • Development Groups
  • Estates, private households, Yachts and Private Planes.
  • Wineries
  • Inns and Beds and Breakfasts
  • Maritime Chefs
  • The new world of chef
  • Entrepreneurial ventures

Each of these categories is unique, offering its own advantages and challenges, take a specific set of talents and knowledge.