A lot of you guys wanted to know about different job opportunities for people who work in the service industry. Today, we’re going to talk about it!
In this episode, we talk about:
- The 9 career opportunities you might be qualified for with your experience in the restaurant industry.
- What are the transferrable skills you already have from working in the restaurant industry, and how you can utilize them to go into a different career path and earn more money
- How to combine your restaurant skills and your skills outside of your work to break into a different career path.
Hannah and Ryan also share their story when working in the restaurant industry!
Enjoy the episode!
Check out our workbook to learn how to Teach Yourself. Get Work. Make Money. No Degree Needed!
Join the Degree Free! Receive our weekly newsletter and get exclusive tips and tricks to get hired and make money without a degree!
Want to learn about the top 5 cities for job growth? Check out the previous episode!
Ryan: Aloha folks and welcome back to Degree Free. We are your hosts, Ryan, and Hannah Maruyama. On this podcast, we share a fundamentals we've discovered and the mistakes we've made while self-educating, getting work, building businesses and making money. We'll tell you how to make it happen. No degree needed.
Hannah: Hey everybody. We are super happy to have you back on the podcast this week. And if you want to get an email for Ryan and I, that has degree free news, job ideas, different resources that we have found to be really useful and self-education and learning skills that can make you employable. You are going to want to run, not walk over to degreefree.co/signup to get our newsletter. And if you do sign up, we will send it to you once a week. I promise
Ryan: Right on.
Hannah: And let's get into today's episode. Today, we are going to be talking about nine jobs. That restaurant workers are already qualified for.
This one is near and dear to our hearts because nobody puts baby in a corner.
Ryan: So a lot of folks want to know different job opportunities for people that work in the service industry. Right. And today we're going to talk about it. We're mostly going to be talking about people in the front of the house, you know, just to be clear, , we're talking mostly about servers, bartenders, hostesses, and even busters.
Not to say that back to the house, people can also get these jobs. Right. But we're just more generalizing the skills, the soft skills that the front of the house workers master and have to attend with everyday.
Hannah: Yeah. If you, if you're back of the house, you have, you have a trade, essentially. You have hand skills, you have something that is hard that you can do with your hands, that other people do not have the ability to do.
And you know, this is knife skills. This is cooking. This is a very specific type of skill. And so it's just not as transferable though equally valuable.
Ryan: Yeah. Definitely.
Definitely. And I don't know about transferable because there's a lot, there's a lot of soft skills with working the line and I, and being a prep cook and all that too.
But I understand the essence of what you're saying.
Hannah: We do work really well on our team too,
Hannah: Usually if you work on a line,
Ryan: But yeah, so, like I said, Hannah and I kind of grew up in the restaurant industry. I don't know if you want to tell your story?
Hannah: Yeah, so, working service industry was not my first job, but from the time that I was 16, until I was 24, I was in and out of the industry for, for all of that time.
I think there was only a year and a half where I was not working in a restaurant somewhere. Either, you know, being a Professional thing bringer or working you know, working on the bar, uh, hostessing, an India, busing, cocktail, waitressing, any, any variety of, of positions in a restaurant I have worked.
And for me, Pretty much the same thing. I mean, it was my first job, 16 years old and I did it till I was 27 or so. So a long time, uh, I grew up in the restaurant industry. My parents met in the restaurant industry, you and I met in the restaurant industry. So this is something we've seen every one of these careers that we're going to be talking about today.
Somebody in the restaurant industry do all of these and way more. Yeah.
Hannah: We've seen these play out in real time.
Ryan: Yeah, definitely.
And so, you know, we've heard it thousands of times, right. Or at least like a version of this question and it's like, what else can I do though? Right. Like, I've never done anything else, like who would hire me?
what industries could I move into?
Hannah: And so we're going to tell you nine career alternatives to the restaurant industry and who that we've seen done, or that we've personally done ourselves. And we're just going to break those down for you.
Ryan: Yeah, definitely. And then, you know, remember that this is not an exhaustive list.
Like we're just giving some ideas for people because not what people need sometimes they'll just say, okay, People have done this before. At least somebody has seen somebody else get out of the restaurant industry, because I know that when you're in it and, you don't want to be in it. It can just be a trudge.
Hannah: It's hard.
Ryan: And you don't see the light at the end of the tunnel. Right. And you start to devalue the skills that you already have, and that you've probably mastered. So these are going to be traits and skills that are universally recognized are useful in any job place. Right? So it's customer service, sales, conflict resolution, teamwork, accuracy, order accuracy, detail oriented, and then a whole slew of other things as well.
Hannah: And this we're focusing on transitions that you can do with skills that you already have from working in the restaurant industry. Again, this is by no means a list of all of the ones you could do, but we have seen people move from, from the industry into. You know, six figure jobs into a hundred thousand dollars plus jobs, and they've done it all different sorts of ways with all different sorts of backgrounds, different sorts of outside work experience.
In addition to their core industry skills that do make them really valuable employees.
Ryan: Right? Exactly.
Hannah: Or business owners and entrepreneurs.
These are very important. All those skills, especially in front of the house, like we talked about, they're very. Important, especially in today's day and age, right?
We can, we're able to talk to people. We're able to give phenomenal customer service, sell people, resolve conflicts. Right? One of the things that we wanted to say as a very top though, is that this list, while we have seen many people do these things and much more. I think one of the best ways to think about it for yourself, because everybody is different.
You want to start thinking about the things that you're good at outside of work, right? And so you can, then if you're, if you have skills outside of work, you can combine those with the skills that you've already mastered at your restaurant job, right? So , I don't know if you are a surfboard shaper outside of work and you know how to shape surfboards, right?
You can take your surfboard knowledge and your sales customer service knowledge and go, I don't know, apply to be a distributor at a surf company, right? Well, you can apply to be an account manager out of surf company. You could start your own. Board shaping business.
Hannah: You, you what you're looking for is the intersection of your restaurant skills and your outside knowledge where those two things meet and cross.
That's a good entry point.
Ryan: Yeah. It's just a good place to, to start looking and that's uniquely you, right? That being said, so the rest of these nine jobs, they're just generic ideas with the five. Soft skills that you already have and you've already mastered.
Hannah: So the first one is going to be restaurant manager and before you run away and you say, this episode is crap.
I don't want to listen to it anymore. Just bear with us. Okay. But we have both seen separately and together seeing people move from supervisor to floor manager to, you know, had an events to GM and then make a transition into a completely different industry because they just worked their way up where they were at.
This is like the unsung secret of success too. This is often overlooked universally, but especially with restaurant workers.
Ryan: Yeah, definitely. And from every tier of that, we've seen people, you know, kind of extricate themselves from the restaurant industry. And I guess we should have said. From the get-go, but I'll say, I'll say it now.
You know, this whole episode, isn't downing the restaurant industry. We just get this question so often because people don't want to work in it anymore. Right. They got burnt out, right. The customer service, the face-to-face aspect of it. Right. And we're like, you know, this customer, is like, I ordered this thing, medium rare and it's medium.
Alright man. Like, and that was like the 10th time that you've dealt with it in a 32nd, 30 minute, rather.
Hannah: What do you mean y'all are ranch.
Ryan: Right? So there's nothing wrong with the restaurant industry. This is just for people that are trying to extricate themselves from it or trying to transition out of it.
But yes, we've seen transitions. From every level of that supervisor shift, supervisor GM, assistant GM, whatever director of food and beverage, and they've switched over to other industries.
Hannah: I think something that probably goes unaddressed here too, is that, restaurants are tough businesses for a lot of reasons.
They have really tight margins. They have to constantly remind people that they exist and try to get new customers. They, you know, restaurant managers are managing a very, usually a very diverse team of people with high turnover. Just cause that's the way service industry is.
And so they, their experience is really dynamic actually, and it can be really high stress as well. And so for that teaches restaurant managers, a lot of things that are useful in a multitude of industries.
Ryan: Yeah. And also due to that high turnover, a lot of companies are willing to promote and train from within, right?
So you, a lot of companies are willing to, okay, you're a server. You show up on time. You don't give away your tables and you're not supposed to give away your tables
Hannah: And all you do is have to outlast.
Ryan: You're not, hammered the entire eight hour shift.
Hannah: I'm glad you said it.
Ryan: Right? Like, okay. You can tie your shoes.
Hannah: And you've been here for two years.
Ryan: Right. Perfect.
Okay. We're willing to train you and promote from within a lot of companies are like that. And you know, if you take there, I guess if you use that high turnover to your advantage and you know that, and you're an awesome employee and you're awesome at your job, and they're willing to train you, you know, you can use that as a stepping stone to bigger and better things.
Hannah: Yeah. Or just different things.
Ryan: Yeah, definitely. The next job is going to be, the second job is going to be sales associate. So if you're a server or a bartender you're already selling, right. You're just selling like Margarita's and sandwiches or $30 plates of food, whatever, wherever it is that you work.
Right. You're already used to talking to strangers like you're already used to breaking ice. You're used to, okay. Somebody is coming to me for something. You have it. How do I give it to them? Right. The sales skills that you have, like product knowledge, upselling, customer service.
Hannah: Also just connection and personality and forging a bond quickly.
It's you just have a lot of, and some of it you've learned without realizing it too, probably, but you don't realize how important these things are to selling anything. And so I think that we both have seen the we've both seen the service industry, restaurant industry to real estate pipeline.
Ryan: Yeah, definitely.
That's a really popular.
Hannah: That's it, our sales is another one too, that
Ryan: that's, you know, I seen all types of sales, right? Timeshare sales, touch area, all, all different types of sales, tech sales, I mean,
Ryan: Anything and everything.
Hannah: Ever since ever since I got on Tiktok was more exposed to people who are, you know, who were salespeople and tech sales specifically.
Yeah. I have seen a lot of that actually restaurant industry. And then some product knowledge and then they move right into being a software sales rep. I've seen that quite a bit actually as well.
Ryan: Right? So the sales associate, your imagination is kind of the limit here,
Hannah: whatever you want to sell
Ryan: Every company, pretty much every company needs sales people.
And as long as you can convince somebody else that you know what you're doing, And you know, that you can sell and you know the process and you can understand their products. All right. You know, they'll give you a shot.
Hannah: Hmm. So you're selling them on you as a salesperson use that server smile.
Ryan: Yeah. So then third job is going to be customer service rep. Like you're already doing customer service at your restaurant job. You can pretty much look at jobs in almost any field in customer service.
Hannah: And there are remote jobs. If you're willing to work all over the phone or on a computer. And what's funny is I think a lot of people, I do see people who maybe went to college and then went into customer service in this way.
They, a lot of times I feel like they didn't work face-to-face customer service and they went into customer service over the phone. But I think a lot of restaurant workers for them, it's like, a breath of fresh air, because guess what? The customer's not right. They're looking at you complaining and then trying to escalate this to your actual manager.
Right. Um, it's not, it's not one of those stress inducing situations where you've got four tables and you're trying to deal with, these under cooked fries and whatever. Now you can sit at home and you can answer calls. You know, you can be a good example would be like a working customer service for USAA. You answer the phone and you answer people's questions and you put them to the right place.
And for some people they're like, this is awesome. You know, this is great. And yeah, you have, you have all of the conversational skills needed usually to already go ahead and do that.
Ryan: And it's not just on the phone too. I mean, on that little remote piece, there's chat customer service as well. Right? I mean, all companies have customers and they all need to have help when they have problems.
Right. You're already doing that. You're already qualified to do that in other areas, right? I mean, you just need to find a company that's willing to hire you and train you.
Hannah: And it's not difficult to pick up.
Ryan: So the fourth one is going to be a business owner or an entrepreneur, right?
Hannah: This is a good one.
Ryan: The restaurant industry is a great place to start a business.
Hannah: Okay. So the big perk of perk, I guess, but the big advantage to service industry work is that it's often shift work and often it's night shift work, which means that you can work on something else during the day. And because of that, it means that people oftentimes can or do work on their own businesses during the day.
And they can grow it while having a steady income.
And although you brought up night shifts, we've seen this happen all the time. And it wasn't necessarily to people that just worked the night shift. Although if you work nights, you can work on the day. It's a little bit easier, but there was plenty of people that I can think of that also worked day shift that worked on it at night.
Kind of the good of working in the restaurant industry is that. The shifts are usually flexible or depending on where you work and where you're located, the shifts are shorter or longer, but you know, a lot of servers have six hour shifts or four hours shift. And depending on the restaurant that you work at, obviously and some of them, if you work in a place where you can make ends meet on four days a week, you're only working four days a week.
Hannah: Right. Which means the rest of the time is yours. Um, somebody I've seen do this, actually worked a day shift and then, um, started a ghost tour walking company at night, which I thought was cool. Yeah. That's a good example.
There's people. Worked at night that did regular tours then during the day.
Hannah: And we've seen that too.
Ryan: Exactly. All types of all types of combinations, right? People that people that built businesses online. And one of the things that we want to be clear about, and we always say this when we're talking about starting a business is we don't suggest you quit your job until your business can at least, you know, replace what you're currently making.
Hannah: Yeah. Do not do that.
Ryan: We've seen people build their, quote unquote side hustles into actual businesses that allow them to quit the industry for good, , and it replaced their income. It made way more than their income and they never look back.
Hannah: Yeah, a good example of this is whose people may be familiar with this story, but, Daymond John from Shark Tank, he worked at red lobster until the bitter end.
He was making money and he stayed there cause he wasn't, he wasn't sure yet, even though he was cashflow positive and his business was making good money, he didn't leave until he was absolutely sure that it was steady for him to step out into his business.
Ryan: The next job is going to be administrative or executive assistant.
Hannah: You're already a go between for literally everybody, all you do is bring things all day and take orders, which is pretty much exactly what she would be doing as an EA. Except for, it would only be one customer. And, you know, if you find the right fit, then ideally they're not as demanding.
Ryan: Yeah. Well, it would also be internal customers too, depending on if they have to, if they're managing the schedule for them.
Right. If you're answering phone calls too, it just depends on the thing about executive and administrative assistants. I know that they're two different jobs people, but, uh, you know, we're just bucketing it in into the same assistance in general. Is that there, depending on where you're at and depending on who you're working with, the job responsibilities can really vary, right?
Hannah: It's true.
Ryan: The only person in the whole place, there are some administrative assistants that are also like receptionists, right. And so they're dual rolling and they're doing the whole thing and they're slash office managers. Right. But you're kind of already used to that run around. And you're used to talking to people you're used to clear communication between people you're used to being professional.
Right. And now you can just go and do that in a different setting. It's a really, really easy transition.
Hannah: Yep. Another really good one is event organizer or marketing coordinator or marketing events coordinator. I would say as job titles, this is an easy one because oftentimes people that move from the restaurant industry into this type of work have already been working in the events or marketing.
For the restaurant, right? Like in a small way, they take part in, you know, Hey, we're having whatever specials on Friday, come in, blah, blah, blah. And they just tell people, they send out emails, they hang up signs, they do whatever. And that, that's more of like, that sounds like obviously experience working in a dive bar where that's what you do, but on a larger scale, we've also worked at big, you know, Ryan and I both have worked at big restaurants, where people were throwing events, large events, weddings, but you know, they're throwing those during very large events. There's quite a few moving parts. There's a lot going on and they coordinate the entire thing on behalf of the restaurant for the customer. And, that is a valuable skill as well.
So I've seen this personally with a few people on exactly what Hannah said there is a lot to be said, if you can get experience, if you do have like a quote unquote events team, if you work at a bigger establishment, say you work, you're working at a hotel and you're currently working at their breakfast restaurant, but you can transfer into their night restaurant or into their wedding venue.
That's something that you could do if you want to get that type of experience and it looks good on your resume. You can kind of see the inner workings of it all. Depending on how the shop works on how the restaurant works, you're maybe in charge of invoicing, you're maybe in charge of going in between the caterer and the flower arrangements, you know, the florist and the bride and groom, and then the father-in-law who's paying it all.
Right. So there's a lot of different moving parts and you're also the back of the house. Cause maybe you have to do like appetizers, but the rest of it's catered or something like that,
Hannah: it's complex work .
Ryan: Right. But that's not to be said that it can't be learned or you can't get a job if you're just a server or a bartender.
Hannah: You already have the background.
Ryan: Right? Exactly.
Hannah: It's there, the core skills that we talked about at the beginning are still there
Ryan: and you still have that basic knowledge of how food and beverage are sold and how the flow of an event or have a meal
Hannah: should go
Ryan: Yeah, kind of takes place, which is huge.
Hannah: Yeah. It was just something you will have picked up and you just know that just makes sense to you.
Ryan: And so the next one is going to be office manager.
Hannah: Yeah. This one is similar to the assistance, but you're already, it's basically customer service. You're dealing with internal, external customers and it's just detail oriented.
Ryan: Yeah. You're already detailed oriented, right? I mean, you bought out to 20 table, 27 there Rubin without sauerkraut and without mustard or whatever.
Hannah: Yeah. If you're getting so granular and you did that while figuring out 14 other specific orders that all have to be timed and things like that, these are just things that you're learning as you're working.
And you're always coordinating between people and office managers are constantly coordinating between people as well. Right? It's the people in the office. Whatever it is that they may need, whatever it is that might, may need to be taken care of. And then if you're hiring for certain things, the contractors that are coming in to do those certain things.
Right. I mean, I know the office manager does more than that, but just to make it simple, right.
Hannah: It does take more than that. But at the same time, that's the general overview of what you're going to need to be doing in that job. And you absolutely. If you've been working in the service industry, you absolutely have the necessary skills to do that.
Ryan: The next one is going to be bank teller. So I know personally from both working in a bunch of banks, but also working in the restaurant industry and leavingand having people leave to get bank teller
that this is definitely within reach. Right? If your bank teller is very much a starting position, entry level position in the banking industry and a lot of places are very willing to give people that work in the service industry, a chance, because like I said, you have all of the skills already. You have good customer service, you smile. You're great with cash, right? Because you gotta be to the penny every night. So. Perfect.
Hannah: Yeah, you're basically, cross-trained already, I think too, there are other reasons this draws so many people from the restaurant industry is because of the hours.
I think it's the regular hours is just, again, it's just, it's almost like a vacation if you've been working service industry for a long time, and then you can come in at regular hours and the leave at regular hours. And so a lot of, uh, I think a lot of industry people appreciate that when they move into a bank teller position.
Also, just as another note though, banking is a great industry for people who do not have college degrees to get entry-level work and then move up as well because a lot of banks do promote internally.
Ryan: Yeah, it depends. On what you want to do. Right. And it depends on what banking is. A really large industry is a super large industry and it depends on what you want to do within the bank.
But that being said, your foot's in the door. Right. And it depends on what bank you work for. If you're working. Like, if you're working for like a mom and pop bank, a small local bank. Yeah. I mean, The they're probably willing to give you a shot and then you can just work your way up from there.
Hannah: Banks credit unions, right?
Ryan: Depends. If you're working at like a larger to mid tier bank, it might be a little more
Hannah: regulated .
Ryan: It might not regulate it, but just a little bit difficult to, there's like a clear delineation between the branch system and then kind of the back of the house work that goes on like. The front of the house, people, the bank tellers, the customer service reps, the account managers, private bankers, branch managers, assistant branch managers, like that's kind of its own track in the bigger banks.
And then, you know, if you want to be on the underwriting side, Or you want to be on the loan origination side, if you want to be in loan operations or whatever, that's kind of another track too, but I agree with what you're saying. It doesn't, it definitely doesn't hurt to if you're thinking about banking at all, just become a bank teller and then you can hopefully move over.
Let's say, if you want to be in loan ops, you can move over from being a bank teller and maybe they'll let you out lateral once you have some time.
Hannah: Yeah. And that's a great, I mean, that's a great explanation of that too as an overview, because it's just a, that is a complex industry. There's a lot going on with that.
Um, and then our last one is a receptionist and that one makes a lot of sense because it's just phone etiquette, customer service and professionalism, which is. Pretty easy again. Cause this is all stuff that you have.
The receptionist is a great way to use the skills that you already have and put it into practice.
Right? I mean, you've got it all down. Right? You got the fake smile down. You've got the awesome customer service down. I mean, you're good to go. Right. I mean, if you work at a place that takes phone orders to you have the phone etiquette down as well.. And those are small little minute skills, like phone etiquette. That is like, okay, how do you, is it doesn't really matter that I can answer the phone professionally?
Ryan: Super important.
Hannah: Yeah. And if you're a hostess and you're consistently answering the phone at a restaurant, I don't think people realize that, not everybody knows how to answer the phone in a professional way and that's an actual professional skill.
And then, so that is all nine. We did want to give you one bonus one, because we just saw it pretty recently. It was pretty funny, both Hannah and I separately. We had to go to the doctor or just rather to get our blood drawn, for stuff,
Hannah: in completely different states
Ryan: in completely different areas.
Hannah: of the country.
Ryan: And it was funny because both of the people that drew our blood were just coming out. We're just coming out of the restaurant industry and it was funny for me personally. Uh, I don't think you knew the person, right? No, no, no. I never met her. Okay. When I went to get my blood drawn, it was my old coworker that I used to work with.
Hannah: A few years ago and you party with
Ryan: Seven years ago. I don't know. We didn't really party together too much. Maybe a couple of times. Not really, but I was still young. I wasn't even a bartender yet. I wasn't even a server yet. I still a busser. Yeah.
Hannah: Early days
Ryan: early. And, um, it was good to see her.
And I was just like, oh, right on like talking story. Sorry. If people don't know what talking story is, talking story is. The Hawaii version of like chat.
Hannah: Yeah. I just having to sit in this bell and having a,
Ryan: yeah. So we were chit-chatting and
Hannah: she's an older lady too. A little bit. Not really. She's not young.
Ryan: Not really. Yeah. So she's a few years older than me. And so we're talking for a little bit and I'm just like right on. How long have you been doing this? She's like, oh, well , I'm actually a student. Oh, awesome. Awesome.
It was great. No, it was fine. I don't mind.
Hannah: No, it's cool.
Ryan: It's good.
How's he going to learn? How else are you gonna learn?
Hannah: That's the only way.
Yeah Exactly. So she got
Hannah: There is a
Ryan: she got the first shot first spoke.
Hannah: There is a server to phlebotomy pipeline that we have uncovered
Ryan: it's happening right now people.
Hannah: In real time,
Ryan: in real time. So, but I asked her, so I asked her cause I was curious what it took and I believe, and I'm not sure if it varies by state, I should look into it.
But she said that she took a two week course, it was a two week course and I think she has to go on quote-unquote rotations in different labs or maybe in the same lab for two weeks or something like that. And then she's fully trained.
Hannah: My gal also said 2 weeks,
Ryan: Right. Perfect.
Hannah: So it may vary state to state if, you know, if it varies state to state, let us know, because we do think this is very interesting.
Ryan: Yeah let us know [email protected]
Hannah: Yeah, if you were a thing bringer to, and now you draw people's blood, let us know. We're very interested.
Yeah. It's a very
Ryan: interesting, it's great to see her though. I was very happy about that.
Hannah: Fun to see people find things that they are happy doing too.
Ryan: But that's pretty much it guys. That was nine jobs that restaurant workers are already qualified for plus one. And this is something that we get asked all the time and something that we really care about seeing is how this was our life. Like.
Ryan: We have seen people come out of the restaurant industry.
Because they want it to, right? And gone on to, you know, do whatever it is that they wanted to do. And we are two of those people.
Ryan: Right. So we really care about this one. If you guys liked this episode, please like, and subscribe. If you guys want it to help us out at all, the best thing that you could do is leave us an honest review anywhere that you get your podcasts.
Hannah: And if you want to get more degree, free news, career ideas, uh, job, you know, job resources, more it, more interesting stories like the server to phlebotomist pipeline. Then go ahead and sign up for a at degreefree.co/signup to get our newsletter that comes out once a week.
Ryan: And that's pretty much it guys until next time.
Our free weekly newsletter gives you everything you need to know to find work and get paid!