San Diego is home to a booming tourism and hospitality industry, which includes a thriving variety of restaurants. It is no surprise, then, that food service occupations are one of the region’s leading areas for employment opportunity. Don’t dismiss food service occupations as flipping hamburgers, as the fast food industry is but a fraction of the overall industry in San Diego. There are many good jobs with good pay and career opportunities available in food service in San Diego.
The majority of jobs for food and beverage servers and related occupations are in restaurants, coffee shops, and bars, but opportunities also exist in many other areas, including casinos, the amusement park and recreation industries, schools, grocery stores, hospital and nursing care facilities, etc. Typical jobs include:
- Waiters and waitresses, who take customers’ orders, serve food and beverages, prepare the bill, and sometimes accept payments.
- Bartenders, who fill drink orders from patrons at the bar or from waiters and waitresses who place orders for their customers. They also check the identification of bar patrons to be sure they meet minimum age requirements.
- Hosts and hostesses, who welcome guests and maintain reservations or waiting lists.
- Dining room and cafeteria attendants and bartender helpers, who assist waiters, waitresses, and bartenders, keeping their areas stocked and removing dirty dishes.
- Combined food preparation and serving workers take orders from customers, and also cook and package food, make coffee and fill drink cups. These people often work in fast-food restaurants.
- Counter attendants, who take orders and serve food in coffee shops, cafeterias, and takeout eateries.
- Food service managers, who are responsible for the daily operations of food service establishments.
Food service establishments offer flexible hours and part-time availability. Because these jobs require little prior experience, they are a good way for students and teenagers to gain work experience or earn spending money. Pay can be high for skilled workers in thriving restaurants with the potential for high tips. Earnings for food and beverage service jobs are usually determined by a combination of hourly wages and tips. Earnings vary greatly based on the type of job and establishment.
Job openings in this industry are expected to be abundant through 2012, stemming from increase in population, personal incomes, and leisure time. However, most of these openings will arise from the need to replace workers who leave the industry. Competition will be stiffest for waiter, waitress, and bartender jobs in popular restaurants with a high tips potential.