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The catering and hospitality sector in Guildford

  • Head chef salary (September 2019) in Guildford: £32,900 a year / £15.83 per hour
  • Sous chef salary (September 2019) in Guildford: £27,366.98 a year / £13.16 per hour
  • Chef de partie salary (September 2019) in Guildford: £24,091.58 a year / £11.58 per hour

The county town of Surrey, Guildford is located 27 miles (43 km) southwest of London on the A3 trunk road roughly halfway between the capital and Portsmouth and right on the doorstep of the undulating Surrey Hills. As somewhere that offers a perfect balance between rural and city life, it’s one of the best places to live in England.

With roots in Anglo-Saxon times, Guildford is an ancient town with a proud history. Guildford Castle, Surrey’s only royal castle, stands aloft in the heart of the town. The remains of what is thought to be the oldest synagogue in Western Europe were discovered under the High Street in 1995. The first recorded reference of cricket being played in England was in Guildford in the 16th century. And if that’s not all, the renowned codebreaker and mathematician Alan Turing spent his formative years here.

The town has quite the history, but a thriving local economy and high quality of life are propelling it headlong into a bright future. An upscale shopping mall, attractive high street and rustic farmers’ market make Guildford a major retail destination. It’s also been accredited with Purple Flag status thanks to its safe and diverse night-time economy — which includes a fantastic entertainment and dining scene. For ambitious individuals in the catering and hospitality trade, the many bars, restaurants and cafes of Guildford are something of a goldmine.

Education is also a major source of income and pride. The town hosts a number of world-class private schools, including Guildford High School and The Royal Grammar School. The University of Surrey, based in Guildford, is currently ranked in the top 25 universities in the UK — some feat for a town of only 80,000 people. With 2,300 administrative staff and a student population of 16,000, the university is a key catering and hospitality employer.

For catering and hospitality professionals, salaries are among the most competitive in the region. According to the latest Blue Arrow data, a head chef can earn up to £33,000 annually, while a chef de partie can earn over £24,000 a year.

If you’re looking to up your kitchen game, Guildford is home to a number of chef training opportunities. Guildford College, for example, provides a range of catering & hospitality courses in the town. And if you find work for a Blue Arrow catering employer, you may also be able to join one of Blue Arrow’s Apprenticeship programmes.

Hospitality and Catering Jobs in Guildford

Cost of living in Guildford

  • Average monthly rent in Guildford: £900-£2,000
  • Monthly travel pass: £76.09 (all forms of public transport)
  • Meal for two in a mid-range restaurant: £45

As the primary town in one of the most desirable counties in England, rental prices in Guildford are undeniably expensive. For an average 1-bedroom apartment, it costs £911.11 per month to rent in the suburbs and £1,168.75 per month to rent in the town centre. An upmarket 3-bedroom apartment in Guildford typically costs between £1,500 and £2,000 per month to rent. However, with competitive wages, you won’t have to worry about being unable to afford your new chef whites.

With a well-connected network of bus and train routes across the county, getting around Guildford and Surrey is easy. There are over 150 bus services operating from Guildford that travel across the town as well as to nearby destinations such as Woking and Godalming. A daily bus pass costs around £7. By rail, London Waterloo, Gatwick Airport and the South Coast are less than an hour away — making Guildford a great base both for commuting to London and for exploring the South East of England.

As for food and drink, supermarkets in Guildford sell produce at the same prices you’d find elsewhere in the country. Dining out also represents decent value for money. A meal for one at an inexpensive eatery costs around £13, while a three-course meal for two in a mid-range restaurant can be enjoyed for around £45.

Council tax in Guildford is paid to Guildford Borough Council. The amount you’ll pay depends on the neighbourhood you live in and the value of the property you buy or rent. The cheapest tax band is £1,257.26 (in Wisley) while the most expensive properties cost around £3,980.24 a year (in Normandy).

Bars, kitchens and restaurants in Guildford

As you’d expect of a large, historic town, a variety of food and drink establishments can be found across Guildford. From boisterous country boozers to sophisticated haute cuisine restaurants, this charming town attracts diners from all corners of Surrey.

Guildford has a longstanding culinary tradition and a wide selection of international cuisines can be sampled, including Italian, French, Indian, Chinese, Lebanese, Thai, Japanese, Spanish, Greek, Caribbean and Mexican. And there’s also plenty of traditional or modern British fare, too.

Many of the Guildford’s best restaurants can be found clustered around the town centre, including in the Tunsgate Quarter, a modern shopping mall. The Cosy Club is open all day; serving breakfast, lunch and dinner in a relaxing, quirky atmosphere. Pho is a Vietnamese street food restaurant serving an array of pho noodle soups, fragrant curries, healthy salads, fresh juices, coffees and cocktails. The Ivy Castle View is a plush restaurant featuring upscale British meals and craft cocktails, plus a patio with splendid castle views.

Found inside an intriguing red-brick Elizabethan building, Positano is arguably the town’s best Italian thanks to its warm ambience and decadent menu. A hit among Guildfordian diners, The Jetty is a casual eatery serving British seafood and meat classics as well as a wide selection of beers, wine and cocktails. La Casita Restaurant brings the tastes of Spain to Surrey, with a mouthwatering tapas menu. And with innovative food from head chef Jose Graziosi, it’s little wonder that the rural The Oak Hall Restaurant at Barnett Hill in Wonersh has been awarded two AA Rosettes.

As for gastropubs, the cream of the crop include The Britannia, a welcoming watering hole with a covered courtyard; The March Hare, a slick, split-level brasserie with a deck terrace; The Drummond, a quirky pub serving exceptional Sunday roasts; and The Weyside, a cosy riverside spot serving cask ales and British dishes.

For fans of affordable casual dining, there are numerous food and drink chains with a presence in Guildford. These include Bill’s, Cote Brasserie, Ask Italian, Turtle Bay, Franco Manca, Wagamama, Yo! Sushi, Costa Coffee, Nando’s and Pizza Express. Cafe culture is also well represented, with several delis and tea shops providing a relaxed daytime working environment. Set in the idyllic courtyard of Guildford House Gallery, The Gallery Cafe is ideal for a spot of lunch, while The Tea Terrace (located in the House of Fraser) perfects the art of the English tea room experience.

There’s much more to Guildford than just bars and restaurants, with a wide range of hospitality and catering opportunities in the town’s many primary and secondary schools, care homes, and hotels, as well as in the university. No matter whether you’re a seasoned head chef or a kitchen porter just starting out in the industry, Surrey’s county town is a great place to further your career.

Find Blue Arrow in Guildford

Click here for more information on our Guildford branch

Blue Arrow Guildford
Office G.03
Regus Guildford
1 Farnham Road

Tel: 01483 506 200

Branch Opening Times
Monday - Friday: 8:00am - 5:30pm

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