Chef Jobs Manchester, Aerial view of Manchester City

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The catering and hospitality sector in Manchester

  • Executive Head Chef Salary (June 2019) in Manchester: £45,600 a year / £22.66 per hour
  • Sous Chef Salary (June 2019) in Manchester: £24,154 a year / £11.61 per hour
  • Chef de Partie Salary (June 2019) in Manchester: £20,651 a year / £9.93 per hour

Manchester will forever be synonymous with industrial innovation, artistic achievement and footballing prowess, and rightly so. But what fewer people realise is that the city known as Cottonopolis is home to thriving culinary scene that’s the envy of foodie aficionados all over the UK. Whether you’re a bar manager with lots of experience or a kitchen porter just starting out in the game, an eclectic range of catering and hospitality opportunities await around every corner.

An economic powerhouse that employs over 1.3 million people, Manchester’s impressive economic forecasts and low operating costs make it a great place to open a business. Despite a spate of recent high-profile closures, the city can proudly lay claim to the fastest-growing food and drink scene in the country. In fact, the scene is growing three times faster than London’s: over the last five years, the number of new openings in the city centre has increased by 22%.

With business booming and wages rising, there’s never been a better time to work in food and drink in Manchester. Our most recent data reveals that the average chef can expect to take home up to £23,000 a year, while an executive head chef can earn up to £50,000 both higher than Liverpool or Birmingham.

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It’s not just bars and restaurants that provide meaningful employment for catering and hospitality staff in Manchester. Manchester Airport is one of the north west’s biggest employers, offering plenty of opportunities in a number of roles from gastropub managers to part-time baristas. Other major employers for permanent, temporary and contract catering staff include Manchester University and Manchester Arena, as well as the many hundreds of schools and dozens of hotels in the city.

To stay on top of your game in the catering and hospitality sector, training is key. Fortunately, there are a number of industry-recognised training courses across Manchester. Better still, if you work for a Blue Arrow employer, you can also upskill with one of our Blue Arrow Apprenticeships.

Manchester is a dynamic, diverse city that’s ideal for the ambitious catering and hospitality professional. With so many high-quality establishments to choose from, there won’t be many blue Mondays in Mancunia.

Cost of living in Manchester

  • Average monthly rent in Manchester: £560-£1,350
  • Monthly travel pass: £64 (all forms of public transport)
  • Meal for two in a mid-range restaurant: £50
  • Council Tax: £1,097 - £3,292 per year / £91 - £274 per month

Despite being a city of international renown, Manchester is a relatively affordable city to live and work especially for those accustomed to the London life. An average 1-bedroom apartment just outside of Manchester city centre costs around £560 per month, while a 3-bedroom city centre apartment will set you back £1,340.

As for public transport, the city’s strong sense of civic pride means it’s easy to get from A to B. The well-established tram and bus networks provide regular, cheap travel right across the Greater Manchester region. Some bus services, such as the 86 Manchester Piccadilly to Sale (Ashfield Road) and 142 Manchester Piccadilly to East Didsbury, operate until the early hours essential for those working late-night shifts. A monthly pass for public transport costs £64, while a one-way ticket costs £2.80.

For anyone working in the catering and hospitality industry, it’s important to get a handle on food costs. Supermarkets in Manchester provide food and drink at the same prices you’d expect anywhere else in the country. Eating out at a restaurant also represents value for money, especially considering that it’s one of the best in the UK. A meal for one in an inexpensive restaurant costs around £12, while a three-course meal for two in a mid-range eatery costs around £50.

Council tax in Manchester depends on the area you live in, as well as the size property you buy or rent. The cheapest tax band is £1097.34 while the most luxurious properties fetch £3292.04.

Get in touch with Blue Arrow Manchester

Bars, kitchens and restaurants in Manchester

The Manchester food and drink scene is at once both well-established and up-and-coming. Though several famous restaurants have been flying the flag for decades, independent upstarts are springing up left, right and centre. And with a generous smattering of outstanding eateries, bars and roasteries, landing a suitable hospitality job in Manchester is easier than in most British cities.

Though Michelin stars remain elusive the last time a Mancunian restaurant was awarded a star was back in the 1970s a number of high-profile chefs have recently set up shop in the city to galvanise its taste for haute cuisine.

A staple of gastronomic excellence, Adam Reid’s residency at The French won a spot on The Good Food Guide’s list of 2018’s best restaurants. In 2019, Simon Martin’s Ancoats-based restaurant, Mana, was named as one of the UK’s top 100 restaurants at the prestigious National Restaurant Awards, despite only opening its doors 12 months earlier. And at James Martin Manchester, diners can sample the finest modern British cuisine courtesy of the eponymous celebrity chef.

We couldn’t talk about Manchester’s food scene without mentioning the world-famous “Curry Mile”. Running through the heart of Rusholme in the south of the city, this stretch of Wilmslow Road is thought to be the largest concentration of South Asian restaurants outside the Indian Subcontinent. Whether it’s 2pm or 2am, this part of town constantly bustling with hungry diners seeking some of the tastiest rogan josh around.

Mention best nights out in the UK, and Manchester’s vibrant bar scene is sure to feature prominently in the conversation. From incredible cocktail bars and themed speakeasies to traditional English boozers, Manchester has it all. The glamorous 20 Stories serves up contemporary cocktails alongside an unparalleled panorama of the Manchester skyline, while Castlefield’s The Wharf provides a slice of bucolic charm in a converted warehouse setting.

As you’d expect with a modern, metropolitan city, coffee culture in Mancunia is also thriving. CBD is a quaint cafe in Chorlton that dishes out a range of CBD-infused food and drinks. Bonbon is the Northern Quarter’s go-to haunt for chocolate-fuelled escapism, while Heart and Graft supplies Salford’s best soy flat white. Other favourites include Fig & Sparrow, North Tea Power, the Nordic-themed Takk.

No matter whether you’re an executive head chef or cook, mixologist or coffee shop manager, Manchester is one of the best places in the UK to live, work and flourish.

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Find Blue Arrow in Manchester

We have two branches based in Greater Manchester. Click the links below for more information: