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The catering and hospitality sector in Newbury

  • Head chef salary (August 2019) in Newbury: £36,500 a year / £17.55 per hour
  • Sous chef salary (August 2019) in Newbury: £27,750 a year / £13.36 per hour
  • Chef de partie salary (August 2019) in Newbury: £21,100 a year / £12 per hour
A quaint market town situated in the heart of Berkshire, Newbury is a prime destination for hospitality and catering professionals looking for somewhere with a relaxed pace of life. 

Lying on the edge of the Berkshire Downs (part of the North Wessex Downs), this settlement of 70,000 people combines small-town charm with rural escapism. There’s plenty of history to get stuck into, too, with the medieval Donnington Castle looming over the town. For those escaping the big city, few places offer such a sweet deal.

Newbury is much more than a picturesque backwater, however. The town is only 26 miles south of Oxford, 25 miles north of Winchester, 27 miles east of Swindon and 20 miles west of Reading, meaning it’s truly at the heart of southern England. 

Businesses have taken note. Telecoms giant Vodafone UK have their headquarters here, as do the software company Micro Focus International. And for fans of high-brow, thoroughbred entertainment, Newbury Racecourse acts a major draw to the town.

But what’s in it for catering and hospitality professionals? Well, you’ll be pleased to know that Newbury has a variety of jobs available all year round — from a commis chef in a high-end eatery to a catering assistant in a nursing home. Various events throughout the year (particularly at the Racecourse) also ensure that seasonal employment opportunities are rarely in short supply. 

If that’s not all, salaries are among the most competitive in the region. According to the latest Blue Arrow data, a head chef can earn over £36,000 annually. Meanwhile, a chef de partie can earn over £23,000 a year.

Finally, for chefs looking to expand their culinary repertoire, the Newbury area is home to a variety of upskilling opportunities, such as as the Cookery Level 1 Diploma course on offer at Newbury College. Alternatively, if you find work with one of Blue Arrow’s catering employers, you can join one of Blue Arrow’s Apprenticeship programmes.

Cost of living in Newbury

  • Average monthly rent in Newbury: £750-£1,200
  • Monthly travel pass: £46.50 (all forms of public transport)
  • Meal for two in a mid-range restaurant: £47.50

Rental prices in Newbury are about average for the region 25% higher than Swindon but 25% lower than Oxford. An average 1-bedroom apartment in the suburbs costs around £700 per month to rent, while a high-end 3-bedroom Newbury town centre apartment will set you back £1,325

The town is served by two railway stations that both lie on the Reading to Plymouth Line: Newbury and Newbury Racecourse. Most of the town’s focal points (as well as those in the surrounding West Berkshire region) can be accessed via regular bus services that are operated by Reading Buses. For drivers, Newbury is also handily located between the M4, the main route from London to Bristol, and the M3, the main route from London to Southampton.

As for food and drink, supermarkets in Newbury sell produce at the same prices you’d find elsewhere in the country. Dining out also represents value for money. A meal for one at an inexpensive eatery costs around £12, while a three-course meal for two in a mid-range restaurant can be enjoyed for around £47.50.

Council tax in Newbury is paid to West Berkshire 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 £1,191.51 while the most expensive properties cost around £3,574.54 a year.

Bars, kitchens and restaurants in Newbury

As you’d expect of a historic market town, a variety of culinary flavours can be sampled around the centre of Newbury. From Thai and Indian spices to the richness of France, this charming town attracts diners from all corners of Berkshire.

Set inside the Kennet Shopping mall, The Catherine Wheel sticks to what it does best: “gins, ciders, beers and pies.” Valle d’Oro and Mio Fiore serve up some of the best Italian cuisine in West Berkshire. Meanwhile, a range of bars and pubs line the pedestrianised streets of the town centre.

For fans of casual dining, there are also numerous food and drink chains with a presence in Newbury, including Bill’s, Slug & Lettuce, Ask Italian, Papa Johns, Pret A Manger, Toby Carvery, Nando’s and Pizza Express. Cafe culture is also well represented, with several delis and tea shops straddling the banks of the River Kennet.

While most dining establishments in Newbury are clustered around the town centre, traditional gastropubs and other fine dining hotspots dot the rural outskirts. Of these, The Red House, a thatched pub in a garden setting, and The Woodspeen Restaurant, featuring innovative preparations of fresh local produce, are particular favourites among locals.

Slightly further afield, visitors to Newbury Racecourse will notice the wide array of food and drink outlets around the paddock. From casual dining restaurants and champagne bars to trackside fish and chips and real ale on tap, there’s plenty for punters to get their teeth into.

There’s much more to Newbury than just bars and restaurants, with a wide range of hospitality and catering opportunities in the town’s many primary and secondary schools, as well as in Newbury College and West Berkshire Community Hospital. No matter whether you’re a head chef, kitchen porter, bar manager or barista, this Berkshire town is a great place to grow your career.

Find Blue Arrow in Newbury

For more information on our Newbury branch, click here.

Blue Arrow Newbury
1st Floor
17a Northbrook Street
RG14 1DJ

Tel: 01635 34949

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

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