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The catering and hospitality sector in Southampton

  • Chef Salary (April 2019) in Southampton: £24,094 per year / £12.35 per hour
  • Executive Head Chef Salary (April 2019) in Southampton: £42,500 per year / £21.79 per hour
  • Assistant Chef Salary (April 2019) in Southampton: £17,378 per year / £8.91 per hour

Southampton has always been a hub of creativity, culture and commerce. Ever since the days of Roman Britain, when it was a vital trading port, the city has been home to exciting job opportunities, thanks in part to its location. The same can be said today, especially for those working in catering and hospitality.

Our most recent data suggests that take-home pay for catering and hospitality professionals is on the up. Wages increased 2.2% last year, with Nomis reporting that employment in the city continues to grow year-on-year. The average salary for a chef is over £24,000 a year (hourly rate), whilst an executive head chef can expect to earn £42,500 (hourly rate). 

Demand for staff in catering and hospitality is also on the rise. Though many service-based industries are declining, catering and hospitality jobs in Southampton look well-set to increase in demand in the near to long-term future for both chefs and waiters. Seasonal demand also plays a part, with peak summer and Christmas periods providing greater opportunities.

Training is readily available in the area, too. Southampton City College offers courses in Professional Cookery and Culinary Skills, whilst also offering a Professional Cookery Apprenticeship for those looking to make their first steps towards becoming a star chef. And if you work for one of Blue Arrow’s large catering employers, you could also have the opportunity to join a Blue Arrow Apprenticeship course.

Little wonder creative chefs are flocking to the area. Matthew Tomkinson, the twice-recognised Michelin-star Chef, has recently brought his locally sourced menu at the King’s Head pub in Whiteparish. Meanwhile, local icon Buffalo Bills, previously in a state of disuse, is set for a new lease of life. 

Southampton is definitely a city on the up for people working in catering and hospitality.

Cost of living in Southampton

Average monthly rent in Southampton: £585-£1,021

  • Monthly travel pass: £45 (bus)
  • Meal for two in a mid-range restaurant: £40
  • Council tax: £1,203-£3,609 per year / £100.25  - £300.75 per month
    Data from Numbeo

Southampton is an affordable city, especially compared to the “trendier” hubs of Bristol and London. An average 1-bedroom apartment just outside of the city centre will cost around £585.83 a month to rent, whilst you can expect to pay £1,021.43 a month for a family-sized 3-bedroom property. 

Transport in the area offers good value for money. A monthly travel pass for public transport in Southampton is around £45, whilst a one-way ticket starts at £2. Buses are regular, reliable, and the best way to get around the city. Services don’t operate 24 hours, but buses run past 11pm on the most popular routes.

Of course, for those who work in catering and hospitality, food costs are important. Supermarkets are the same as everywhere in the UK. A meal in an inexpensive restaurant will set you back around £12. A three-course meal for two is likely to cost around £40 in a mid-range restaurant, which is great value for money.

Council tax in Southampton depends on which area you live, and what size property you buy or rent. The cheapest tax band starts at £1,203 and is stretched to £3,609 for the most luxurious properties.

Bars, kitchens and restaurants in Southampton

Southampton has a thriving bar, restaurant and coffee shop scene. Not to mention the local universities, colleges and hospitals which are always on the lookout for catering talent.Whatever your specialism, you’re likely to find an establishment that reflects your skills and passions.

From Oxford Brasserie, an upmarket modern European restaurant serving Lymington crab linguine and scallops with black pudding and pork belly, to Cafe Thrive’s all-day vegan fare, Southampton is home to some of the most eclectic and interesting places to eat, work and cook in the South-West.

There’s even a Masterchef winner cooking up a storm in Southampton. Shelina Permalloo, who won the popular TV series in 2012, opened Lakaz Maman, an authentic Mauritian street food restaurant in Bedford Place. Unsurprisingly, it’s received consistently positive reviews. A must-visit for all chefs in Southampton looking for culinary inspiration.

Southampton is not just great for chefs, either. The city has some truly exceptional bars. The timber-clad, hipster-central hoppiness of Dancing Man Brewery is the place to be for those who love IPAs and sour beers, whilst The Rockstone pairs classic beers with the biggest burgers in the Solent city. The Common People festival, hosted by the makers of Bestival, also offers extra opportunities each year.

Thriving coffee shop scenes are a key component to any great city, especially for professional baristas. Southampton is no different. Make & Brew on St. James Road, and The Docks Coffee House on Oxford Street brew the best independent Cortados and Mocha Lattes.

Whether you’re a bar manager, head chef, sous chef, or barista, Southampton has got you covered.

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Where to find Blue Arrow in Southampton

For permanent jobs in catering, contact our perm specialists.

Blue Arrow Southampton
23-25 Portland Terrace
SO14 7EN

Tel: 02380 330 012

Branch Opening Times
Monday - Friday: 7:30am - 5:30pm

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Permanent Specialists in Catering
2nd Floor, White Building
Cumberland Place
SO15 2UN

Tel: 02380 636 256

Branch Opening Times
Monday - Friday: 7:30am-5:00pm

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