Group of chefs in the kitchen preparing food

Working Environments for Hospitality and Catering

Food today is not only a necessity but a key component of our social lives. It is no surprise then that there are endless job opportunities in the hospitality and catering industry with a wide range of different working environments.  

Where do Chefs work?

You are in the kitchen of a popular restaurant, mid-service on a Saturday night. It is fast-paced, hot and, let’s be honest, right now it’s stressful!

Is this the kind of environment where you would thrive? For many Chefs the pace and excitement are part of the lure of the job. To be successful in a catering work environment like this you need to have the stamina to meet the physical and mental demands of the job. 

A lot of the Chef jobs we place for are in restaurants, hotels or gastro pubs. Whether it’s fast food, the local pub or a fine dining restaurant, all these establishments will have long hours so you need to be prepared to work long days. In hotels especially this could mean split shifts, arriving early in the morning to prepare for the breakfast service, having a break during the day and returning to work for the evening dinner service, which can often end up finishing late at night. Many Chefs find this kind of working environment gives them more variety in their day and they prefer the flexibility of the shifts.

A different working environment where Blue Arrow regularly places Chefs and catering staff is in schools, care homes and hospitals. Chef jobs in these places can be more predictable, the hours are more sociable and the mealtimes are usually set, so you can expect your shift to end at the same time each day. This may be preferable, especially if you have a family, but there will be less variety in the day to day service and not  as  much creativity in the food and menu options. 

If you want to find out more about how Chefs cope with working in a busy commercial kitchen, read what one Blue Arrow Chef had to say. If you are thinking about starting a career as a Chef, want to learn new cooking techniques or need to become more aware of food safety there are lots of useful online resources that can help you. 8 ways to train as a Chef for free will help you get started. 

Where do Front of House Staff Work?

As a Waiter or Waitress the most common working environment is in a restaurant or hotel. Front of House staff are the ‘face’ of the establishment, so you need to be able to keep your cool even when you’re at the busiest part of your shift. 

Your tables are waiting for food, the Chefs are shouting out orders from the kitchen but despite this, you still need to keep a smile on your face and keep the customers happy. 

There are also temporary assignments for Waiting Staff at special events such as weddings, award ceremonies and formal dinners, which can be original and fun opportunities. 

Bartenders can find work in a traditional pub, a sports bar or at a special event. The working environment varies depending on the place. In a ‘local’ pub the pace will be slower and you will likely have more chance to get to know and chat with the regular customers. If you prefer a busier, faster paced environment then look for a Bartender job in a busy ‘town’ pub or sports bar, where you will have a continual flow of customers throughout the night.

Every town around the country now has a choice of coffee shops and the role of Barista has become a sort after profession. The work environment for Baristas will vary with the location and often the time of day. A coffee shop near a busy commuter station will be fast paced, especially in the early morning, while a café in a local town centre may be more relaxed with a steady flow of customers.

If you are thinking about a career in hospitality and catering you might want to visit one of the many food and drink events that happen every year around the country.