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By: Dr. John T. Self

Business and Industry Food Service

Business and Industry companies manage foodservice for corporate customers such as Apple Computers, Ford Motor Company, IBM, Hewlett Packard, and United Airlines, just to name just a few.

There are many possible positions: Food Service Director, Executive Chef, Sous Chef, Chef, Food Production Manager, Executive Dining Room Manager.

The Foodservice Director co-ordinates all foodservice within an account; implements and ensures overall foodservice quality, menus, and selection standards. The Foodservice Manager has a great deal of flexibility and creativity in developing the menus for their accounts. S/he develops the foodservice budget and directs and guides all management staff. There can be expresso bars and convenience stores added into the mix of responsibilities. Often corporate catering exceeds 50% of sales.

Client relations are a very important part of the job as you want your B & I company to retain its contract.

Typical career path:
A typical entry point would be as a Foodservice manager. From there you would most likely be transferred to larger accounts.

From the management positions, an individual can progress to District Manager and Staff positions.

Management primarily works hours similar to the client's weekly business hours. The typical workday would start at 6 a.m. and go until 4 p.m. In general, you can count on 50 hours per week from Monday through Friday, with limited special events on some weekends or evening catered events.

Best Part:

  • Weekends and most holidays off.
  • Work in an exciting business environment that means you will become part of the culture of the client business.
  • Maintain cutting edge culinary standards that equal or exceed outside restaurants.
  • Can be creative with promotional opportunities.

Worst Part:
Balancing your own company policies and goals with your client's.

Pay, Perks and Benefits:
Compensation and benefits are consistent with a large organization wanting to attract a high quality candidate. Often the benefits are among best in the foodservice industry. Depending on the type of account, the corporate customer often gives discounts on their products. There are few weekends, evenings or holidays required.

About the author:  John T. Self is a lecturer at The Collins School of Hospitality Management at California State Polytechnic University (Cal Poly Pomona). Prior to entering academe, Dr. Self spent fifteen years in the restaurant industry. While in the corporate world, he worked for several chains including overseeing six restaurants with sales of over twenty million dollars. He has also owned three independent restaurants. While at Golden Gate University, he started the partnership with Dalian University of Technology in Dalian, China and is continuing in that involvement at Cal Poly.

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