How to Get Out of the Restaurant Industry

How To Get Out of the Restaurant Industry: Full Guide

Last Updated on May 16, 2024 by Shari Mason

Having a job in the food service or restaurant industry is not easy. It often involves working long hours, receiving low pay, and dealing with high levels of pressure, especially when dealing with demanding customers. #RestaurantLife #FoodIndustryChallenges.

If you’re tired of being constantly on your feet and dealing with all kinds of people, it may be the best time to look into some job opportunities in other industries.

Read on to learn how to get out of the restaurant industry for a must-have career change.

3 Ways To Leave the Restaurant Industry

1. Evaluate Career Goals

First, you must make the most of your time and energy in evaluating your career goals before making a full exit from the restaurant industry.

Whether chasing a new career or starting your own business, your next move should be planned deliberately.

Think about the future and visualize what you want to achieve in life. Then, take the initiative to work hard toward achieving whatever you put your mind to.

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2. Match Your Goals & Skills to Job Listings

Next, research the job listings in other industries you’re most interested in and see what skill qualifications they require—and work on yourself to acquire them.

There are people with otherwise chaotic and disorganized lives, a certain type of person that’s always found a home in the restaurant business in much the same way that a lot of people find a home in the military.”

― Anthony Bourdain, American Celebrity Chef, Author, Travel Documentarian

You can take online courses, take training programs, or reach out to your social network, with whom you can gain first-hand knowledge.

Soon, all your hard work will pay off, and you’ll finally be able to say goodbye to the restaurant industry.

3. Identify Possible Transferable Skills 

Lastly, you can use the skills you obtained working in restaurants to your advantage in other careers you plan to pursue.

It can be skills in excellent customer service, multi-tasking under pressure, being a great team player, or anything else that could benefit you in your new profession.

With this in mind, working in restaurants for the past year or so was never a waste of time.

Why Are People Leaving the Restaurant Industry?

  • Most restaurant owners don’t provide professional development opportunities for their employees.
  • Many restaurant workers are paid low wages, which makes it difficult to sustain a comfortable living situation.
  • The restaurant manager is often treated like a well-oiled machine to work long hours, leaving little to no time to spend with family or friends.
  • The restaurant management is run poorly, creating a toxic working environment for employees.

5 Career Options If You Are Leaving the Restaurant Industry

1. Flight Attendant

Airline Flight Attendant

Flight attendants are highly sought after for their professionalism and customer service skills, which is also true for servers.

Flight attendant jobs offer roughly $40,000 to $80,000 per year [1], and many top airlines offer benefits like paid vacation and holidays and bonuses for exemplary service.

2. Event Planner

Event planners work closely with customers to plan and design special events like weddings, conferences, and parties, which is also relevant for most restaurant staff.

An event planner can earn around $50,000 per year [2]. However, it still depends on your level of experience in the particular field.

3. Food Writer / Critic

If you’re one of the back-of-house employees, like a kitchen manager, chef, or cook, consider becoming a writer or critic since you have a strong foundation in the culinary arts.

You can write online reviews about restaurants, blog about food trends or homemade recipes, or be a critic for magazines, newspapers, or TV shows.

The salary range for food writers or critics is $60,000 to $80,000 per year. However, it largely depends on your level of expertise or how established you are.

4. Sales / Customer Service Representative

hand typing on a laptop

The primary responsibility of most restaurant workers is to provide customers with a satisfying customer service experience. Furthermore, they are also asked to make sales, especially when they need to hit quotas for a particular month.

Sales and customer service representatives can earn $50,000 to $70,000 per year.

5. Social Media Coordinator 

Social media coordinator jobs involve strategizing on social media marketing campaigns to promote a particular business or industry, which is close to what general managers or assistant managers do.

Social media coordinators’ salary range typically falls between $30,000 and $50,000 per year.


u003cstrongu003eWhy do restaurant managers quit?u003c/strongu003e

Restaurant managers usually spend long hours at work, catering to customers’ needs and managing the staff—leaving them less time to devote to their families and friends.u003cbru003eu003cbru003eBut, most especially, their salary is significantly low despite their best efforts, often unnoticed by restaurant business owners.

u003cstrongu003eWhat are things to consider before getting out of the restaurant industry?u003c/strongu003e

You can request a greater work-life balance, an increase in salary or promotion, recognition programs, and professional development opportunities.

u003cstrongu003eWhat to do when you don’t want to be a chef anymore?u003c/strongu003e

You can consider becoming a dietitian, nutritionist, health inspector, food stylist, caterer, cooking instructor, personal shopper, or meal planner, aside from being a food writer or critic.u003cbru003eu003cbru003eAll of these still highlight your substantial knowledge of food and health. The only difference is that these pursuits involve a different side of the industry.

u003cstrongu003eIs changing industry a good career?u003c/strongu003e

Yes, changing industries is a better option, especially if there is no potential for personal and professional growth and an increase in salary in your current industry.

Key Takeaways

Many restaurants don’t know how to value their employees in several different aspects, which is why most are leaving the restaurant industry.

If you don’t want to continue working in a taxing restaurant setting, there are other professions you can pursue or even start your own business in the food industry.

Remember to enjoy the process while working hard for what you want to achieve in life, and eventually, you will get there. 


Shari Mason

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