Hospitality encompasses a wide variety of different roles and career paths. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, hospitality jobs are those that provide customers with lodging and food or beverages. That makes it an extensive field for which many jobs qualify.
April 2017 data from the DOL says growth in the hospitality field is widespread and expected to continue. That makes it a good field to enter, particularly for an area like Omaha where food and leisure are an extensive part of the culture.
Omaha consistently ranks high on lists of “foodie” cities in the U.S. This makes it a prime location for new and innovative eateries and therefore a great place for you to begin.
Education versus OJT
Metropolitan Community College is one of Omaha’s best-known routes to study hospitality. A degree program is a good idea if you’re interested in entering management in hospitality, or for those hospitality careers that require special training, such as chef.
Of course, not all positions require degrees because many locations provide on-the-job (OJT) training. Experience and expertise are important in the hospitality industry because employers want applicants who can handle the pressures of dealing with the public while maintaining a pleasant demeanor.
Education, coupled with training and experience, are the keys to advancement in the hospitality industry. You may not need a degree for some of the more interesting career paths – such as sommelier – but you certainly should be good at what you do and have a vast store of knowledge.
More than food service
Since there is no shortage of eateries or hotels in the Omaha area, finding a job in the field isn’t necessarily difficult, particularly if you’re willing to start at an entry-level position.
Hotels need ample staff to keep operations running smoothly, from housekeeping to porters to the concierge and event planner. General managers of premier hotels and resorts frequently appear on lists of well-paid jobs in growing fields. Salaries vary greatly from one position to another at hotels, and from one location to another.
Drivers, grounds staff and meeting coordinators are also in the hospitality category. Not all hospitality careers involve direct contact with customers, yet most do. Back-office staff for hotels and entertainment venues may not come into contact with customers, but the work they do helps the rest of the hospitality staff.
Fast-paced eatery jobs
Restaurants rely on servers, runners, bussers and hosts to assure everything runs smoothly so the chef and kitchen staff can prepare the meals. The annual median pay for restaurant managers as of 2016, according to the DOL, is around $51,000.
The DOL further says workers in the food and beverage hospitality field will experience job growth, and those with ample experience and some education have the best hopes for career advancement.
Hospitality is so much more than food service, although that does comprise a great deal of hospitality careers. If you enjoy working with other people in an often fast-paced environment, you may enjoy a career in hospitality. This career is not suitable if you are easily agitated by other people, since the old saying, “The customer is always right,” is prevalent throughout the hospitality field.
How to get started
A lack of experience does not automatically exclude you from pursuing a hospitality job. Many places are willing to train to ensure things are done the way they want them done. That can allow newcomers to secure a position with no prior experience.
If you know someone already in the field, it can be a huge advantage. Such connections can help you get your foot in the door. Apply for a hospitality job as you would any other job. But don’t let the casual environment of an eatery or hotel lead you to believe you don’t need to present a professional demeanor. Be prepared to answer interview questions and to demonstrate your ability to deal well with people.
Ways to advance
Be detail-driven and come up with creative ways to solve problems. Manage your time well and motivate the people around you – these traits will help you quickly progress in your hospitality career. Become an expert in your field and you will earn the respect of those in charge of promoting people to bigger responsibilities (and paychecks).
Working in hospitality can be a rewarding career, particularly if you enjoy working with people and having each day a little different from the one before.