Areas of work, specialisms and alternatives

Food service, pubs and clubs

22 Jun 2023, 13:19

Hospitality, sport, leisure and tourism careers for graduates: food service, pubs and clubs.

Food service

This sector of the tourism and hospitality industry includes:

  • Restaurants, bars, clubs, cafés, delicatessens, patisseries, fast food outlets, sandwich bars.
  • Catering companies on location, catering for events such as conferences, weddings, sports events, concerts and movie filming.
  • In-house catering operations including those in large corporate settings.
  • Other private and public sector employers such as schools, prisons, hospitals, nursing homes and transport providers.

Types of job

Graduate jobs in this sector include:

  • Catering assistant
  • Waiter/waitress
  • Chef
  • Catering officer
  • Catering manager
  • Regional manager
  • Purchasing officer
  • Bar person
  • Bar manager
  • Club manager
  • Entertainment co-ordinator.

Restaurant and bars

Qualifications and skills

To be a successful restaurant or bar manager you will need to have excellent organisation, problem-solving, promotion and people skills, including the ability to build strong relationships with customers and staff. Budgeting and stock-taking skills are also highly desirable.

While practical experience is vital for progression in these areas, third-level qualifications have become far more commonplace amongst employees, particularly those in management positions.


Restaurant and bar managers can secure salaries of €25,000-€40,000, with assistant managers or supervisors offered less. Managers in the top restaurants can expect much higher levels.


Qualifications and skills

To become a chef you will need to have a professional culinary qualification. In addition to being able to prepare foods at all levels, you will need to be well organised, have great stamina and an ability to work well under pressure and in a team. Managerial roles such as chef de partie and upwards would typically need a degree or significant industry experience.

As you progress you will take on more management responsibilities such as staffing issues, dealing with suppliers and financial concerns. You may end up running all these areas if you decide to start your own business. You will need skills such as communication, leadership, teamwork, problem-solving and the ability to motivate.


Culinary graduates with the relevant work experience can expect to enter the industry at chef de partie level with a salary range of €20,000-€30,000. Head chefs can demand salaries of €50,000-€70,000 or even higher in the higher profile locations. Specialist roles such as pastry chefs can earn €25,000-€35,000.

Catering and food service

Contract catering or food service management involves providing and managing an ongoing food service operation for clients, or dealing with a one-off event. Clients include those in the business, transport/travel, education, healthcare and entertainment sectors as well as individuals.

Qualifications and skills

Organisational skills are key for those in managerial roles as are the skills of problem-solving, staff management, budgeting and building relationships with clients and customers.

Graduates with relevant experience can apply for supervisory roles, while management training programmes are becoming more common.


Salary levels for supervisory roles can range from €22,000-€25,000 depending on experience, with some graduate programmes offering €25,000-€30,000. Experienced catering managers can expect to earn €35,000-€40,000.

gradireland editorial advice

This describes editorially independent and impartial content, which has been written and edited by the gradireland content team. Any external contributors featuring in the article are in line with our non-advertorial policy, by which we mean that we do not promote one organisation over another.

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