Are There Hospitality Management Jobs Available for Older Workers?
If you look at the demographics of culinary students and working cooks/chefs, you’ll most likely see that the field is populated primarily by young professionals in their twenties and thirties. The reasons for this are varied, but are due in large part to the demanding nature of the job.
Chefs are notorious for working long days (and nights) on their feet, often to the tune of 60 hours a week and without weekends or holidays off. This lends itself to a younger workforce, since they are more likely to be able to handle the physical aspects of the job—and they might not yet have a family that requires more stable working hours.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you can’t be in your forties, fifties, sixties, or even higher and not enjoy a culinary career. Whether you’re looking for options to transfer to within the culinary field, or if you’re considering going back to school as an older adult, here are a few careers that might be in your future.
Chain Restaurants: Larger companies (think Disney or chain restaurants) like to boost their public image and promote diversity by hiring in a wide range of ages. The good news about jobs in these locations is that they’ll take age into account and offer you positions that don’t require you to be on your feet all day. You might also be able to work flexible hours doing things like prep work in the mornings
Management-Level Positions: If you have the benefit of experience, you might find that the doors to management jobs are wide open. It doesn’t matter if your experience is in healthcare, business, or a customer service—when you combine a newly earned culinary career with decades of work experience, you can bring something new to the table. As long as you spin it right, you might find that you can skip working in the kitchen and go right to restaurant management.
Teaching: If you’ve put in the time and worked your way through a successful culinary career, now is the time to consider alternate options like teaching. Becoming a chef-instructor (or using your other work experience to teach business management, human resources, or even accounting for culinary students) is a great way to stay in touch with the restaurant industry on your own terms.
Retirement from one career doesn’t have to signal the end of your working life. No matter where you are in your job path, there are opportunities and advantages waiting for you in the culinary field.
Read, Read and Read Some MoreOne of the best suggestions I have for anyone thinking of going to culinary school or just getting into the restaurant industry is to read everything you can get your hands on. Learn from professional chefs who have worked in the industry and those who have taught in culinary schools.
There are many great books available to get you started in your culinary education and I suggest you read as much as possible before making that big decision to make sure this is the right move for you. Below is just a sample of books you might be interested in checking out.
For a much more comprehensive list of books for aspiring culinary, baking and restaurant management students, I suggest checking out my post on books for future culinary students and chefs.