Becoming a Restaurant Consultant
Traditionally, working in the culinary field means long hours, lots of weekend and holiday work, and being tied to a kitchen or restaurant for several years. In fact, unless you are a celebrity chef or a restaurant owner, there isn’t a whole lot of autonomy in the field.
However, as more and more people are searching for careers (even culinary ones) that provide a better work-life balance, new opportunities for culinary students and professionals are opening up. One such example is a restaurant consultant: a professional others turn to for help opening, running, maintaining, or streamlining their own culinary business.
Why There is a Need for Restaurant Consultants
Running a restaurant or hotel is a big job. Worrying about so much more than just the food on the plate, a successful restauranteur knows all about design, finance, real estate, human resources, project management, and customer service, just to name a few.
And in many cases, successful chefs capable of creating extraordinary dishes don’t have the time or the education needed to juggle all these tasks. A restaurant consultant can come in, help set up the restaurant or pick it up off its feet, and hopefully settle the chef for a long and successful future.
Because most restaurant consultants on a case-by-case basis with their clients, there is quite a bit of autonomy in this career. The best consultants can make their own schedules and travel around the world helping others to run their businesses.
How to Become a Restaurant Consultant
If this is a field you’re interested in becoming a part of, it’s best to have the education and experience you need to back up your credentials. In most cases, this means a four-year degree in hospitality management or restaurant management, as well as a few years working in a professional kitchen or even owning your own restaurant.
This kind of educational background helps because you not only have the culinary knowledge needed to succeed, but you have business training, as well. Because most restaurants hire a consultant because they need help with the business side of things, having that degree helps to lend you credibility and make you better prepared to offer sound and solid advice.
Once you have the degree in place, it’s up to you to find your niche. You can work with an existing restaurant consulting firm, or start your own. If you have the self-drive and entrepreneurship to build your own business, you can expect great things and plenty of good food in your future!
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.