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Restaurant Career

Food services and drinking places may be the world's most widespread and familiar industry. These establishments include all types of restaurants, from casual fast-food eateries to formal, elegant dining establishments.

The food services and drinking places industry comprises about 500,000 places of employment in large cities, small towns, and rural areas across the United States. The fact is there's no better time to begin exploring your desires to start a restaurant career, especially with the growing popularity of the food industry.

Essentially the only requirement is that you have a passion for food and for providing a great experience to customers. Whether you want to explore your managerial talents by supervising restaurant operations or business development, or you'd like a more hands-on approach by stepping foot in the kitchen, there are a wide variety of positions within a restaurant career.

And for every position, there is exciting coursework available to get you the important knowledge and experience you need to really become a desired commodity in the workplace. Combine your ability to direct a staff with a degree in management, and you'll be a valuable asset to any restaurant. Take your passion for food preparation and pair that with a degree in culinary arts and an internship at a reputable restaurant and your restaurant career will be off and running.

About 45 percent of establishments in this industry are limited-service eating places, such as fast-food restaurants, cafeterias, and snack and nonalcoholic beverage bars, that primarily serve patrons who order or select items and pay before eating.

Full-service restaurants account for about 39 percent of establishments and cater to patrons who order, are served, and consume their food while seated, and then pay after eating.

Drinking places (alcoholic beverages) - bars, pubs, nightclubs, and taverns - primarily prepare and serve alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises. Drinking places comprise about 11 percent of all establishments in this industry.

Special food services, such as food service contractors, caterers, and mobile food service vendors, account for less than 6 percent of establishments in the industry.

The most common type of a limited-service eating place is a franchised operation of a nationwide restaurant chain that sells fast food. Features that characterize these restaurants include a limited menu, the absence of waiters and waitresses, and emphasis on limited service.

Menu selections usually offer limited variety and are prepared by workers with minimal cooking skills. Food typically is served in disposable, take-out containers that retain the food's warmth, allowing restaurants to prepare orders in advance of customers' requests. A growing number of fast-food restaurants provide drive-through and walk-up services.

Cafeterias are another type of limited-service eating place and usually offer a somewhat limited selection that varies daily. Cafeterias also may provide separate serving stations for salads or short-order grill items, such as grilled sandwiches or hamburgers. Patrons select from food and drink items on display in a continuous cafeteria line.

Cafeteria selections may include foods that require more complicated preparations and greater culinary skills than are required in fast-food restaurants. Selections usually are prepared ahead in large quantities and seldom are cooked to the customer's order.

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