London is now one of the gastronomic capitals of the world. As well as many leading food processing firms, the city is home to a range of michelin-starred restaurants, branded food operations and trendy clubs and bars.
It is believed that over 250,000 people are currently employed in London's many bars, restaurants, hotels and cafes. Whilst many of the employment opportunities are for unskilled workers, many leading catering operators provide excellent opportunities for progression. A lot of catering staff in London work on a part-time or casual basis, but that suits students, parents and those looking for a second income.
The major employers in the food and drink industry are branded chain restaurants and hotels. Household names such as McDonald's, Pizza Hut and Starbucks employ several thousand people in London, and hotel chains such as Holiday Inn, Best Western and Hilton are also major employers in the sector. Whilst recruitment agencies are not always looking for formal qualifications, candidates will usually need to demonstrate a flair for customer service and a pleasant manner. Flexibility is also a must, as many catering establishments in London operate on a 24-hour basis.
Hourly rates for waiting and customer service staff in the sector range from minimum wage to £10 per hour. Unit managers can earn up to £50,000 in large restaurants and entertainment venues, and regional managers have the opportunity to earn more than £70,000 per year when bonuses are factored in.