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Is A Fast Food Career Right For You?

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How about you? Is a fast food career the right one for you? Not everyone is suited for such a career. How can you tell if you are? It's not an easy decision to mate. One way to begin is by finding out the answers to these questions:

  • What is the long-range view for the fast food industry?

  • What are the opportunities for advancement?

  • What are the working conditions like?

  • Are the wages and salary competitive?

  • Are good benefits available?

  • What type of career training is necessary?

  • What type of people is the industry looking for?

  • How do you get information about fast food careers?

  • What are the pros and cons of choosing a fast food career?
You know the answers to most of these questions. There are many pros and cons of working in Fast Food industry. Here, we will summarize some of the cons of having a career in the fast food industry. This will make it much simpler for you to answer the most important question of all: Would you really like a career in fast food?

The Negatives of A Fast Food Career

Whether you choose to have a career as a teacher, a doctor, a farmer, or an employee in the fast food industry, there are always negatives involved in choosing that career. The smart person is the one who knows what the negatives of a particular career are and weighs them against the advantages of the career before making a choice.

One of the negatives of the fast food career is the public's failure to recognize people working in this industry as professionals, an attitude the industry is trying to change. Employees in the fast food industry often are not treated with the respect and human dignity they deserve. Hopefully, this is changing as more and more people begin to work in the hospitality segment of the economy. Lack of prestige is one negative to choosing a fast food career. However, there are others that may be more important to you.

Hard Work, Physical Discomfort, and Long Hours

Whether you are a crew worker or the manager of a restaurant, the work is demanding. There is no time to sit and rest between tasks. The work is fast-paced. Customers have to be served in seconds, and during rush periods long lines of impatient people wait to order. When the pace slackens, it is time to clean.

There are physical discomforts, too. Most of a shift is spent on your feet. Even with the best ventilating systems, there is some smell of food. You will probably have to wear a uniform as well as a hat or hairnet. Then there is always the possibility of burns if you are not careful when working around the fryers or grills.

Finally, there are the hours. Shift hours may be flexible; nevertheless, they may not be your favorite hours to work. Some shifts begin very early in the day, as breakfasts are now being served in so many restaurants, while night shifts can extend into the wee hours, especially on weekends. Hours can be long, particularly for assistant managers and managers. Ten-hour days are common, as are 50-hour work weeks. In addition, these restaurants are always open on weekends and also on most holidays. Naturally, shift and holiday hours are rotated, but it is quite possible that you will have to work on the Fourth of July and not be able to see the fireworks or miss your Thanksgiving dinner.

Low Entry Pay

Once this was an industry-wide negative, as most entry-level crew workers were paid minimum wage. Even working full time, that meant less than $7,000 per year in income. This is rapidly changing as the shortage of entry-level workers has forced the pay level up. What entry-level workers now make depends on the labor market in their area.

Graduates of technical schools and two and four-year colleges will usually enter the fast food industry at the assistant manager level. According to the National Restaurant Association, the median annual base salary for this position in the entire foodservice industry is $18,000, with a median annual bonus for those who received them of $2,000. As you study the following chart, you will notice that this pay is toward the low end of the totem pole for four-year college graduates. However, it should also be remembered that promotion from assistant manager to manager can be quite rapid in fast food restaurants.

Considering a Career In Fast Food

Instead of reading about the pros and cons of choosing a career in fast food, why don't you go out and get a taste of what a career in this industry would really be like? Get a job at a fast food restaurant. Actual work experience can tell you quickly if you like this work enough to choose it as your career. At the same time, if you decide to choose it as a career, you will be gaining valuable experience for future promotion.

Besides working in the industry, talk to restaurant managers to find out more about what a fast food career is like and to find out more about actually getting started in this industry. Be sure to write to fast food companies to find out what opportunities there are at different firms.
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