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Finding a Job in the Fast Food Industry

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There are job openings in the fast food industry at all levels. Everyone has heard about the shortage of workers for entry-level positions. There is also an excellent opportunity for people to become restaurant managers. If you choose to pursue a career in fast food, your chances for advancement are excellent. All this makes for a rosy job picture, yet there are some problems. You have to choose the fast food company that is right for you, and then you have to be hired by that company. It may seem mind boggling to choose among companies like McDonald's, Wendy's, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Hardee's, and Burger King. You also have to know how to fill in job applications, write resumes, and have a winning job interview. This chapter will help you learn how to find and get the job you want in the fast food industry.

Where the Jobs Are

Many fast food restaurants make it known that they are hiring workers, especially for entry-level positions, by putting signs in windows, hanging banners, and advertising on billboards. So if you are looking for a job, keep your eyes open as you walk or drive by fast food restaurants. Other ways that you can find out about job openings include:

Newspapers: Read the job advertisements in your local newspaper to find out which fast food companies have entry-level positions. For managerial positions, read your local paper or the paper in your area with the largest circulation.

Placement Offices: Don't overlook finding a position through your school's placement office, especially if you are now a student in high school, college, or trade school. If you are a graduate, remember that many schools will let all their graduates use their placement offices.

Career Days or Nights: Attend career days or nights at high schools and colleges as well as job fairs to talk to representatives from fast food companies about career opportunities.

Personal Contacts: Your own friends can help you find a job. Ask your friends who are working in the fast food industry to tell you about job openings if any come up where they are working. They will be glad that you asked them to do this, because many fast food companies are giving bonuses to employees who bring in new workers.

Fast Food Companies: Write to fast food companies about career opportunities. They want you to contact them if you are considering a career in this industry. In appendix C of this book, you will find the names of the departments that you should write to for job information at the major fast food chains as well as their addresses.

Choosing the Right Fast Food Company

Once you have decided that you want a career in the fast food industry, you will need to start collecting information about the different fast food companies that have job openings. The first thing you need to know is that most fast food chains have two types of restaurants, those that are owned by the fast food company and those that are owned by franchise holders.   So, if you begin working in a company-owned store, it is possible to begin from the bottom rung and climb up to the executive level at company headquarters. If you begin to work in a store owned by a franchise holder, how far you can advance depends on the number of stores owned by the franchise. Advancement will be limited in chains of one or two stores for the simple reason that few people will be needed at the management level. It needs to be pointed out, however, that there are many franchise holders that own hundreds of stores and that there are a number of chains that own very few stores. If you want to climb the management ladder in fast food, you must make sure that there are managerial positions available in the company you decide to work for or be willing to switch companies later on.

You will also want to make a list of the different benefits that each fast food company offers. Bonuses are especially important because an average salary plus a good bonus can mean more income than just a high salary. You also need to investigate whether or not a company has a profit sharing plan. Such a plan can make a difference when retirement time rolls around. A successful profit sharing plan can generate enough income for comfort in the golden years.

In selecting a fast food company to work for, you will need to consider the management opportunities that are available as well as the salary and other benefits the different companies offer. Remember, bigger is not always better. For example, you may find what you are looking for in a small, multi-unit operation that only has seven stores.

Job Evaluation

Just because you get a job, it does not automatically mean you will keep the job or move up the fast food ladder. Your supervisors are checking to make sure that you are doing the job that you were hired to do. They are noticing if you are late to work and if you are doing your fair share of work.

Employee performance reviews are filled out for every employee. Some fast food companies fill out several in the first year, and after that it is usually done on an annual or semi-annual basis. These performance reviews are important, as your pay raises and promotions are based upon them. Take a look at the performance review on the next page that is used by Tastee-Freez International so you will know what job behaviors fast food companies think are important.
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