Are you considering a career in the food industry? Maybe you have discovered your love of cooking, but you’re not quite sure what arena you want to work in. Hopefully, we can break down each type of restaurant and figure out which avenue you should take!
A diner is a smaller sized restaurant that typically serves classic American dishes. The theme can be something particular as in a 50’s diner theme. No matter the theme of the establishment, diners are casual and offer breakfast menus that are served all-day and may also offer lunch.
If you decide to be a chef in a diner environment then you are likely going to be only one of two to four cooks in the kitchen. Due to their limited menu, limited hours and limited seating, there is really no need for a full kitchen staff.
Food trucks are exactly what they sound like. Mobile vehicles, usually a van or large truck that makes and sells food to hungry patrons. Each food truck is unique to its owner. Food trucks have sprouted into a huge societal following, especially for city folk and college kids.
If owning and cooking in a food truck is in your future then be prepared for a lot of work! Food truck kitchens are quite small and compact. Normally, there are only one or two people that can work at a time. Typically one person will do all of the cooking and the other person will take and serve the orders out of a window.
Catering is sometimes a pop-up restaurant where the staff will transport any food or materials that they may need to the reserved venue. Some venues will have a kitchen for the staff to work in for the reserved occasion and some venues will require the caterers to bring warming containers to keep the cooked foods in. Some caterers are independent from a permanent restaurant and some restaurants offer catering services.
If you want to work as a caterer you will almost certainly need a utility van vehicle to transport all of the required cooking equipment and food. If you are a catering chef that is working on behalf of an existing restaurant then the dishes will likely resemble dishes made in the restaurant itself, only made at the desired venue. The van may also display the restaurant’s logo in some way on the outside. You will also not be working alone as a caterer. In this area of the business you work off-site but, with a full kitchen and wait staff.
A bistro is a type of coffee shop or cafe. Foods made and served here are usually simple and often include soups, sandwiches, salads, and possibly a specialty item like paninis. They are also known for their beverages both hot and cold.
If you work in a bistro you are likely not going to be creating masterpieces in the kitchen but it may be appealing to you to work in a more laid back work environment. Bistro workers serve their customers from an ordering counter or work in the kitchen.
Bakeries are perfect for anyone interested in early mornings and hard work. Foods made at a bakery involve a lot of breads, cakes, and almost any other baked good you can think of. Bakers (the makers of the baked goods) go in before the sun is up in order to make their products from scratch and fresh on a daily basis. Proper baking is very time consuming and detail oriented. If any of the ingredient measurements are off then the product will not turn out as intended.
Casual dining type restaurants may refer to a variety of restaurants including chains. Being a line cook or even a head chef in a chain restaurant often means you are responsible for putting the dishes out, although the recipes are not your own. Restaurant chains have their own recipes and ingredients to account for consistency across all of the restaurant locations. There are privately-owned restaurants that offer casual dining and in these situations, you may have more responsibility to provide the recipes yourself.
Formal dining establishments are higher class and therefore they are higher priced than any other restaurant type. Formal dining restaurants require a particular dress code which usually requires women to wear dress clothes with heels and men to wear a coat and tie. Foods served in these restaurants are of a higher quality, served in smaller portions, and in separate courses.
Being an executive chef in a formal dining restaurant you are likely responsible for the recipes that are made and served. It is your responsibility to create dishes that uphold the integrity of the restaurant. These establishments are formal but can be stressful for chefs that are not
properly trained to meet the high standards.