When you think about the food industry, many jobs may come to mind. There are several careers in food you can enjoy. Many entry-level positions are found within the industry with advancement opportunities.
Working in the food industry doesn’t mean you have to work at a restaurant. Many careers in food are found in restaurants, but several are also found outside of restaurants. Let’s look at some of the common and highest-paying careers in food.
5 Common Careers in the Food Industry
One of the most common careers in food is one as a chef. There are several types of chefs throughout the industry, and the salary range can be rather wide.
This is likely one of the careers in food that comes to mind most often. Well-trained chefs can make a great living and enjoy their job. As a chef, you’ll take common ingredients and create amazing dishes from them.
Chefs end up in this career in food by taking one of two paths. They may gain formal training from a culinary school program or gain experience in the kitchen. It’s more common for aspiring chefs to attend a culinary arts school.
This fast-paced job offers the perfect option for those passionate about food. Some of the types of chef careers you can enjoy include:
- Sous-chef – The second-in-command, a sous chef, will assist the chef de cuisine. A sous chef is often responsible for handling line checks and overseeing food rotation.
- Chef de partie – Another name for this position is a line cook or station chef. You will be responsible for a specific area of food production.
- Chef de cuisine – Commonly called the head chef, this career in food includes taking full charge of the kitchen from staff to menu creation to ordering.
- Commis – A commis is a range chef, usually a position under the chef de partie. This is an entry-level position typically for those just out of culinary school.
The salary range will go from about $27K to more than $63K per year as a chef.
A great career in food outside of restaurants is one as a dietitian. You will be responsible for creating a nutritional plan based on a client’s medical needs. It’s possible to help people lose weight or become healthier as a dietitian.
As a dietitian, you will be a licensed healthcare professional. Your job will include diagnosing, assessing, and treating the nutritional issues of a client. You may also supervise food preparation and educate clients about better eating habits.
It’s necessary to get a bachelor’s degree and pass the necessary exams to become a registered dietitian. You may also need to complete an internship. As a dietitian, you may work in a hospital, health care facility, or private practice. The average salary for this career in food is about $60K.
3. Restaurant Manager
Another very popular and common career in food is one as a restaurant manager. Many managers of restaurants start as servers, bartenders, or line cooks. They may work their way up through the ranks and work as an assistant manager or head servers before becoming a restaurant manager.
As a restaurant manager, you will be in charge of making sure the restaurant runs efficiently. Some of your duties will include supervising the staff, ensuring compliance with health regulations, and promoting the business. While many managers have associate’s degrees or bachelor’s degrees, it’s not required for this career in food.
Restaurant managers will likely need experience working in a restaurant or hotel. The average salary for this position is around $52K per year.
4. Health Coach
Another food career outside of the restaurant industry is as a health coach. This position will allow you to help clients solve their food problems with exercise and nutrition. You’ll be able to coach clients and keep them motivated to follow their health plans.
Many health coaches run their own businesses, but some work for gyms and other health facilities. As a health coach, you can earn an average per hour amount of about $16.
5. Baker/Pastry Artist
Maybe you want to create and share pastries, desserts, and bread with others. As a baker or pastry artist, you can create beautiful and delicious items. This career in food is great for those that love to bake and have an artistic side.
With the right skills, you can create different kinds of bread, cakes, and pastries. Bakers and pastry artists work in grocery stores, restaurants, and specialty pastry shops. It’s also common to open your own pastry shop.
The average salary as a baker or pastry artist is about $30K. However, those with the right skills and experience will earn more than $41K per year.
4 Highest-Paying Food-Related Careers
1. Food Scientist or Technologist
As a food scientist or technologist, you will perform interesting duties in this unique career. This career will include quite a bit of research. Your job will be all about improving food products and working to improve the manufacturing process. You may specialize in quality assurance, research, or processing.
As a food scientist or technologist, you will need a bachelor’s degree. The average salary for this high-paying food career is about $76k. However, those at the top of the pay scale for this position make well over six figures.
2. Food and Beverage Director
High-quality restaurants will hire food and beverage directors. This high-paying career in food is usually found inside hotels, resorts, and 4–5-star restaurants.
You will likely be in charge of a staff of managers and a full staff of more than 100 employees. Your duties include creating budgets, meeting with suppliers, supervising staff, and more.
It’s necessary to have great communication skills and good financial skills for this position. Most food and beverage directors will need a degree in hospitality or restaurant management. It’s also necessary to have several years of experience in another food career.
As a food and beverage director, you can earn a salary from about $100K to $250K. The actual salary will depend on the type of facility and your experience.
3. Research Chef
As a research chef, you will come up with new dishes and foods. You will work for restaurants, manufacturing companies, and other food businesses. This type of position will include quite a bit of research and product development.
To become a research chef, you’ll likely need several years of experience and culinary arts training. The average salary is about $62K, but the top-end earners will make close to six figures.
4. Regional Operations Manager
This career in food will put you in charge of 10 to 12 restaurants and the general managers. You will need to oversee the managers and make sure each restaurant is performing as expected.
Most regional operations managers will need a degree in hospitality and a master’s degree in business. It’s necessary to have great communication skills, and you will likely need experience as a restaurant manager.
The salary of a regional operations manager will range from $200K to $500K.
Still Thinking of a Career in Food?
There are many careers in food you can enter into without any training. However, some of the best food industry careers will require a bachelor’s degree or culinary arts training.
You can go into the food industry without working in a restaurant. Of course, if you like the idea of working in a restaurant, there are plenty of careers to consider.
Related Learning Opportunities
How To Become a Property Manager
Are you interested in real estate? Maybe you don't want to become an agent or broker. You can be a property manager with the right steps.
What is a Sous Chef?
"The top assistant in a professional kitchen" is a good start to answering the question, what is a Sous Chef, but it's not a complete answer.
How To Become a Project Manager
Want to join a growing field? Learn how to become a project manager! 2 million new roles to open up by 2027 with $140K avg. salary.
Food Handlers Study Guide: Pass the Food Handlers Certification Exam
Proper food handling is key to preventing food-borne illness. Check out this food handlers study guide for tips on how to pass the exam.
What Does a Marketing Manager do?
As a marketing manager, you will lead your team in finding and securing clients for the company you work for.
What Does a General Contractor Do?
A GC (General Contractor) manages subcontractors and other all aspects of the job, including new builds and remodeling projects.