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Hospitality and food service

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October 14, 2007

Hospitality is a huge, dynamic industry, constantly being affected by an array of changing forces, and, in turn, having its own big effect on our economy and the job market. In Greater Boston and throughout the state, the hotel and restaurant business has seen its share of ups and downs in recent years.

"After 9/11, growth was considerably more slow than before," said Michael Auerbach, deputy director of the Massachusetts Lodging Association. "Since then, we've had modest growth. Stellar? No."

Boston, he said, has seen some growth from last year, "but we'd like to see it stronger than it is."

With the new Boston Convention & Exhibition Center hoping to fill more dates, and a number of new hotels opening or under construction, the picture is hopeful but unclear.

Careers in hotels and restaurants include hundreds of opportunities from chief executives and facilities managers to accountants, front-desk clerks, waiters, janitors, chefs, and marketing and sales personnel. For jobs in lodging or food service, contact human resource departments, or visit hcareers.com or restaurant.org.

EXECUTIVE CHEFS

Average salary: $44,830 (chefs). Executive chefs average $60,000 and up, depending on reputation and the restaurant's status. Most receive bonuses.

Demand: Good. Job opportunities are generally good around the area, as the restaurant scene stays fairly lively; openings occur as chefs move around, but competition is tough.

Qualifications: Those aspiring to top spots usually need formal training at a culinary institution, college, or vocational school.

LINE COOKS

Average salary: $25,770 (restaurant); $21,800 (fast food); $29,270 (institution); $24,670 (short order)

Demand: Good. Restaurants and hotels always need cooks, and turnover is high at many places. But institutions and fast-food establishments are hiring fewer cooks and combining duties to reduce costs.

Qualifications: Cooks can learn on the job; vocational schools and community college programs improve chances of promotion.

FOOD AND BEVERAGE DIRECTORS

Average salary: $52,450

Demand: Good. With tourism growth in the area, hotel and restaurant job opportunities are fairly good; schools, hospitals, and other institutions also need directors.

Qualifications: Several good regional two- and four-year college culinary and lodging programs are valuable in getting a start.

HOTEL GENERAL MANAGERS

Average salary: $62,320 average, but depends on hotel size and status. Lodging and food often included.

Demand: Fairly good. New hotels opening offer job possibilities, but the overall picture, though hopeful, remains unclear.

Qualifications: Degree in liberal arts or hotel management preferred; industry experience necessary for management.

HOUSEKEEPING STAFF

Average salary: $23,270 (maids and housekeeping cleaners); $25,920 (janitors and cleaners); $40,180 (supervisors)

Demand: Good. High turnover means jobs are usually available.

Qualifications: On-the-job training. Better language skills improve opportunities.

WAIT STAFF

Average salary: $23,870, plus tips

Demand: Good. Lower-priced and mid-level restaurants offer more openings than high-end establishments.

Qualifications: High school education, neat appearance, friendly personality necessary.

BARTENDERS

Average salary: $24,320, plus tips

Demand: Good. But the market is tight for the best jobs where tips are good.

Qualifications: Be 21 years of age, know local laws, have good personality. Training available at bartending school or on the job.

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