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A career at a fast food restaurant is about much more than cooking and serving. There is a lot of upward mobility when it comes to pay and position in this industry, and because it’s a sector that has a lot of consumer demand, this is an area that is going to see much growth in the coming years. This growth means more job opportunities in the future, and it means that those that have well established careers now could move up quickly in the field as the industry expands.

What is this career about?

First, fast food careers are about fulfilling and exceeding customer requests. People come to a restaurant to get their food as quickly as possible. But to make sure that this happens, you need to be a good listener, you need to move fast, and you need to be accurate while doing these things.

Most entry level positions in fast food are part time, and the pay hovers around $8 an hour or so. If you are a hard worker, and you are willing to be flexible, there is much potential for growth. The average pay per year for someone starting out is around $17,000 a year, but this can move up quickly. Managers tend to make around $50,000 a year, depending upon the location and the amount of revenue that is being generated.

There are large chain fast food restaurants like McDonald’s and Wendy’s, as well as smaller or regional chains. Depending upon where you live, and what your choices are, you may find that one or two restaurants stand out to you more than others. If this is the case, make these your higher priority when you begin the application and follow up process.

What growth is likely?

When it comes to fast food, there are currently over 100,000 restaurants in the U.S., and more than 2.6 million people are employed in this field. Despite these big numbers, this is an industry that is expected to keep growing. The United States Department of Labor expects this industry to keep growing. Despite what the statistics say, though, it just makes sense that this would happen. As wages in this sector grow, the population size increases, and demand for good food served quickly grows, the fast food sector is going to keep needing people.

This goes for all positions. New restaurants are going to need to open, and this means both entry level positions and managers will be necessary. For those that are hoping to get into a management level position quickly, this is a fast way to do so.

How to succeed?

If you are interested in a career in the fast food business, there are certain things that you can do to improve your odds of getting hired and being successful. Many restaurants do not require a high school diploma or a GED, but if you want to go into management someday, this is an important thing to have. If you have any previous experience in fast food or the food service business in general, this can greatly improve your odds of getting hired.

In the application, be sure to highlight any applicable skills or experience you have that could help a hiring manager make a more educated decision about you and your place in their restaurant. For example, if you have worked in a cafeteria before, be sure to include this. If you have experience using a cash register, make this known, too. When you get an interview, answer the questions thoughtfully and honestly. Be professional and polite. When the interview is over, and you are asked if you have any questions for them, be sure to ask a few. It is helpful if you write down your questions before you go in for the interview. There’s a decent chance that some of them might be answered in the interview itself, but if you have several written down, not only will you be able to ask a question or two regardless of how many are answered, but when you do ask a question, it shows that you are more interested in the job than the average applicant.

Once you secure an entry level position in the fast food industry, this is just the start. A lot of people in this industry believe that getting a job is all that they really need to do to succeed. If it was this easy, no one would ever stay at the crew member level. Instead, you need to show your boss that you are a hard worker, that you are motivated, and that you are willing to learn. It’s certainly not expected that you know everything that there is to know about the industry right away, but learning quickly and applying that knowledge in order to enhance the customer’s experience is a big way to help yourself move upward in your company of choice.

Who should apply?

The great thing about this career path is that you can get started early. Many restaurants will hire people age 14 or 15, although 16 is the standard for most locations. A high school diploma or GED is not required to start out, although if you have aspirations of moving upward in this field, this is something that you will need to attain eventually. Because it’s an entry level job, you don’t need experience, but this will improve your chances of getting hired. Experience within a company can also help put you on the fast track for a promotion (and a raise), too. Managers look for bright individuals willing to work hard. If you fit this description, this could be a great way to begin a career in the fast food and services industry.

Do note that you will need to be working with food, and that means adhering to food safety standards. Your position is also customer oriented, so having a friendly and polite disposition is the best way to show your boss that you will be a success in this field.


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