3 in-demand jobs and 2 side hustles that could be great for restaurant workers


The food services industry has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, with as many as 5.5 million waiters, chefs, bartenders, and other restaurant workers suffering job losses in April alone. And many of those who were laid off shouldn't expect to get calls back from their employers anytime soon, experts predict.  

"I would think only between 10% and 20% of restaurant workers could expect a call back by the end of June," says Ernie Tedeschi, economist at financial advisory firm Evercore.

So many restaurant workers may be considering a shift in career or a side hustle to tide them over while they wait to see when they can return to work in their industry. Luckily, from an aptitude for sales to know-how about cooking, restaurant workers have a wide array of skills that can be directly applied outside of their industry

Here are three in-demand jobs and two side hustles where restaurant workers can apply their skills and start earning money now. 

Sales representative

"We've had some great success bringing restaurant employees [into sales], because we know they're constantly selling," says Brandi Frattini, talent acquisition lead at CareerBuilder. Indeed, their jobs, she says, are about "describing and selling a product."

Sales representatives sell products from medicine to office supplies to imported wine directly to wholesalers, manufacturers, and businesses, rather than directly to consumers. They also often handle administrative duties such as tracking purchases. "Sales workers in the services and wholesale sectors will continue to be in demand because these occupations remain critical in building and maintaining customer bases for businesses," according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics

Median salary: $63,000 per year

Find sales representative positions on FlexJobsMonsterCareerBuilder, and LinkedIn.

We've had some great success bringing restaurant employees [into sales] because we know they're constantly selling.
Brandi Frattini
Talent acquisition lead at CareerBuilder

Customer service representative

"The waiters and waitresses of the world," says side hustle expert Nick Loper, "are really customer service pros." Their job is to serve people and they know how to stay calm and patient under pressure and when dealing with every sort of personality.

Customer service representatives are in high demand in a variety of industries, from retail to tech. They communicate with and respond to customer inquiries via internet chat, email, or phone, and they report issues customers may be having. They're the face, or the voice, of a company.

Median salary: $35,000 per year

Apply for customer service jobs on FlexJobsMonsterIndeed, or LinkedIn.

Line cook

If you're still interested in working in food service, chains like Pizza Hut, Papa John's, and Domino's are all hiring to meet increased demand throughout the pandemic. 

Hourly wage: Line cooks make an average $13 per hour, according to Indeed.

Apply for line cook jobs on Pizza HutPapa John's, and Domino's websites or on Indeed.

Note that these jobs demand close quarters. If you're considering a job in a kitchen, ask your prospective employer how they're implementing social distancing, such as capitalizing on a break system that would stagger the number of people in the kitchen at a time.

Hack your next job interview to improve your odds of being hired

Video by Courtney Stith

If you're looking for a side hustle instead, here are two to consider.

Online teacher

"One of the easiest skills to translate into making your own money online is to teach what you know," says online marketing and business expert Amy Porterfield.

If you're a chef or a bartender with cooking and mixology expertise, you could profit from teaching online. If you know how to cook the best pad thai or mix the best Old Cuban, consider creating an online course teaching others how to do it. Instructors on sites like Udemy charge between $20 and $200 per course, and Udemy takes a cut of your earnings ranging from 3% to 75%, depending on how students find you. 

You can even start your own online business around your skills.

Danira Cancinos took Porterfield's webinars and built an online course using Facebook Live teaching people how to make and package perfect caramel apples. "People struggle with making caramel apples in the baking industry," says Cancinos. "You have to really scrub your apples before dipping in caramel. Sometimes the caramel just falls off the apple."

She taught the course just twice in 2019, to 633 students, and grossed $126,400. 

One of the easiest skills to translate into making your own money online is to teach what you know.
Amy Porterfield
Online marketing and business expert

Grocery delivery

Stay-at-home orders have resulted in a spike in demand for grocery delivery services like Instacart and Shipt. Instacart announced in March it would be hiring 300,000 more shoppers.  

Shoppers on these sites receive grocery orders from customers, buy those products at supermarkets or local grocery stores, and deliver them.

Hourly wage: Shipt shoppers make an average of $22 per hour, according to Indeed, and Instacart shoppers make an average of $13, according to Glassdoor.

Apply for jobs at Instacart and Shipt on their websites.

It's important to follow safety precautions when delivering to homes or businesses. Experts suggest you wear a mask when you shop, for example. Ask your employer what kind of contactless delivery system they have in place for the deliveries, and make sure there's a break system in place so you can wash your hands and rest frequently.

"People can begin their job search by first assessing their skill sets, strengths, and experiences," says Vicki Salemi, career expert for Monster. "Your customer service skills, for instance, as a bartender and your assets such as team player, hard worker, reliable, [and working] with integrity are valued in other positions, too." 

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