If I Was 20 Years Old Today Here is What I Would Do

I have been fortunate with regards to the Hospitality Industry and the opportunity it has given me to travel and meet lots of people. So with what I know today I might have done things almost the same but started a lot earlier. I would have moved things up 5-6 years to reach higher in the profession. So this blog is what I would recommend to a 20 year old starting out.

Before , I have mentioned on more than one occasion of the opportunity to travel while working in the Hospitality profession. Now I know that the profession is not for everyone and many people loathe the unsociable hours, but for those who take it seriously and want to build a future of security for themselves and their family while seeing the world , this is a great career choice.

The first item I recommend is that you enrol in a European Hospitality School. Now this may cost you a fair bit and there are different schools to enrol in but the investment will certainly be worth it. I happened to work in Switzerland for a couple of years in an exchange program where I gained a lot of Food and Beverage Management knowledge. The difference I am recommending is you attend a Hotel school there.

Graduating from a Hotel School in Switzerland will be the deciding factor when you are competing for top positions.Work visas will be done , and expense paid moves will be provided by employers seeking your knowledge. Also upon graduation , the Hotel School will have recruiters ready to interview you.This is how good the Swiss Hotel Schools reputation have and not to fear there are schools that teach in English.

The second recommendation I have is to learn a second language and a third and fourth if possible. Not only will this provide you with an edge but someone who can communicate in another person’s tongue is instantly liked and respected. When you go to a Hotel School in Switzerland for example there will be courses you can take to learn other languages such as French , German, and Italian. All national languages of Switzerland. It is much easier to learn these languages too in a country where they are spoken.

When I went to French School in Montreal for 6 months to learn the language it was easy to learn as my environment was totally French. When you can turn on the television or radio where you are and there is no English you learn a lot quicker. Make a deal with the other international students you will meet to help them with their English , and they can help you with their language of expertise.

The third and final recommendation I have is go out and get your Sommelier Diploma. This will be your icing on the cake. You may be able to do this in the Hotel School but if not enrol in the International Sommelier Guild or other recognized school and go all the way through and graduate. Someone who has been to a Hotel School from Switzerland , knows 2-3 languages and has his Sommelier Diploma will be on the top rung wherever he or she goes.

I loved the process getting my Sommelier Diploma and learning all aspects of winemaking. Traveling in my mind through the different countries , some of which I had visited and others I wish to someday made the wine course all the more interesting. Is it no wonder Geography was one of my best subjects in school.

In conclusion , if a young person starting out has been enlightened to what is possible I have one other recommendation and that is do not wait long to start. My only thought looking back is that I should have done all this when I was younger. But I did do it with the exception of a Swiss Hotel School.

If you are in your early 20’s and a waiter or bartender and enjoy it , management will follow in most cases. So to be the best , go and learn from where Hotellerie is famous. Check out Switzerland and see yourself working in the best places in the world.


  1. eek……I’m done with management. I’ve been there done that. I was a manager longer than a waiter to be honest but it’s here I’m happiest. Managers through no fault of their own end up too far removed from the guests. And that’s what the job is all about, the guests, the interaction, the craic as we say. I’ve seen a lot of great waiters and bar people ruin their careers by moving to management. A good waiter does not a good manager make…..well not all the time

  2. Manuel…Yea I was Maitre’d and everything else and enjoy waiting now but I meant higher than hands on in a restaurant as a manager. I meant like really high up.But you have to start young at least younger than I did.Now I just want to spend the time away from work more than at it.Like becoming a great chef takes a lot of time at the beginning but then you are on the Food Network. Times have changed.

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