Career Progression In The Restaurant Industry is Going From Waiter to Restaurant Manager Then Back to Waiter

Today I heard the news from a friend who works at a Corporate Restaurant that one of the Managers that just turned 50 years old a few months ago got a demotion.

Apparently the demotion was not really because of his work but more like they were telling him that the door is over there and you are quite welcome to leave whenever you please. This after putting in quite a few solid years for the company. It had more to do with his age.

Here is what happens. You get started in the business as a waiter or bartender then showing lots of ambition employers notice you and get you going on the road to management. This usually occurs in one’s late 20’s and 30’s.

By the time a manger reaches his mid-forties he has worked all kinds of hours , worked every holiday imagineable , and generally starts getting to be a pain in the ass for the company cause he or she doesn’t want to put out like they did a decade ago. Burned out , they realize they have all the headaches while the waiters and bartenders are all making more money than they are.

The manager if he is still in the business when he is 45 is wishing now they can just come in and do a shift on the floor , get their money and go home and be with their kids before they move out.

So the 50 year old what is he supposed to do now that the owners have discreetly told him they don’t want him around anymore? And what about my friend who works there who has just turned 40? What is he thinking right about now with 3 young children?

The restaurant industry in most places does not reward loyalty or years of working for the same company. The new blood coming up will replace anyone in a heartbeat who is managing nowadays.

Also a restaurant will only pay a manager so much then it is time for them to part ways. Time to hire someone else who will work for less. That is just the way it is.

This 50 year old has two options. One is get a job as a waiter or find another profession because no one is going to hire a 50 year old manager. Sadly he has to lie about what he has done or else it would appear to intimidating during a job interview. In order to get the job now he has to downplay everything in order to be considered. After all no one really wants to hire someone who can manage as they may be a threat to their job.

That is why you start off as a waiter or bartender , then you move up to management when after a few years you either get fed up or someone shows you the door. Then it is back to waiting on tables working for the guy or gal who is a manager now at the same age you were a manager.

It is really the only industry I can think of where all the experience one can get will only get you back to where you started when it is all over.

What is your opinion?



  1. I've seen it happen many times. Generally the manager is too embarrassed to go work on the floor and just quits. I've spent time in both jobs and after a year in either, the grass always seems greener on the other side.The career progression to shoot for is always server>bartender>manager>wine/liquor/food rep. Short of opening your own place or consulting company, that is the only progression I ever see working long term.

  2. David…that is about right. If you choose to go back as a waiter don't put you have management experience on the resume. Better just to say you travelled for 10 years and am coming back home to wait on

  3. I think it really depends on who you work for. I know the company I work for now appreciates loyalty. At least from what I've seen.

  4. Amen to that. I tried it once and couldn't get an interview at 80% of the places i sent my resume. Places doing a third the volume of the last restaurant I managed wouldn't take a chance on me as a server.

  5. The Restaurant Manager…I like how you feel about your place of work. It is all good. I know if everything stays the same you can be there for the next 20 years if you like. I do know from experience that the older you get and the more experience you have the thinner the job market gets. It is more who you know that counts than anything else. If something happened where you work like your boss who likes you leaves everything can change overnight. Like this 50 year old I was blogging about. New management a year ago and there you go.

  6. David…amazing. You must be getting old in the tooth. lol Seriously it must have been they knew someone else they hired. Trying to teach someone else who looks like they already know what they are doing is risky. Rather hire someone younger and fresher and teach them their way.Great comments on this post.Thanks to Restaurant Manager and yourself.

  7. Great post Steven. Glad to see someone put in the time to talk about an often unseen aspect of working in the restaurant business. I have recently made the switch from managing to waiting tables again. For me it was the hours and the lack of passion to make a career of managing. I'm 36 but I seriously debated omitting my management experience on my resume for the same reasons you've listed. You can be 'too' qualified and scare off potential employers who might equate your experience with baggage. I agree with what Dave said in terms of options for an aging ex-manager but will add working in sales to the mix. Restaurant skills translate well to this industry and it's something that often overlooked.

  8. The Jaded Waiter…thank you for the comment and welcome. Sales for sure is also an option afterwards. I will have some other similar post in the near future. I will add you to the blogroll. Agree with you completely.

  9. Thank you for the blogroll add Steven, I appreciate it. I'll be interested in future posts you make on this and other topics as well!

  10. The Jaded Waiter…I got you on the blog roll. It says that updates are not available with this URL. I will maybe just add you as well under links. Take care and thanks again.

  11. HiI read this post 2 times. It is very useful.Pls try to keep posting.Let me show other source that may be good for community.Source: Restaurant waiter resumeBest regardsJonathan.

  12. Cannavaro….great although it is just my opinion I think others would share it.

  13. I was thinking to have a restaurant business now. Thank you for the information you shared here so helpful.sugar

  14. Franchising business phillipines….skip the manager and become the owner. That is probably better. Good wishes on that!

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