While the majority of businesses have been affected one way or another by COVID-19, one of the hardest-hit industries has been foodservice. As of January, the restaurant industry had 2.5 million fewer jobs than it did in February 2020, right before the pandemic hit.
If you work in the restaurant industry and have either been laid off or are worried about ongoing uncertainty, it’s understandable to be thinking about a career switch. One industry that you may want to consider is manufacturing, especially if job security is an important factor in your next career choice.
Similarities between working in foodservice and manufacturing
Going from working in a restaurant to a factory may seem like a big leap at first. But when you really think about it, foodservice and manufacturing have a lot in common. They both start with a bill of material (a customer’s order ticket), use raw materials (food or drink ingredients), and follow a designated process (kitchen workstations) to make the final product (meal).
Manufacturing, of course, has different terminology, equipment, processes, and end-products. But if you have experience working in a restaurant – either front or back of house – you likely have these skills that can easily translate to a career in manufacturing.
Attention to detail
As you well know from working in a restaurant, the customer is always right – and that is also true in manufacturing. We have to be very precise to make sure a component or product meets the customer’s exact specifications. Demonstrating sharp focus and high attention to detail are great ways to excel in a manufacturing job.
Performing in a fast-paced environment
Restaurants and bars are known to be hectic, demanding work environments. Customers want their food as quickly as possible, and you have to juggle multiple orders at once. In manufacturing, we also have high volumes and deadlines to meet. Of course, sometimes you’re thrown a curveball, which leads us to our next trait…
Ability to handle change orders
In both foodservice and manufacturing, you have to think quickly on your feet and adjust plans as efficiently as possible. In restaurants, that may be dealing with a large reservation cancellation, a spill or broken dish-ware, or running out of a popular food item. In manufacturing, we frequently have change orders that require us to adjust our materials or processes. In either circumstance, being a good problem-solver is a valuable skill to have.
Understanding quality standards
In foodservice, you have to meet the quality standards of both customers as well as health and safety regulations. Some of this goes back to attention to detail, but it’s also about understanding and following protocols to ensure proper cooking, prevent cross-contamination, etc. Similarly, manufacturing has rigorous quality standards, especially for products used in regulated industries such as healthcare, pharmaceutical, and aerospace. Understanding and adhering to these standards are crucial in our line of work.
Repeatability is vital in foodservice. If a customer has a good experience one visit but not the next, it can result in a complaint or unpleasant Yelp review. In manufacturing, there can’t be variation from product to product, and we must be able to reproduce orders consistently.
In both restaurants and manufacturing, communication and cooperation are critical skills. No one can do it alone. You must trust and help out your teammates in order to get the job done.
Why work at Tapecon
Whether you’re looking for a job to get through the current uncertainty or are ready for a long-term career in a stable industry, we invite you to learn more about manufacturing jobs in Buffalo, New York.
As an essential business, Tapecon has been open and operating throughout the pandemic. In fact, we’re growing and always looking for new employees that exhibit the skills mentioned in this article. For many positions, experience working in manufacturing is not required. Plus, if you’re used to working nights in foodservice and would prefer to keep that schedule, you’ll be happy to know we have second and third shift options available.
To view current job openings and learn why Tapecon is a great place to work, visit our Careers page.