Hospitality Degrees and Careers

When I graduated high school and went on to college, I was like most 18 year olds and hadn't really thought through what I wanted to do with my life. I started out with a Health Sciences/Pre-Med degree and was completely set on that until I took freshman biology and realized in lab that I became queasy at the sight of blood; which probably didn't make for the best nurse or doctor. I had soon met with my counselor and changed my course of study to Business, and started with taking introduction to finance and accounting. Like most students, I had my whole plan mapped out without realizing exactly what entailed to get there or knowing if it was something that I would enjoy along the way. Once I struggled through the two classes and decided that I had thoroughly disliked both of them, I knew that the world of business was not a quest that I would enjoy or flourish in. It was then that I knew it was time for me to sit back and think about what I really wanted to do.

During childhood I had always had a love for restaurants, parties and anything that involved many people combined with fun and laughter. I had also spent my high school years waiting tables at local eateries and always enjoyed the comradery of the crew that went along with the job. I soon decided that obtaining a degree in Hospitality and Foodservice Management could combine my love of communicating and working with people with the excitement of the hospitality industry. Also visit our listing of Fashion and Interior Design Schools for information regarding colleges that offer degrees in the Fashion industry.

I ultimately transferred schools and joined the college of Arts and Science with a major in Hospitality and started taking the introductory courses. These courses were all very informative and I learned useful knowledge from classes like Marketing and Customer Service Management that anyone could find beneficial for everyday life but it was my more advanced courses that taught me what I really needed to know.

The first course that really influenced me was Food and Beverage Management. Now of course I loved a class where we toured bars and restaurants because I thought of all the fun and exciting parts of it, but there was much more that I took out of the class than I had expected. We learned what it took to staff and manage an establishment and what the owners and managers thought were the keys to success to running a business. The most important subject that came up frequently was customer service and how to deal with disgruntled guests. Day in and day out there are problems that occur in establishments, especially those where alcohol is involved and it takes quick thinking and a level head to handle these situations in an effective matter. Every manager we spoke with had a horror story of something terrible that had happened in their business whether it was a little dingy brewpub, elegant wine bar or the popular college club. I learned that these situations happen in every business and it takes a not only great manager but also employee to know how handle them while keeping calm. Every job looks fun and thrilling from the outside but there always has to be a strong person running it on the inside.

The second course that really taught me useful information was Foodservice Operations and Purchasing Management. In this class the students ran a café in the Consumer and Family Sciences Building. We would be placed into groups of four and each group would have their own week to choose a set menu for the meal, purchase the food in mass quantity from the cafeteria food vendor and prepare the meal with help from the rest of the class. Each group had 3 different weeks in the semester to test their knowledge on preparing and running a full service café and in their off weeks would help prepare and serve the food to the guests for the other groups.

We would start from the beginning with planning the menu and deciding what we could prepare while still making enough profit after the cost of our food and expenses. After the menu was set and planned, we had to choose exactly what to order from the vendor. Now this sounds like it should be an easy task but everything was sold in bulk items so we had to calculate what the best brand to buy was based on units and weight. We didn't want to buy a product and have excess to throw away after our meal was prepared but we also needed to have enough in case something happened where we would need to redo an item. After our food was delivered to the lab, which was basically a smaller version but fully equipped industrial kitchen, we would organize our crew and assign duties. This had to be done based on the amount of time it took to do each individual task and the timeline in which everything needed to be done for the guests arriving at noon. Each student would work on their specific task from setting the tables to preparing the food and when everything was ready we would serve and wait on the guests as if they were in a restaurant.

This specific course taught me exactly how much preparation and planning it takes to run an establishment and how important it is to communicate with the other leaders and staff. Without the other students from the course, each group could have never had everything ready to serve to the guests. After taking this course I realized what a backbreaking, stressful job it was to run a full service cafe but I also knew how it felt to stand on the outside and see many guests enjoy a meal that we had made together with our great teamwork.

Since graduating college I have used these lessons in my current career. I deal with customers or clients weekly who are upset or frustrated with a particular situation and I have to figure out a solution that not only makes them happy but that also does not hurt our business. Even more importantly I have learned how necessary it is to work as a team. No matter what industry you are in, your company will run much smoother if your employees respect each other and work with each other towards the same common goal. Visit HospitalityIndustry.com for further insight into hospitality management and other carreers in the industry.

Hospital and Foodservice Management is a fun and exciting career that is also challenging and exhausting at the same time but the rewards and feelings you get after you plan an excellent meal or event make it a great industry to work in.

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