Food and Beverage Industry

The food and beverage industry includes restaurants, cafeterias, cafés, fast-food joints, pubs, delis, food manufacturing operations, catering businesses, food transportation services, and more. Work in this industry can range from packaging to preparing, transporting, and serving food or beverages.

Packaging is often shift-work based in factories. Like other manufacturing work, it can involve physical labour, as well as working with machinery. You'll be asked to follow specific food safety and sanititation guidelines.

Working in food and beverage preparation can include making coffee, juices, sandwiches, hot food, and more. Some chef jobs require a diploma in chef training or culinary management, but many food preparation jobs do not require any post-secondary education, and skills can be learned as you work. You may be asked to obtain a Food Handler Training Certification. This takes around 10 hours and can be done in-class or online – click here to visit the Region of Waterloo website for more information about Food Safety Training.

Delivery work includes Meals on Wheels (Community Support Connections), restaurant delivery, and truck transportation of food and beverages in bulk. You'll need a driver's license – click here to learn about licenses for professional drivers in Ontario. Some jobs might ask you to have your own transportation.

Serving work can be based behind a counter at a deli/café/fast food joint, or 'front of house' at a restaurant. For a serving job, it's important to have good customer service skills, memory, organization, and some basic arithmetic skills for handling cash. If you are serving alcoholic beverages, you will need to obtain a Smart Serve Certificate. This takes about four hours, and can be done in-class or online – click here to visit the Smart Serve website for more information about how to obtain a Smart Serve Certificate. In Ontario, the minimum wage for liquor servers is lower than the general minimum wage, and liquor servers often make much of their income off tips from customers.

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