Pursuing a Career in the Catering Industry

Catering is an extremely appealing career option, so it’s not all too surprising that you’re here reading this piece on pursuing a role within the sector! The good news is that wherever there are people, there’s almost always going to be demand for dining and drinking out. After all, this is an area where we love to spend our cash! Not only do we need food and drink to survive, but establishments specialising in it give us somewhere to experience cuisine and dishes that we may not be able to craft or perfect ourselves at the same time as offering up a social spot where you can catch up with friends and family outside of the home. So, it’s time to find your role in this constantly flourishing area! Here’s everything you need to know.

Choosing an Area of Specialism

First things first, you need to settle on an area of specialism. This is by no means fixed, and there is always room for progression, but when you first head into the job market, it’s best to have a relatively good idea of what you want to do and where you want to do it. There are three major areas of work when it comes to catering: the accommodation sector, the food and drink industry, and food catering. Accommodation covers workplaces such as hotels and bed and breakfast establishments. The drink sector covers bars, pubs, cafes, tea houses and clubs. The last sector, food catering, is the most sprawling and expansive. If you head into catering, there’s a good chance that this is your best bet for getting work. It covers restaurants and various other eateries such as takeaways. As you can imagine, all of these sectors offer various roles. You may be working in the kitchens as a chef, porter, or pot wash. Perhaps you’ll be front of the house, serving as waiting staff or service assistants. While choosing a specialism may be difficult, it’s essential, as the roles of each individual in each different place will vary greatly and you’ll have to craft entirely different CVs for each position

Health and Safety

No matter where you work in the catering industry, you’re likely to have to follow strict health and safety regulations. Why? Well, to put things simply, you’re going to be dealing with other people and members of the general public on a daily basis, and you’re going to have to take on a certain level of responsibility for them. Sure, there’s going to be health and safety to take into account when it comes to food preparation. This is extremely serious and not to be taken lightly. When you are dealing with products that people are consuming, you have to take all precautions possible to ensure that what you offer them doesn’t cause them harm. You should find out if you need a food handler certification. In some states this an absolute essential, in others it is optional. However, either way, it is recommended. It will cover all sorts of ground, including good hygiene practices, prevention of contamination, prevention of cross-contamination, cooking times and food storage temperatures, and a thorough knowledge of what causes foodborne diseases, how to prevent these outbreaks, and how best to deal with them should they arise. Beyond food-based health and safety, you will also have to be aware of other forms of health and safety, such as how to deal with slips and trips in the workplace (when suffered by yourself, colleagues, or customers), how to deal with and store equipment and cleaning products, and other basic safety protocol.

Training

Once you’ve got the health and safety basics out of the way, you’re generally good to go! There are courses out there that help you to train in very specific sectors such as cooking fine food, crafting desserts, or producing the perfect cup of coffee. However, most positions will offer on the job training where you learn as you go along. It’s important that you are still committed to this though. You need to take everything seriously in order to progress as your employer will expect you to. Remember that the better your performance, the more likely you are to receive tips or promotions in catering. This is a sector where it can be relatively easy to make your way up the career ladder, so invest your full effort from the start, and you will go far. Never be afraid to ask questions if you feel lost or unsure of something you’re doing. Your senior colleagues are there to help!

Be Flexible

Nowadays, staff do tend to be expected to show flexibility in their roles. So be prepared to take on aspects of other roles should you need to. Every role is equally important and should someone not be able to work, other members of staff are generally expected to pull together to cover their responsibilities and tasks until their return. While you may not be given specific training in others’ job roles, you can always pick up tips and tricks by simply becoming familiar with exactly what it is that your colleagues do on a day to day basis and keeping an eye on how they go about things. You can then mimic their behaviour and habits should you need to carry out any of their work. This shows commitment to your establishment and highlights you as a particularly valuable member of staff.
While positions in catering are always there and carried out by a wide variety of individuals, it’s important that you don’t underestimate the work that will be involved in jumping into this industry. Remember that at times you may have to deal with difficult customers, difficult colleagues, and difficult situations. But at the end of the day, your hard work will pay off, and this can prove to be a viable and profitable career path. So, start looking for positions, applying for roles, and honing your craft. It won’t be all too long until you get your foot in the door of the industry!

Finding the Drive – 6 Steps Toward Perfecting the Car-Buying Process

As anyone who has ever purchased a lemon can tell you, the process of car buying can be like dating – for long term happiness, choices should be more than a whim based on an attractive body shape…

With that in mind, we have honed down the most important factors which go into buying the perfect vehicle for your now and for your future.

Finance freedom 

The cost of financing through a car yard can be notoriously expensive.  This is in part due to the fact that many people haven’t prepared their finance in advance. Finding yourself at the mercy of onsite finance people looking to profit from impulsive buyers, can be costly.

Sorting your loan through an independent finance company like Latitude Financial can save you a substantial chunk of money over the life of the loan.  Car finance from Latitude also gives you flexibility to tailor a payment plan to suit your budget and lifestyle.

If purchasing new, beware of ‘upselling’ of aftermarket products such as window tinting and rust proofing.  Sales people can often pressure you into purchasing things you don’t need, at an inflated cost.

Lifestyle logic

If you are thinking of starting a family or already have a gaggle of children, then a little sports car may not be for you.  Similarly, if the family has grown and gone, this may be the time to buy that convertible you have always longed for.

Consider the needs of your family both now and in the future.  Some pertinent questions which may need asking are:

  • Will this car fulfil my needs in five years time?
  • How will it fit in my garage or carport?
  • Will it be easy to park?
  • Will it hold its resale value?
  • What / who do I need to transport on a regular basis?

Turning green

With the rising cost of petrol, the shift to Hybrid and electric vehicles has finally taken hold in the mainstream market.  Lowered running costs in the long term as well as dropping price tags and an increase in  charging points, is driving the move away from petrol cars.

As these technologies become more refined and buyers move away from fossil fuels, it may be worth purchasing an environmentally responsible vehicle, to futureproof your investment.

Reading, research and recommendations 

Anyone who has been stung by costly car servicing will tell you that researching to find the best warranties and servicing offers can be a true money saving experience.  Capped price servicing and extended warranties or free servicing for the first five years, are offers which are commonly available through some car manufacturers.

It pays to be aware that many European brands will cost upwards of a thousand dollars for a standard service.  If something does go wrong with them you can expect the cost of parts and labour to be astronomical – even on simple items.

The best place to find unbiased advice on a particular model is to ask someone who already owns one.  They can give you a clear understanding of the maintenance and ongoing costs of running a vehicle along with any issues or drawbacks they may have encountered.

Test and compare

If purchasing a secondhand vehicle, take along a knowledgeable and trustworthy friend or car buying consultant and ask plenty of questions.  Check for:

  • oil leaks
  • ‘Clunking’ when the steering wheel is on tight lock
  • Engine temperature running hot – this may indicate a cracked head (an expensive fix!)
  • Signs of body repairs – if the car has been in a major accident it can cause a multitude of issues
  • Signs of rust
  • Excessive mileage (kilometres)

A car history report can be accessed through VicRoads or similar agencies.  It will provide details regarding the car including whether it has ever been ‘written off’ due to an accident or identify whether it has been stolen.

Fine print

Before signing on the dotted line – read what you are signing.  If a used car dealer or seller is offering a warranty or parts insurance, ensure you understand exactly what these cover.  Often warranties and insurances sold through dealers offer limited protection.

Through a little preparation and research you can ensure that your car buying experience is both positive and fruitful.  To get the best value from a car, it is advisable to own it for 4+ years.  Making the right vehicle choice means your new car should remain a viable and profitable purchase for years to come.

Trade Show Tips Expo-sed

Are you thinking of taking your company to an upcoming expo? There are so many great benefits of showcasing your brand and products at these types of trade shows, such as increased exposure and fantastic networking opportunities. Or course, all of these benefits and the success will only come if you put in plenty of effort into your business’s expo booth or stall. Trust me, that isn’t quite as easy as you might expect it to be. But that shouldn’t give you cause for concern – just read through these great trade show tips to find out how you can win big at your next expo!

Carefully Consider Your Stall Design

When you sign up for a spot at a trade show or expo, you will be allocated a pitch in the large hall, and that’s it. In some cases, you might be given a small table to set up on, but that won’t always be the case. It will be totally up to you to bring your own stand or stall. At least that gives you the chance to be as creative as possible! You can design and build your stand however you want it to be. If you aren’t the most creative of thinkers, don’t worry – you can always find a company that knows a thing or two about trade show booth design to help you out with creating it. It’s a good idea to find out the exact dimensions of the pitch before you begin designing it, though, so that you don’t turn up with something that doesn’t fit!

 

It’s All About Location

Sometimes, you will be given a spot in the trade hall and won’t be able to move it or swap it. But there are some expos that give the companies who sign up early the chance to choose their location. This is something you need to carefully think about as it could dictate how many people pass by your stand. The prime locations will be those by the entrance. This is especially the case if the trade show is very large as some people might not be willing to walk all the way around. In this case, you might find that you don’t get many visitors to your stand if you are at the back of the hall.

Be Approachable

You need to make sure that the employees who are manning your stand are completely approachable. They need to be smiling and welcoming so that no one is put off from checking your stand out. Ideally, send a couple of your customer service team, as they will already be well trained in how to speak with customers and clients. It’s also important that they are dressed appropriately for the occasion. They don’t have to wear suits as that could be too formal – instead, smart-casual is a better option for their dress.

Have Plenty Of Business Cards Available

The whole point of attending these trade shows and expos is so more business professionals and potential clients find out about you and your business. But you need to make sure that everyone who you chat to or checks out your stall will remember you once they get home or back to the office. So, the best way to do that is to hand out business cards to everyone you meet. Thanks to cool printing companies like Moo, you can now create some really funky business cards, that the receiver won’t be able to forget about. Make sure that you incorporate your company’s brand into the card somehow, and don’t forget those all-important contact details as well! If you have enough room left on the card, it’s worth adding your business’s social media handles too.

Offer Some Freebies

You might need to try and use any way you can to persuade some people to check out your stand. There’s one method that will ensure a queue of interested people come to meet you – hand out some free products! Of course, you don’t have to give away your main product for free as that could end up losing you a lot of cash. But it’s nice to have some goodie bags on hand that you can give to your guests. You might want to keep it really simple and just offer some free bottled water and snacks. People love getting freebies and will really appreciate whatever it is you can give them!

Live Tweet From The Trade Show

It’s good to have a couple of different social media campaigns going at once so that you can widen your reach on the likes of Facebook and Twitter. One cool campaign idea is to live tweet the whole conference or trade show. That way, you can give all of your customers an insider peek into what it is like to run a business. Not only that, though, but you might pique the interest and attention of some industry insiders who might want to follow your tweeting. This will inform them of all the ins and outs of the trade show, and it also introduces your company to them.

Run A Competition

Another great way to persuade people to visit you at your stand is to run a competition for the duration of the trade show. You can guarantee that everyone will be super interested in having a go to see if they can take home the prize! Your competition can be as big and as lavish as you like. For instance, some of the larger tech firms like to give away a car as the prize. But don’t worry if you can’t afford a prize that decadent. Most people will be happy to just win a goodie bag or some chocolates. It’ all about the taking part that matters. Not only that, though, but it gives you the chance to collect emails and contact details for your mailing list.

Hopefully, this blog post has inspired you to make the most of your next trade show stand. Don’t forget to have fun while you’re there!