Jobs in the Australian hospitality sector can be classified into two general areas: back of house and front of house. Each are suited to people with different skills, and both are vitally important to the operations of an establishment. 

So you might be wondering: which kind of role is best for your career? It's time to find out! We look at the advantages of front of house and back of house hospitality jobs

What's the difference between a back of house and front of house hospitality position? 

The difference between a back of house and front of house role is pretty straightforward. Front of house roles are more visible jobs that involve a great deal of interaction with customers. Back of house jobs are more "behind-the-scenes", with these types of roles typically located in the kitchen area of a hotel or restaurant. While you're not always seen by the customer, your job is equally important.

The skills needed for each of these kinds of positions are very different, and if you want to develop your hospitality career and take on a senior position down the line such as a General Manager or Restaurant Manager, it's a good idea to get a feel for both so you have insight into all aspects of running a hospitality business.

However, sometimes people are better suited to one or the other. So, is a front of house or back of house hospitality job going to be better for your career? 

Back of house hospitality roles

Back of house jobs involve positions such as:

  • Executive chef
  • Sous chef
  • Cook
  • Dishwasher
  • Expeditor

They're best suited to people who don't want to spend time interacting with customers, and prefer to just put their head down and get the job done. However, don't be fooled into thinking that because you won't be dealing with customers you won't need to deal with people – back of house jobs require social skills just as much as front of house roles do. In addition, you'll be working to tight deadlines in high-pressure environments with a tight-knit group of people, and you'll need to be a team player to succeed.

You can expect a range of responsibilities when you work back of house. If you're just starting out in your career, you'll be responsible for following menus and the instructions of those above you, and for ensuring that food is plated up at the right time and to the desired standard. Those occupying higher positions such as sous chef or executive chef will find their responsibilities also involve managing teams and making some tough decisions.

A back of house role is a great way to prepare you for the fast-paced nature of kitchen work, and will teach you valuable skills in working as a team, meeting tight deadlines and stress management – all incredibly valuable skills to have in any industry. 

Front of house hospitality roles

Front of house jobs involve positions such as:

  • Bartender
  • Sommelier
  • Server (waiter/waitress)
  • Host/hostess

These roles are best suited to people who are passionate about customer service, are confident interacting with people and are highly organised. Your role will involve dealing with customers and you'll need to be able to think on your feet to deal with issues if and when they arise. A good memory helps too. At busy times you'll be bombarded with questions and requests – and you'll need to remember them all!

A front of house role will prepare you for the customer side of hospitality and will improve your organisational and people skills enormously.

So, which one is best for you?

Well, the short answer is: both! While you might find that you enjoy one over the other, it's a great idea to build skills in both to give yourself the best career head start possible. This is particularly important if you see yourself taking on senior roles in the future, as these will require you to have a knowledge of how everything operates.

At Kenvale, you'll get the opportunity to build a practical knowledge of both front of house and back of house roles through your paid work and course modules. To find out more, get in touch with one of our career advisors today.

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