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.

Latest Hospitality Management Articles


Thank you for inviting us – we really did appreciate it. I must say I was really impressed by the Briar Ridge team – one of them (… Aiden) did a really great job explaining who they were, what they were about etc., and really took the time to give us the background on the person behind it all (Gwyn Olsen). He’d clearly immersed himself in the project, and I think she’d have been really pleased if she’d seen that. Happy to reach out and tell her so if you think it would help pave the way for future events.

- Anonymous, Winefest Guest 2015

I just wanted to express thanks and congratulations to all at Kenvale for the magnificent lunch provided on Thursday.

I have been to many hatted restaurants this year and can honestly say that they would have struggled to produce such fantastic dishes.

The lunch was a credit to your students and your staff.  It would be a privilege to enjoy another visit next year.

Best wishes to your graduating students for success in their career and to your staff to continue to guide students to reach such a high standard.

- Anonymous public guest at Kenvale Restaurant 2015

Ask us a question


Why don't you take our 2-minute career quiz to find out what your passion is?

Take the test