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All You Need to Know About Working in a Restaurant
Oct 25, 2023
6 min read
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Japan's restaurant industry is one of the biggest in the world with there being over 80,000 restaurants in Tokyo alone (via GraphToChart). With such a big industry comes a large demand for workers, as well as a high standard of expertise and service. In this article, we will explain the roles in restaurant work, as well as the skills required. We will also provide exclusive information about job opportunities available to foreign residents looking for work in Japan.

What is the Role of Restaurant Staff?

The main role of restaurant staff is to provide service for the customer. As a restaurant staff member, you are required to serve food and drinks to customers properly and quickly. You should also take care of the restaurant, and serve in a tidy and orderly way.

Customer service and communication are also important. In this job, you must respond to requests and questions, and make sure the customer can have the best experience possible. In hotels and fine-dining restaurants, an even higher level of customer service is required.

Job Description and Types of Responsibilities

Your responsibility as a restaurant staff may change depending on what your assigned job is.

Chef/Line Cook

The Culinary staff are some of the most important people in a restaurant. Although being a chef can mean different things depending on the type of restaurant you work at, the role of the cook always remains the same: to create delicious food.

Being a cook also means you must be creative and tasteful, just like an artist. Part of your job is creating new tastes and creating new experiences for the customer.

By the way, when looking for part-time jobs in the food and beverage industry in Japan, you usually do not need to have a cooking license.

Waiter/Waitress

Waiters and waitresses are in charge of taking orders, as well as bringing food and clearing plates. As a waiter, you are responsible for serving food to customers at the right time, and creating a comfortable atmosphere through your hospitality.

Similar to being a chef, regardless of the type of restaurant, your job is always the same: to create an atmosphere in which the customers can enjoy their meals. This job is much more difficult than it seems - you will learn to communicate with others on a very deep level.

Sommelier

An expert in wine and other alcoholic beverages, the sommelier also plays an important role in the restaurant. As a sommelier, you may be responsible for managing the wine list, offering wine suggestions and advice to customers, serving and pouring wine properly, as well as storing and managing the wine from sourcing to stocking.

There are many more other responsibilities in a restaurant. Job seekers will need to determine their strengths and find a role that suits you.

Skills Required by Restaurant Staff

Restaurant staff must have an understanding of various cuisines and ingredients to be able to provide accurate information towards customers. You also need to plan to respond for any situation: if you are attentive and flexible, customers are sure to come back to your restaurant again and again.

High Level of Expertise

A deep knowledge of food quality and selection is a must. Selecting the freshest, highest-quality ingredients can greatly affect the taste and appearance of a dish. You will also need to be familiar with the methods and techniques of food preparation.

Knowledge of wine and food is also very important, so you are able to suggest the best combinations for your customers.

Ability to Be Flexible

Occasionally, customers may have special requests, or they may require unexpected changes to the menu. In these situations, it is important that the restaurant staff members are flexible. From expensive and high-class restaurants to casual family restaurants, you will need to respond sincerely to any customer requests, even if they are not in the manual.

Service Skills

There are many service skills required by a restaurant worker. These may include: * Responding to customer preferences and restrictions * Quick responses and problem-solving skills * A welcoming and heartwarming service attitude

To satisfy customers, restaurant staff must pay attention to details. For example, you should always be attentive to customers with food allergies or special dietary needs. It is also important to be quick and efficient in resolving problems to provide a pleasant service experience. You can create a relaxing atmosphere by welcoming customers in a warm and friendly manner.

Merits of Working in a Restaurant

One of the most attractive aspects of restaurant staff is the international environment. The diversity of cultures and cuisines means that there are always new experiences and interactions to be had. Restaurant jobs also offer a wealth of opportunities for growth and career advancement. As you develop your expertise, you can advance to more senior positions and management roles.

International Environment

In many restaurants, multilingual support may be required. Restaurants host customers from all around the world, and with the recent increase in travelers to Japan in particular, it is an advantage to be able to speak and understand different languages. To communicate smoothly with foreign customers, it is especially good if you are a native speaker of English, Spanish or Chinese.

Diverse Cuisines and Cultures

By acquiring knowledge about different cuisines, you will learn about the characteristics and traditions of different regions. This gives you the opportunity to experience different food cultures.

Growth and Career Opportunities

Restaurants typically offer training programs to help improve your professional skills:

  • Improving menu knowledge
  • Training in service techniques
  • Development of appropriate customer communication skills

There also may be opportunities for promotions to management positions:

  • Step up to a position helping leading the entire organization
  • In charge of staff management and coordination

You can expect personal growth and experience enhancement in the restaurant industry

  • Opportunities to grow and learn about new cuisines and ingredients every day
  • Expand your international perspective by interacting with people from diverse cultures and backgrounds

Why don't you try applying for a Restaurant Staff Job?

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Enjoying a meal is a precious experience for everyone. By becoming a restaurant staff member, you can help be part of making this a truly special experience.

In Japan, there are a wide variety of workplaces, ranging from simple restaurants and izakayas (Japanese-style pubs) to upscale, creative restaurants, or hotel restaurants. Why not try your hand at restaurant-related work and take a step into the profound world of food?

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