Food Service vs. Retail: Which Pays Best?

Payscale

Retail Jobs In 2011, the retail industry is expected to grow by over five percent, creating half a million new jobs, according to industry researchers. The food and beverage industry is also expected to grow, though not as dramatically. As the economy rebounds and consumers start spending again, new job opportunities will appear in the food and retail industries. Which industry will pay their new hires best?

It looks like employers in retail pay better overall. That said, the two industries have a lot in common from an employee's perspective. For example, Tony Frey, senior vice president at the Carlisle Group, a Pennsylvania recruitment firm, has over a decade of experience recruiting for both industries and points out that these jobs tend to require flexibility outside of the typical 9-to-5 schedule.

And, in better news, there are often opportunities to move up in an organization and work in a variety of roles, certified human resources professional, recruiter, and coach Katherine Duffy adds.

Below, we compare median (typical) hourly rates and salaries for five job positions, according to online salary database PayScale.com, as well as offer insights into what each job entails.




1. Cashier

Food Service: $7.60 per hour

Retail: $8.20 per hour

Cashiers in both food service and retail are expected to project a positive, friendly image of the company and communicate with other associates. But, Duffy says, the most important thing is their ability to process sales accurately and quickly.




2. Marketing Coordinator

Food Service: $15.50 per hour

Retail: $17.70 per hour

A marketing coordinator's job can include traditional public relations activities, social media marketing, and research and analysis, according to Duffy. The marketing coordinator is especially important in retail ecommerce companies, because tracking click-throughs and customer activity helps these retailers boost sales in the competitive online environment.




3. Operations Director

Food Service: $66,900 per year

Retail: $79,900 per year

In the retail industry, an operations director would typically oversee a unit covering several different stores, according to Frey. In food service, such as a catering company, an operations director might manage a particular account. "[Employers are] looking for someone who has experience running that type of unit," says Frey. "In retail, they're' typically looking for multi-location experience."




4. Human Resources (HR) Manager

Food Service: $55,600 per year

Retail: $56,300 per year

Although Frey says skills like knowledge of HR law would transfer from HR positions in other industries, HR managers in food service potentially face added challenges, like ensuring that employees are trained in food safety and understanding the guidelines on union and non-union workers. He adds that HR managers in retail and food are typically involved in talent acquisition and associate relations so experience in those areas is attractive to employers.




5. Full Charge Bookkeeper

Food Service: $31,100 per year

Retail: $40,100 per year

Duffy says a bookkeeper's responsibilities might include processing purchase orders, providing monthly financial orders, and maintaining other records. While she notes a preference for those with food or retail experience, she says many of the same skills transfer from bookkeeping positions in other industries. "An accounting degree would definitely be a preference but sometimes people will get a certificate instead," she adds.


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SHEILA BERNSTEIN

I work for publix ok you think there great They are not. the only people that make out in publix are ft timers that are far few inbtween. THE managers are the ones that make out like a bandit. im there 4 years. work in the deli I make 8.50 an hour . then they lie to you . Im there right now but Im taking collage classes now . so when you see publix 1 of the best companys to work for . only if you are in mangement or higher. the little people dont count . they only come to you if there is a costumer complait watch what they tell yoi

May 10 2011 at 12:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gatitta

I had to give my 2 cents since I flip flopped between these 2 industries for the past 10-12 years and did about everything you can in both. 1st, you'd be hard pressed to find a restaurant that hires positions 2-6, most make 1 person do all those tasks... I've had to do it. I was Dir. of marketing and special events at this fine dining restaurant which meant I set up banquets, advertising (from picking who to adv. with to making the ad), ALL office work- HR duties and AP/AR.

I would say retail is the slightly superior choice by a hair. You're less likely to get stuck super late due to a late customer. I have had to work overnight in retail, had my nights where I left @ 2am, and mornings where I went in @ 5, but these were planned out so you have some warning. Restaurants are more unpredictable, as you could get stuck late on any random night if you get a late table.

You need thick skin to work in both industries to be able to deal with not only the customers, but your own co-workers as well. I think people working in restaurants are a little grittier than people working in retail. Restaurants are notorious for hiring people regardless of criminal background, whereas most retail stores are pretty strict not to hire people with records. I believe it's because there's more to steal in retail as far as handling cash and merchandise. I saw a waiter punch a manager once- crazy!

To be realistic on the pay- if you're just looking to be a staff member, not a supervisor restaurants def. pay more, plus most offer health insurance. Most retail stores only hire PT clerks and offer no insurance. Most stores are comprised of 2-4 full time managers and as many PTers they can get. If you want to be a supervisor and make a career of it, retail is far superior. You can literally climb from stock person to CEO if you work hard and have the drive; there are several real CEO's out there like that today. I was promoted to a manager position in retail way quicker than I was in restaurants. Retail manager's salary is pretty good, at 24 I was making way more than my friends that graduated college, plus I got full benefits, bonuses, insurance, 4 weeks vacation... it was pretty nice. District managers in retail are notorious for being CRAZY, but the good thing is you don't see them much, just the store manager. My DM's office was in the store I worked in once, but luckily she was great and it ended up being beneficial.
The Cons: These are pretty much 365 jobs, and the times of the year where you want extra time off, like holidays, summer, etc. are the busy times and you'll work MORE hours and be unable to request off. Most retail doesn't allow vaca. from Nov.-Jan. When my friends and fam were off, I was working. :(

I left to go back to college 3yrs ago for a "normal" schedule. Funny thing- I'm 99% sure I want to open a restaurant when I grad. :)
I know, my comments are longer than the whole story!! Just giving a realistic opinion.

May 10 2011 at 10:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gatitta

I had to give my 2 cents since I flip flopped between these 2 industries for the past 10-12 years and did about everything you can in both. 1st, you'd be hard pressed to find a restaurant that hires positions 2-6, most make 1 person do all those tasks... I had to do it. I was Dir. of marketing and special events at this fine dining restaurant which meant I set up banquets, advertising (from picking who to adv. with to making the ad), ALL office work- HR duties and AP/AR.

I would say retail is the slightly superior choice by a hair. You're less likely to get stuck super late due to a late customer. I have had to work overnight in retail, had my nights where I left @ 2am, and mornings where I went in @ 5, but these were planned out so you have some warning. Restaurants are more unpredictable, as you could get stuck late on any random night if you get a late table.

You need thick skin to work in both industries to be able to deal with not only the customers, but your own co-workers as well. I think people working in restaurants are a little grittier than people working in retail. Restaurants are notorious for hiring people regardless of criminal background, whereas most retail stores are pretty strict not to hire people with records.

May 10 2011 at 10:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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