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Apr 1, 2008 01:30 PM

Book(s) on Food/Hospitality Industry?

Hounds, I'm currently working in finance and am thinking about a career switch into the food/hospitality industry. I realize this would be a big jump, so I'm wondering if any of you know of some good books that might give me some insight into what to expect? I am more interested in the business side of things (e.g. running a restaurant, working for a restaurant group) than working as a chef... any ideas?

Thanks in advance!

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  1. Try Danny Meyer's Setting the Table. It's a bit self-referential and self-congratulatory but there are many interesting tidbits and lessons learned.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Velda Mae

      "Self-referential and self-congratulatory" - perfect.

    2. Maybe not what you're looking for, but I just finished "Last Night at the Lobster" by Stewart O'Nan. It's fiction, but I thought it was well-researched and captured the essence of managing a corporate chain restaurant. A bit depressing, but you need to look at all sides before jumping in. A quick read, only about 140 pages.

      1. "Kitchen Confidential" by Anthony Bourdain. While it's mostly about his experiences as a chef, there's loads of great advice on running a restaurant as shown by examples of how *not* to do it.

        If you want to work in the culinary industry, I'd suggest starting at the bottom by working in a kitchen so you know the realities of what happens behind those swinging doors. You don't have to do it for 10 years, but at least enough to give you the experience and perspective so you can talk knowledgably to chefs, vendors, waitstaff, et al. Otherwise, it'll be too easy to blow your money on a dream that never had a chance.

        1. There are lots of guides to running/managing restaurants and bars. If you go to Amazon, just plug that in to their search engine. I think those types of books might be more useful than Setting the Table or Kitchen Confidential. I enjoyed both of those, but it's not like you can garner much restaurant advice from either one. Some good industry magazines are FoodArts, Sante and Cheers. Cheers actually had nice one-page articles about everything from employee incentive programs to designing a bar menu to chooseing stemware. Good luck!