OpenTable Executive Explains How To Get A Job In The Food Industry

There are plenty of self-proclaimed “foodies” out there trying to make a living off their passion for eating. 

And, luckily for them, there are plenty of career options to choose from. 

Foodies can pursue a job as a writer; a chef; a farmer; an entrepreneur or restaurant owner; or even a corporate employee at one of the millions of established restaurant and food businesses out there.

To figure out how to break into the industry and land a job at a place like OpenTable, a popular restaurant reservation and review service, we talked to Jocelyn Mangan, the company’s SVP of product.

First, she says, “you need to have a passion for food, dining, and restaurants — and that passion must come through.”

Jocelyn manganLinkedInJocelyn Mangan, OpenTable’s SVP of product.

She suggests immersing yourself in the world of dining by eating out often and keeping up-to-date on new restaurants and food trends. “Spend time not only in restaurants but with those who run and manage them when you can — this may be only available by attending a food-related event like a tasting or farmers market, which thankfully for all of us are becoming more prevalent.” 

Dining tends to be very local, so sometimes the best way to really get involved is to start in your own dining community, Mangan explains. “Seek out the companies who develop products you use or admire in the space and find people there who are willing to talk to you.”

She says LinkedIn is a great resource. “You never know who may know someone where you want to work, or someone passionate about food who might be able to introduce you to others looking to hire new talent.”

When hiring for OpenTable, Mangan says it isn’t just about a passion for food and restaurants, though. “I look for two other things, too,” she says. “An ability to work well within and across teams — a general spirit of collaboration — and a commitment to fostering a winning environment.”

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