Five Lessons for a Leg Up in the Food Industry


Rebecca Tax has more than two decades of experience working in the food industry, opening eight restaurants since 1996. All in the North Virginia area, Tax seeks to give her customers different and refreshing experiences. Her current ventures, Mike’s Deli and Clare & Don’s Beach Shack, brings beachside seafood to the urban Virginia backdrop of Falls Church.

Find Your Grind spoke to Tax to get her advice on pursuing a career in the food industry. The restauranteur offered five key points for future leaders in the industry.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

1. It’s a Workout

You can’t expect to sit behind a desk from nine to five as a restaurant owner. The job is hot and dirty and involves physical labor to keep it all going. Just having a can-do attitude about it all will help a lot.

2. Stay Focused

Working around a large staff filled with different personalities and jobs can lead to distractions. The common distractions of drugs and alcohol are always present. You must keep away from this if you want to succeed as an entrepreneur. Success requires your full attention.

3. Learn Good People Skills

The restaurant business is a people business. All day and every day, there are customers. Training yourself on how to be friendly and welcoming will lead to a happier day and a more successful restaurant.

4. Take Some Spanish Classes

According a 2017 Boston Globe article, the the most in-demand languages are Chinese, Arabic and Spanish, and the demand for bilingual workers doubled between 2010 and 2015. In addition, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 2016 that 25.8 percent of the food services industry was of hispanic or latino origin. Learning a second language completely or becoming familiar with a commonly used one, such as Spanish, will put you ahead of others in the workforce and will allow you to communicate with other workers more efficiently.

5. Prepare to Work Weekends

People go out to eat seven days of the week, and that includes Saturday and Sunday, when a vast amount of other jobs are out. Be prepared to work your social life around this job and to have days off that don’t match up with the norm.

Photo by Henrique Félix on Unsplash


“Employed Persons by Detailed Industry, Sex, Race, and Hispanic or Latino Ethnicity.” U.S.

      Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Ryan, David L. “Which Job Seekers Are in Hot Demand? Bilingual Workers. – The Boston Globe.”, 13 Mar. 2017.

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