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Occupations in the food-and-beverage industry range from hostess, waiter and dining room manager in what's called the "Front of the House," or FOH, to the chef, prep cooks and kitchen manager in the "Back of the House," or BOH. An effective way to make your cover letter capture the reader's attention is to convey your knowledge about the industry, enthusiasm and a record of accomplishments, whether they entail providing excellent customer service or creating quality and delectable dishes.
The first couple of sentences of your introductory paragraph should contain basic information about the job you're applying for and who referred you to the employer, especially if you received a personal referral from a colleague or friend whom the recruiter or hiring manager knows. For example, you could write, "When I learned X Restaurant Group was looking for an executive chef at the Main Street Cafe, Jane Doe, your company's chief operating officer, assured me that my qualifications would be worthy of your consideration. Therefore, I'm including my resume for your review. I trust that you'll contact me to set a mutually agreeable time for us to talk about this position."
Skills and Qualifications
Always describe the skills and qualifications you have that fit the job posting, focusing only on those qualifications that are useful to the restaurant now. Refrain from explaining your career goals or where you see yourself in the food-and-beverage industry five years down the road -- leave that for your interview conversation. Employers want to know that you can meet their immediate staffing requirements, so indicate how long you've been in the business, the duties at which you excel and any training you have regarding your field. For instance, talk about your state certification in alcohol serving tips, the number of tables you turn in an average night if you're in a customer-facing role or the awards you received for your presentation and creativity related to new dishes.
Restaurant employees are engaging, customer-focused professionals whose personality traits and work ethics include relationship-building, sustaining a collegial work environment and ensuring that they and the people around them enjoy working together. They're flexible and adaptive and, in many cases, their personalities reflect their team approach to contributing to the restaurant's growth and prominence. They know that it's not just the wait staff or the kitchen staff who make the restaurant successful. In the third paragraph of your cover letter, describe how well-suited you are for this job in the restaurant industry. You could say, "Having been in the F&B industry, I realize that restaurant success isn't just based on the contributions of one team member or the employees in one group. I'm committed to team effort and collaboration, which is one of the reasons I've enjoyed this long tenure in the field." Casually throw in industry language to demonstrate your familiarity with restaurant settings and employee characteristics.
In your final paragraph, show some initiative and interest in pursuing the role. Include your availability, whether it's for a start date or overall scheduling, as in what shift coincides with your availability. Mention that you'll contact the restaurant manager within the next few business days to confirm receipt of your application materials and to set up a mutually convenient interview time. Tell the reader that you anticipate her favorable consideration and explain that you're looking forward to learning more about the position and opportunities for working at the restaurant.
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Ruth Mayhew has been writing since the mid-1980s, and she has been an HR subject matter expert since 1995. Her work appears in "The Multi-Generational Workforce in the Health Care Industry," and she has been cited in numerous publications, including journals and textbooks that focus on human resources management practices. She holds a Master of Arts in sociology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Ruth resides in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C.
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