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Quick-service retail: area of work

Commercial awareness is key to developing new business in a graduate career in this fast-paced area.

Quick-service retail businesses have become the mainstay of the high street and come in all shapes and sizes: from international burger bar chains to independent coffee shops. Fast food is big business so it’s hardly surprising that many quick-service retail outlets have a turnover of millions of pounds each year, employ teams of 60 or more and are located all over the world.

Managing a business in this sector involves financial, marketing and operational know-how as well as a talent for team building. Roles vary from overseeing front-of-house service and recruitment of staff to creating marketing campaigns and working to maintain relations with the local community. Not only will you need to motivate your staff but you will also need to ensure that customer needs are met.

Working environment

As a manager in a quick-service retail business, your time will be divided between eating areas, kitchens and the office. If you’re promoted to area manager, you’ll need to travel between a number of different premises and some employers offer company cars for this purpose. Head office roles tend to be more desk-based.

Getting in and getting on

A degree in catering, business or management and some work experience dealing with customers can be valuable assets. The ability to work under pressure is crucial, as are excellent interpersonal and teamworking skills. Shift work makes flexibility and adaptability essential. You also have to ensure the establishment is profitable, so commercial awareness is a must.