Food shopping is one of the most essential purchases that people will make. From picking up a single pint of milk, to filling an over-flowing trolley, food retailers are swamped with customers, especially around seasonal occasions.
Stores are always looking for staff to keep up with customer demand, so we tell you what to expect from a career in food retail.
So, what will I actually be doing?
Food retail covers any job that sells food, so there’s lots of career options to choose from. You could work in a massive supermarket, sell fruit and vegetables in a greengrocer, sell specialised foods or serve a community in a local food store, the list is endless.
From customer service assistant to area manager, depending on the role you choose, your daily duties could include:
- Ordering stock
- Receiving deliveries and checking their quality
- Motivating staff
- Unloading deliveries and stacking shelves
- Serving customers
- Advising customers on preparing and cooking meals
- Driving to markets and wholesalers for more business and to stock up
Can’t get enough of organic food? Addicted to your vegetarian dishes? If you’ve got a love for particular foods, why not work in a store that specialises in them? You’ll enjoy the job more and your knowledge and passion will convince customers to buy.
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The nitty gritty
If you’ve worked in retail before, it’ll come as no surprise to hear that you’ll be working around 40 hours a week, often in shift patterns which can be on both weekdays and weekends. Depending on the store’s opening hours, expect to work the occasional early morning or late night too.
Depending on the type of food you’re working with, you may have to wear protective clothing to ensure good hygiene so customers don’t get ill (e.g. if you’re working with any meats).
Money, money, money
What you earn will change with the company, your location, your age and whether you’re working part-time, but starting wages are around £14,000 and £20,000 a year.
With enough experience your salary increases to between £21,000 and £28,000.
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The good points...
Looking for a job that offers flexible working conditions and teaches you lots of transferable skills? Then this is the career for you.
...and the bad
Invest in some comfortable shoes and build up your strength as food retail often involves being on your feet all day and carrying heavy deliveries.
If you’re working in retail for the first time, be prepared, not all customers will have good manners, especially if they’ve been queuing for a while.
Is there study involved?
Common for most retail jobs, qualifications aren’t hugely important for this role, it’s all about having previous experience and a passion for the job.
There is an in-house learning culture in food retail, and you’ll normally be hired as an assistant or apprentice and trained on the job. Shadowing someone until you get the hang of it is quite common, especially if you’re working with meat and fish.
Got a day to spare? The course for a foundation/basic food hygiene certificate takes a single day to complete and employers love to see it on your CV.
OK, I'm interested... But is it really the job for me?
Want to know if you’ve got the skills to be a success in the job? To work in food retail it helps if you have:
- Good customer service skills
- Good hygiene (hate showering? This probably isn’t the job for you)
- Ability to work well in a team
- Product knowledge
A creative side (for creating displays)
- Good maths skills