A young woman working as an executive steward in the hospitality industry serves as an unsung hero of the food and beverage division. She’s a focused, organized fireball who possesses high energy levels and a drive to succeed. It’s safe to say a restaurant or hotel with a restaurant element would be hard-pressed to function properly without her.
As an executive steward, you’ll be the hands-on overseer of food-related equipment, including appliances, cooking utensils, dishware, glassware, flatware and the like, ensuring everything's in working order and plentiful enough for the facility to operate properly. These duties can be daunting, depending on the requirements of the event. For example, a conference center hosting a luncheon for several hundred people must be prepared well in advance with all the necessary tools and equipment to enable perfect preparation and presentation of the meal. That’s where you come in. First, you’ll meet ahead of time with the banquet or executive chef to determine what will be needed and then check the supply inventory, kitchen prep and serving equipment, ensuring it’s all in working order, clean and available for use, but that’s not all. You’ll also supervise the stewarding staff members in their efforts to deliver the food on time to the proper serving areas. If the event is a buffet, you’ll keep an eye on food levels and direct staff members to refill when necessary.
Your duties make you the guardian of kitchen cleanliness, ensuring the sanitation of all food preparation and service areas. Your job includes making sure your staff members properly use chemicals and potentially hazardous components to uphold sanitation requirements. You’ll also supervise dishwashers and store room personnel. You’ll guard the kitchen (and the entire business) in other ways, too, because the skill with which you do your job, in addition to your effective written and verbal communication with management, will help achieve overall business goals, including happy employees and customers and profits.
You'll be responsible for maintaining the freshness of hot and cold foods. In the event of hazardous kitchen accidents, you'll be required to correctly apply countermeasures in accordance with safety requirements. Your knowledge of how to operate a variety of kitchen equipment will also be at the forefront of your skill set. Throughout the workday, you'll set a good example for others in the department by maintaining your own professionalism and personal cleanliness.
Gauging the successful performance of your job will ultimately relate to the level of satisfaction guests experience. Continued repeat business points to patrons who enjoy a variety of elements in their dining experiences, including cleanliness, plentiful food and friendly staff. You influence all of these factors, not just through your management of stewarding department fundamentals, but also through your ability to foster teamwork and motivation among your staff members. If you're good at your job, you can enjoy a measure of job security. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates employment among food and beverage and workers will grow by 12 percent between 2012 and 2022, which is considered average growth for all occupations. The BLS also indicates that, because of high turnover rates in the food and beverage industry, there should be many available job opportunities. This can mean the possibility of your long-term success as an executive steward.
2016 Salary Information for Food and Beverage Serving and Related Workers
Food and beverage serving and related workers earned a median annual salary of $19,710 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, food and beverage serving and related workers earned a 25th percentile salary of $18,170, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $22,690, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 5,122,500 people were employed in the U.S. as food and beverage serving and related workers.
- Cooking District: Job Descriptions: Hotel Executive Steward
- Cooking District: Job Descriptions: Hotel Utility Steward
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Food and Beverage Serving and Related Workers
- Marriott: Executive Steward
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Food and Beverage Serving and Related Workers
- Career Trend: Food and Beverage Serving and Related Workers
Michelle Reynolds has been writing about business, careers and art since 1993. She was the publisher of a newsletter, “Working Parents Monthly," as well as a graphic design guidebook. Reynolds also served as human-resources director at a resort/spa for eight years. She is an artist and promotes the arts and other artists through ElegantArtisan.com, a website she developed and maintains.