As a tourist town that’s also full of locals who love good eats and drinks, the food service and hospitality industries are huge in Santa Barbara. In fact, food service/hospitality is the third-largest industry sector in Santa Barbara, behind government and education/health services, and it definitely has its perks.
While federal law requires employers to pay tipped employees a mere $2.13 an hour, California demands the $11 minimum wage. That means restaurant and hospitality workers in Santa Barbara can walk away from their shifts with full pockets and not get skimped on their paychecks, especially during the summer, when business is booming. Many food and hospitality employees often find it hard to leave the industry once they get used to having flexible hours, cash tips, rich social lives, free food, and a constant flow of wine tastings.
The industry is especially great for busy students or people who are looking for a second job. Lynee Gonsalves from Pure Joy Catering, which employs about 300 part-timers, says events are a great way to break into the biz. “Working events is fantastic for supplemental income,” said Gonsalves. “The majority of our events fall on the weekend, so it’s a perfect way to pick up extra work.” And every weekend feels like a fun change of scenery because “our staff gets to work in so many beautiful places, from wineries to beautiful estates, oceanfront properties, historical properties, and the list goes on,” explained Gonsalves.
Haven’t worked similar gigs in the past? Not to worry — many positions don’t require any prior experience. “If you would like to join our waitstaff team, you don’t have to have any previous experience, but we do require you to study up before starting,” said Gonsalves. When applying for jobs, she advised, “Be proactive! Get out there; apply for the job; introduce yourself; do what you say you’re going to do and do it to the best of your ability.” And, of course, she said, don’t forget to “be punctual and quick to respond.”