Food safety consulting is one way that restaurant consultants can provide specialized assistance to restaurants. Those who excel in this area are process-driven, detail oriented, and well informed on compliance and regulations for restaurants. Whether you’re just starting out as a restaurant consultant or you’ve been a generalist for a while and are considering taking up a specialty, here is everything you need to know about the building blocks of food safety consulting.
What is Food Safety Consulting?
In the United States, there are a number of food and safety regulations that foodservice businesses need to follow. The process can be confusing and overwhelming if restaurants are not well versed in what each regulation means and when they need to be renewed, leading many owners to hire a food safety consultant instead of taking it on themselves. Food safety consulting helps bars and restaurants meet and sustain regulatory obligations and other health and safety certifications.
Alchemy Systems identifies the common elements a food safety consultant can help with:
- Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) certification and sustainability
- Food safety plan development and analysis
- Internal auditor training
- Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) plan development and assessment
- HACCP training and certification
- Regulatory enforcement response assistance
- Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) compliance
What is Included in Food Safety Consultant Job Descriptions?
Specific requirements for food safety consultants will vary by state and individual restaurant needs, but some general elements that are included in most food safety consultant job descriptions are:
- Education: Typically, a bachelor’s degree or higher is required in a related field like food science, agribusiness, and the like. That said, experience can outweigh education in certain circumstances.
- Experience: While the number of years of necessary experience will vary, many jobs look for two to five years. What’s most important is experience with creating food safety procedures, maintaining documentation and checklists, and training staff on food safety procedures. Many restaurants expect experience with creating HACCP plans, as well as HACCP certification.
- Skills: Since training and working with a large staff are central parts of the job, most employers will want consultants to have clear and effective written and verbal communication skills. Multi-tasking and analytical skills are also key, as the role involves evaluation of reports.
- Responsibilities: Understanding and managing food safety procedures and protocols, providing direct and written advice and reports to restaurant owners, and responding to inquiries from new clients are a few of the core responsibilities of food safety consultants. Overall, food safety consultants are the ones who ensure the processes, products, and systems are compliant with all food safety standards.
How Much Money Do Food Safety Consultants Make?
While most food safety consulting gigs are salaried jobs at a consulting firm, there are other forms of compensation, like profit-sharing and bonuses. As PayScale.com notes, the average salary for a food safety consultant is $60,705, with the extremes ranging between just over $41,000 to just about $100,000.
The average hourly rate for food safety consultants comes out to $34.76 an hour. These rates range from $15 an hour on the low end and $88 an hour on the high end. However, the website also adds that there is an average bonus of $2,250 each year, and roughly $3,500 per year in profit-sharing to consider, as well.
Two factors to consider when it comes to compensation: location and experience. For example, consultants in New York City may make more money, but also may need to be more experienced than consultants working elsewhere.
What Does a Strong Food Safety Consultant Resume Look Like?
The key is to highlight experience, qualifications and education. Great Sample Resume includes the following items:
- A job objective: Why this job suits you and your experience and ambition.
- Work experience: All recent positions, especially those that require relevant skills to the new job. Be sure to highlight schedules, processes, trainings, and promotions, like:
- Managed a range of professional and technical staff
- Focused on the technical concerns of the Food Law enforcement team
- Led and prepared projects or research assignments as required
- Prepared notices and schedules as required and managed works undertaken to ensure compliance with relevant legislation and standards
- Participated in the development of training programs for technical officers, students, and other staff
- Summary of qualifications: This section of a food safety consultant’s resume will list off all of the specific qualifications that a candidate has, like:
- In-depth knowledge of the broad Environmental Health role and its impact on society
- Extensive knowledge of food processing and packaging
- Familiarity with Food Law enforcement practices
- Good written and interpersonal skills
- Education: Education should include college, graduation year, type of degree, as well as area of study. Be sure to include any subsequent professional courses and certification classes that are relevant to the position.