Start by throwing your pre-conceived notions away.
Many onsite foodservice are far different—and far more interesting— that people imagine from the outside. For example, many onsite chefs will tell you that the decision to take a position in noncommercial was the best career decision they ever made. Running many onsite cafés is just as challenging—and sometimes more challenging than operating commercial restaurants. And if you're a pastry chef, you might be interested to know that many colleges and hospitals have full-blown bakeries that rival many in the commercial environment.
Where to get started? The information on the following pages should help. Each one-page profile will give you some background information about onsite segments as they are seen by the most prominent professional associations in those fields.Take a look at the career paths described by their presidents—you'll see how their own career expectations and opportunities changed over the years.
Also, make sure you spend some time to check out the association websites. They will often feature job board listings, salary surveys and other information about internship programs that can help you scope out careers in various onsite fields. If you want a first-hand look, many of these associations can also help you identify local operators who may allow you to visit.
Finally, keep in mind that if you're in hospitality, dietetic or culinary school, your career objectives now may change later on. In mid-career, onsite careers often prove to have more family-friendly schedules and benefits than their commercial counterparts. At this stage, you owe it to yourself to explore all of the options out there, even if they don't fit your immediate objectives. Understanding the full breadth of the foodservice world is an important part of your basic education.