A food consultant is someone who offers expertise and advice to various companies and organizations seeking to develop and improve their food service operations. Being a consultant, someone working in this capacity does not have a specific long-term employer, but a number of clients instead. A food consultant may offer help in a variety of aspects of the food service industry.
A food and nutrition consultant, or a dietary consultant, specializes in helping companies, organizations and individuals to build a menu of healthy food items. Such a consultant will usually have a background consisting of education in health, fitness or nutrition, offering detailed analyses of a client's current menu or diet and making suggestions of menu items that need to be added, removed or changed. A food and nutrition consultant typically works from an office or within a relatively small geographical area.
Unlike a food and nutrition consultant, a food service consultant, or restaurant consultant, focuses more on the business aspect of food service than on the dietary or nutritional aspect. The services these consultants provide may range from basic aspects of the business — menu items, recipes and kitchen organization — to things like architecture, ambience, business plan development, employee training, equipment purchasing and food safety audits. A food service consultant may work completely within one city, but many food service consultants do a lot of traveling.
In order to have reputable qualifications as either a food and nutrition consultant or a food service consultant, you should have some sort of applicable college-level qualifications. A food and nutrition consultant can be certified through a number of nutrition and wellness certificate programs, while a food service consultant should go through a hospitality or business management program. In order to have reputability in consulting restaurant owners, you should also have several years of experience working in a restaurant or other food service facility.
According to Inside Jobs, a restaurant consultant should expect to earn between $37,410 and $61,070 per year. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual earnings for a nutrition consultant is $60,008 per year.
Dietitians and nutritionists earned a median annual salary of $58,920 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, dietitians and nutritionists earned a 25th percentile salary of $47,200, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $71,840, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 68,000 people were employed in the U.S. as dietitians and nutritionists.