Freelance food critic - things to consider & growth potential

Is Food critism a full time profession? What things should I consider before trying to freelance?

No, not necessarily.

Many restaurant critics do the job on something less than a full-time basis. While a number hold other jobs with their employers, there are critics whose only link to a publication is the restaurant evaluation.

Here are some questions freelancers should consider before accepting an assignment.
• What is the policy on negative evaluations?

• Will the publication support the critic if a restaurant dislikes the evaluation? What if the restaurateur threatens a lawsuit?

• Does the analyst get to write under his or her own name or a pseudonym?

• How many times is the critic expected to visit a restaurant before writing an evaluation?

• Who selects the restaurants?

• Does the publication have a policy about evaluating restaurants that are also advertisers?

• Are any restaurants considered off-limits, i.e. chain restaurants?

• Does the publication have specific guidelines (food quality, service, attitude, and price) that must be followed in evaluating the restaurant?

• Does the publication pick up the tab? Is there a cap on how much an analyst can spend on the meal? Will the publication pay for alcohol? Does the analyst have to use a personal credit card or pay cash?

• Will the critic be paid a salary plus meal reimbursement or just meal reimbursement?

• How long must an analyst wait before getting paid? Will the publication pay for credit card late fees or interest charges if the reimbursement is not timely?

What are the prospects of advancement as a food critic?

• A position of a food critic is very competitive at the basic level, but there is a great splurge of new restaurants which are creating a buzz and are in a need for reviews.

• Once you start a food section and write for it in a local publication, you may advance to the position of a food editor.

• Once established as a food editor, you could move into other positions in the publications, or also start your very own blog.

• If you take it up professionally, with experience you may be able to reach a position where you can start your own food magazine or a website.
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