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The Value of Working in Retail or Food Service

Updated on July 28, 2017

Why Retail and Food Service?

Arguably some of the most difficult jobs to work are those in retail or food service. The pay usually isn't very good and you have to work with some of the most difficult people while maintaining an air of calm professionalism. These jobs leave much to be desired to say the least, but the skills that they provide prove to be invaluable in the workforce. These positions force workers to grow in ways that others may not. The rest of this article discusses some of the areas in which workers improve in through their positions.

You Learn how to Multitask

Handling multiple demands from customers and managers when there's lines of people is no easy task. It forces you to become far more efficient and constantly think about what needs to be done next. There is no time to be standing around; you must be actively working towards keeping lines as short as possible and customers happy. That mentality transfers well into other positions and makes for a highly efficient worker. Supervisors want employees who are capable of handling multiple tasks at once and who will be able to maintain focus. Retail and food service jobs force employees to hone these skills and, if they're hard workers, excel in such areas.


Remaining Professional Under Pressure

It can be challenging to maintain an even temper when customers are yelling at you over seemingly small mistakes or when the cash register suddenly breaks, but it is crucial to do so. There is no room for losing your temper or having a break down in the middle of a shift because it could tarnish the business's reputation and create more problems than necessary. Such positions can be rather harsh and thankless, but employees must always be present with a smile and a professional attitude. Learning how to control yourself and your actions is a valuable skill that employers always look for. They need someone who will act professionally under any circumstance.

Improves Communication Skills

In a fast-paced food service or retail job, it is crucial for employees to work as a team and maintain good communication with each other. They must speak quickly and efficiently with other employees in order to assist customers in a timely manner. If they don't communicate what they need effectively then the result will be upset customers who were not appropriately helped. These work environments can be loud and move quickly, so it is important that employees fine-tune their communication skills to avoid frustration. Effective communication is an important part of nearly every job and is always a good skill to improve upon.


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Increases Flexibility

Employees who work food service or retail positions know that the hours can be unusual and irregular. Sometimes you may have to work overnight, sometimes you may be working a 14 hour shift, and sometimes they may be short-staffed and ask you to come in even if you aren't on the schedule. It can be frustrating, but it teaches employees how to be flexible and adapt to ever-changing schedules. This makes them very reliable workers because they have had to deal with difficult schedules and last minute changes in the past. Employees who have not had to work in retail or food service positions may not be as willing to be flexible with their schedules.

It Humbles You

Lots of employees who work in food service or retail get mistreated at some point or another. Customers can be rude, managers can be difficult, and the situations employees sometimes find themselves in can be stressful. There isn't much thanks involved, but their job is still important and must be done. People who have worked in industries where they serve others learn how important it is to treat people well. They have worked in some of the lowest positions you can work in and know what it's like to be treated poorly. They pay closer attention to what they say and do because they think about how other people will perceive their actions.


Isn't it Shameful Though?

Some people are afraid that it makes them look bad to work in a food service or retail position, but this could not be further from the truth. It shows that they have character and aren't afraid to do difficult jobs. When employers see such jobs on resumes, they know that the candidate they're looking at has had to deal with many difficulties and is capable of handling any challenges that come their way. Of course not every job you work at should be in this sector; it's good to have a variety in order to show off your various skills and talents. But it is my belief that the best employees are the ones who have worked at least one food service or retail job because those are the employees who have the most character. Those are the employees who stand out.

© 2017 Lindsay Langstaff


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