Working in the Restaurant Industry
"Hi folks! How's everyone doing today!? Welcome! My name is Bridget, and I'll be taking care of you!"
Welcome to the dinning experience and all that it entails!!
For most people, the knowledge that you have in dinning out is being the Guest. For some, you have worked in the industry yourself. For a few (I find this very hard to believe, but hey! anything is possible these days) the only reference that you may have is the movie "Waiting."
In certain atmospheres, you may come across some characters like these from the movie throughout the business. Some people who don't know how to control their tempers or people who would actually consider spitting in your food or glass if you were actually being a rude customer. Servers getting annoyed at you for snapping your fingers at them (this is actually extremely rude, so I do not recommend doing this to your wait staff). But the list could go on and on from that movie. So, yeah, that movie is funny to a certain extent. However, not all people are like that. To me, it is a clear definer of the individuals who will not make it far in this industry. The ones that create a terrible guest experience, and cause people to never want to come back to your establishment ever again. Now, I'm not gonna lie, that movie is hilarious to me because I have lived it. But the professional in me, sees where the opportunity for improvement is.
I have over 14 years of customer service behind my belt, most of which have been working in the restaurant industry. I've held many different titles throughout the years, meaning that I have been a server, banquet server, bartender, banquet bartender, trainer, supervisor, manager, general manager, and have been fully trained as Sue Chief in the back of house..
All of these positons (with the exception of the kitchen staff) also include, greeting Guests at the door, leading them to tables and server sections in proper rotation, bussing tables, running dishes through the dishwasher if the volume of business is so high that this needs to be done.
Some would say that this industry has become my profession, as I have been doing it for so long. I have attempted to branch out into other areas throughout the years, but somehow, it just has this way of always drawing me back in.
"So, you don't plan to be a server for the rest of your life, do you?"
Possibly the worst thing that a Guest could ever ask you, is this question. Because, even though there are numerous perks to being a wait staff, there is also this negative connotation that somehow seems to come along with this position. It's not only when customers say this to us, but it almost makes it worse when they do, because we are all somehow already thinking it ourselves.
For whatever reason it may be, our society only seems to believe that it is an acceptable "job" (because no one will consider it to be a career), when you are a college student and just trying to pay your way through school. Another question that some tables seem to ask you, "So, are you in school?" Wow, well thank you for the compliment I am actually a lot older than I look friend. But they all just seem to see it as a stepping stone into whatever degree lies next for you. So, somehow, we all go on believing that there just might be something else out there for us, and we continue to put a shame upon ourselves for not quit knowing what that other thing could or should be.
The truth is, that we are all great with people! We have the personalities that make people want to come back. We are hard workers, we are timely, we are prompt, we remember things, bring you those things without you even having to ask, we are aware, we are observant, we are witty, and we have many, many different qualities that will bring us far in life. So many transferrable skills that companies would be privileged to have on their teams.
But what people don't know, is that we actually enjoy what we are doing! We get to be active, walking around putting in a lot of steps each day. We are able to have mornings off, or evenings off, if that's what we need for that day. There is a flexibility, and still an opportunity to make more money than the guy who is stuck behind his cubical living a mundane life and dreading his day. We're interacting with people, create regulars, that turn into friendships. Most days, we help them, but sometimes, they help us too.
So, although this field is frowned upon by most, it's really not a bad place to be in.
© 2019 Bridget Houcek