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Why It Sucks to Work at a Restaurant: Chapter 1 For Free!

Updated on April 17, 2013
It's real, and it's spectacular.
It's real, and it's spectacular. | Source

Chapter 1

The Restaurant Business

Whether you are a server, a cook, a host, a manager, or a bartender, the restaurant business is very stressful. You have to constantly deal with the needs and wants of internal and external guests. You have your dining customer, your boss, your co-workers, your delivery people, your repair people, and so on. You could find yourself dealing with an unhappy customer, an angry boss, a bitchy co-worker, a late delivery, and broken equipment all on one shift. So why does one work in the restaurant business?

It is very easy to get a job in the restaurant industry. Turnover at restaurants is usually high, leading to jobs always being available. Anyone with a good smile and attitude can get a server job. Looking a little rough around the edges? You can be a cook. Are you a gorgeous female? How does hosting sound? Most people get a job in the restaurant business to fill the void in your wallet. Sadly, most get stuck in a job they considered temporary.

My first job was at a restaurant in 1993 at a place called Tom Wahl’s in Avon, NY. I worked there from age fourteen until I turned sixteen. I had no clue about the industry, or what I was even doing. Luckily, this place had managers that cared and helped young kids. I didn’t know how to deal with an angry customer. There were probably times I didn’t even know that one was upset. This job introduced me to serving food and that was about it. I was too immature to understand. I had to fill the void in my wallet to buy Sega Genesis games. The food, by the way, is phenomenal. If you ever find yourself in upstate NY, stop at Tom Wahl’s.

I left the food service industry until 2004 when once again I found myself trying to fill a void in my wallet. This time it was to pay rent and bills (and buy PlayStation 2 games.) This temporary job led me to nine more years in restaurants, climbing the ladder from server to General Manager. So why is it so hard to get out of this business?

Familiarity at a job keeps you stable. You do what you know how to do. Serving people comes naturally. When one restaurant doesn’t work out, the easiest thing to do is go to the one next door. It’s called following the path of least resistance. All you have to do is learn a new menu because the basics are the same. You may also have former coworkers who took this path and string you along. Besides, it is hard to switch industries when all your resume has on it is restaurants.

If you have never worked a day in a restaurant in your entire life, then I hope this book is very educational for you. If you are a rude customer, then I hope this book changes your outlook. If you currently work in a restaurant and despise your job, I hope this book motivates you to follow whatever dream you had in the first place when you took your “temporary job.”

“Working in restaurants sucks because of poor wages, moody customers, and over demanding superiors. If the C.E.O. was more concerned with customer service than the bottom line, maybe the business would be able to show that they are actually more concerned with the customer than the bottom line.”

- Robert Evans, former sub maker

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