One of the most common jobs held by many college students is working as a waiter or waitress. For many, serving provides a steady income for rent, bills, tuition, and any extra spending money for what little free time there is. Although, serving is a great gig for all of us twenty-somethings, the job can teach lessons that can last a lifetime. Here is what I, and probably every other waiter or waitress, have learned from serving:
1. Despite what you may think, you are not always right.
I promise you, when that old woman at table 56 is yelling to your manager about how you served her the wrong meal (even though you rung it in EXACTLY the way she ordered it, to a T), it is more than acceptable to say that you were wrong. The customer is always right, after all!
2. It is okay to make mistakes.
Find me one server who hasn't spilled their drink tray all over the service station, or one waitress who hasn't forgotten to drop their table's salad just that ONE time.
3. "Yes" is always the answer.
Whether it is your manager asking you to pick up that fourth table, or a customer asking for their 6th iced tea of the meal, the answer is ALWAYS "yes". If your tables aren't happy, you aren't doing your job correctly.
4. Eating out every night WILL cause weight gain.
How can you deny a nightly post-shift chicken parm though? From the first day of your shift, to the very last, you will never stop eating your restaurant's food. Plus, it is just too convenient not to.
5. The ends do not always equal the means.
People will tip you under 20%, and that's okay. It doesn't mean that you didn't to your job, and do not ever let it discourage you.
It's that little thing we're using when our very last table has been paid for over an hour and just will. Not. Get. Up.7. The art of multi-tasking.
Soon enough every server will learn how to refill table 1's drinks, ring in table two's order, while dropping table 3's check, all in one foul swoop.
8. People skills.
However obvious this lesson may be, every customer, fellow server, and restaurant employee deserves to be treated with respect. One of the best parts about serving is making friends along the way, whether it be the table who you hit it off with, or the wonderful people who keep the restaurant running from behind the scenes. Always be friendly to people, and people will be nice right back to you.
You better believe that we can all do 20% of almost every number right in our heads
in a matter of seconds!
10. Hard work pays off.
No matter how annoying that crying baby you had to deal with was, or the challenge of that picky woman at your last table of the night, the feeling of walking out with $200 after your four hour shift will make it all worth it. Nothing feels better than busting your butt, and being able to see your instant rewards from it.