Working in the food and service industry has taught me a lot only about myself, but about other people as well. Now that I've worked in this business, I know exactly how to act towards servers. Here are some things to keep in mind next time you go out to eat:
1. Please speak up!
When you are ordering please speak up a little more. It actually pretty loud behind the counter so it can be difficult to hear you. Especially during lunch rush. So if someone keeps confirming things with you, maybe try speaking up a little more.
2. Its really annoying when customers change their order after paying.
Where I work, there are combo deals for meals and such. I usually ask if they want X or Y to make a combo. A couple times they have said no, but after I check them out, they go to grab chips or something and I say: “Sir, you didn’t pay for chips.” And suddenly they decide they want three bags of chips.
So I have to void the transaction and ring it up again.
3. There are SO many dishes.
Not even exaggerating, have of the time I am working, I am cleaning dishes. Then they get used up again and I’m back to cleaning again. When you are not doing dishes or making sandwiches, you are going to be cleaning or prepping something else. You hardly rest on shift
4. You never get a break.
I have worked in offices before and was given lunch breaks and short breathers throughout the day, but in the foodservice industry that is not a part of your experience. Some restaurants will have surveillance cameras in the kitchen area to make sure employees are always active, so you end up on your feet for five hours straight.
5. You will always be hungry.
Your “lunch break” consists of making yourself some food, paying for it (at discount) with the tip money you’ve made for the day, and eating it crouched in a corner hoping customers don’t enter the store.
But rule number one of food service is: As soon as you make yourself food and begin to eat, everyone and their mother wants a sandwich.
6. Don’t expect much training.
When I first started my job, they told me the bare minimum to get by. At this point, a few weeks into the job, I still have to ask a lot of questions when certain situations come up. Though I understand this mindset to an extent, I definitely have been less effective as an employee and made more mistakes because they haven't taught me. It can be frustrating.
7. How to deal with unpleasant people
I’ve been lucky enough not to run into many of these situations, but I definitely have to make sure always wear a smile and put my best foot forward… and that can be really hard sometimes, especially when you are physically tired and there are 20 people to serve
I’ve only been working in the foodservice industry for a month now, but I can tell that my multitasking skills have improved already. Even you hearing five sandwich orders right after another, you begin to strengthen your short term memory skills as well.
9. When the count isn’t even, it’s terrifying.
If the drawer is off, or we are missing bread or something, it can be kind of scary. You definitely do not want to be the reason something is off, your paycheck it likely to suffer from it.
10. You’re always out of something. ALWAYS...
It’s crazy how fast things can run out, and then how terrible it is to have to tell a customer that we don’t have their favorite bread or favorite meat, or favorite cookie. They usually have this face which makes you feel even worse:
11. Everything is a team effort.
Even though there isn’t a lot of assigned jobs (besides the closer), there is definitely a checklist that needs to be done. Everyone does their part to make sure things are in order, cleaned, prepped, etc. If someone doesn’t pull their weight well…
12. Hours are scheduled weekly
When you get your week schedule at the beginning of that week, it becomes hard to plan anything with your family or friends. It's the worst when you show up for work and are asked to work longer than planned, and need to cancel your plans.
13. Empathy for tip/food service workers.
I have come to realize how under appreciated food service workers are. Of course I knew that it was a tough job and the pay stinks, but I definitely understand it on a more personal level now. There is a weird (but nice) sense of community amongst tip workers, even if you don’t know them, you feel a connection, and you often tip each other well.