Ever since I got my drivers license I've been working to pay for the ungodly amounts of gas my 2004 Honda Pilot guzzles. My best friend suggested getting a job at the restaurant she worked at and I've been in the food service industry ever since. These past four years I've had some of the best and worst days of my life at work. I've worked with some of my best friends and my least favorite people on the planet. Working at a restaurant can be a super fun and easy-going job, but it can also be hell on Earth. Here's 20 things any food service industry workers can relate to:
1. "What time do you close?"
If a customer feels the need to ask this question it's more than likely 9:55 pm on a night the restaurant closes at 10:00 pm. If you are this customer, just know that not only does the kitchen have to reopen for you but no waiter wants to get sat within the last 30 minutes before close. They have probably already finished their closing duties and no tip will make it worth it for them to stay and take care of you for another hour.
2. "Wow the lake is so low!"
Okay maybe you haven't heard this exact quote but I did every single day for two years when I worked at a restaurant on the lake in Texas during the drought. Every restaurant has something that every customer will make a comment about. And every employee has probably heard the same jokes from customers hundreds of times. Sorry, your jokes and comments aren't original and those are fake laughs.
3. "Smile big! Give more energy!"
Working in food one is expected to give high levels of energy, especially when customers are entering and leaving the restaurant. Being cursed with a bad case of resting bitch face means that I get told all the time by my bubbly managers to be happier.
4. "Have a nice day!" *silence*
No matter how nice you try to be to the customers sometimes you just get ignored. It's pretty awkward but it's always great when someone does give me the dignity of a response.
5. Not getting tips as a waiter.
This totally sucks! If you've ever stiffed a waiter I just want you to remember that they make about two dollars and hour so tips are their lively hood. As a general rule of thumb, I tip waiters twenty percent, honestly anything less is pretty stingy.
6. Not getting tips as a cashier.
I don't know how it is at Five Guys and Chipotle but to go cashiers at restaurants, in general, do not make minimum wage. While they do make more than waiters they also rely on tips to to make their money. Unfortunately, most people don't seem to know this; literally a dollar would be sufficient. Please and thank you!
7. "Can we have a booth?"
If you've never worked in a restaurant let me tell you a secret. Each server has sections and unfortunately some are just better than others, some sections are only made up of booths and some are solely tables. So while yes I will give you that booth just know it means one server will probably get double sat and have to work twice as hard to accommodate you while another will sit around doing nothing because no one can bare to sit at a table.
8. Getting an order wrong.
This is by far one of the most embarrassing things that can happen to a waiter or cashier. Even if the customer said the wrong thing it's always the employees fault. Sometimes customers are understanding but mostly you'll just get verbal abuse and a bad tip.
9. "I called earlier and you said there was no wait."
Well yeah thirty minutes ago when you probably called I'm sure we weren't on a wait, but things change sorry I can't predict the future.
10. "Can we get a reservation/ call ahead?"
First off a call ahead is not a reservation, it just puts you higher on the list if there's a wait (to be honest it's not helpful). Second, out of the three different restaurants I worked at only one took reservations, one took call aheads (only for large parties), and the other was a first come first serve restaurant. Though it never hurts to call and ask, if you call in the middle of the dinner rush trying to put your name on the list you're going to be out of luck because no restaurant I've worked at would give you a reservation when people are lining up out the door.
11. The aching feet.
Anyone who has had to stand for eleven hours working a double shift knows this feeling, and that feeling is pain.
12. Non-slip shoes.
Non-slip shoes are by far the ugliest shoes in the entire world but they've saved me from falling on my booty on more than one occasion.
13. Cleaning the bathrooms.
I've had the unfortunate pleasure of cleaning many bathrooms in my day but none compare to the bar bathrooms at my first job. I have stories that would make people never step foot in another public bathroom and let's leave it at that.
14. Dealing with your druggy co-workers.
"We do random drug tests." Everywhere I've worked I've heard this phrase. but no matter how visibly high some of my co-workers get this has never been more than an empty threat.
15. The career waiters.
While most people in the food industry are just there to pay the bills till they graduate college, in every restaurant you'll find those waiters who just got the job and never left.
16. "Will you close for me?"
If you want someone to close for you then you only need to answer one question. "How much?"
17. Getting yelled at by a waiter.
Most of the waiters I work with are super outgoing and have a great time doing their job. But, every restaurant has that one waiter who thinks they're everyone's boss. News flash you're not the hostesses boss, not the bussers boss, and certainly not your fellow waiters boss.
18. That one customer that ruins your whole day.
There is always that one customer who thinks their happiness is more important than every other customer and employee in the entire restaurant. On more than one occasion this customer has ruined my entire day. This is the customer that complains to the manager because the hostess wouldn't seat them at a table that is too small for their party, or because the food they ordered was too spicy (seriously this is a Mexican restaurant).
19. That one customer that makes it all better.
This customer makes your day the second they walk in. They're quick with a joke, always making conversation and they're probably the regular every waiter wants in their section. These are the people I love to see and they make my job worth it because I love to help them and make sure they have a good experience.
20. Having a blast with your co-workers!
People who work in the restaurant industry can be some of the funniest and most interesting characters you'll ever meet. Though things can sometimes be tough, you're all going through it together and at the end of the day all you can do is laugh it off.
Don't get me wrong working in restaurants has been great, but like any job it has its downfalls. If there's anything I've learned in my four years of servitude to the food industry, it's that your experiences are what you take away from them. Oh, and always be on your waiter's good side. Always.