According to the United States Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 2,600,500 people in the US worked as waiters/waitresses in 2016. It is predicted that number will rise by almost 200,000 by 2026. People all over the world have experience working in restaurants, and they're better because of it. If you're one of those people I'm sure you agree. If you're not, it's time to hop on the bandwagon.
As a waitress myself, I know that serving in a restaurant is no easy task. There are days I leave the restaurant thinking I never want to go back, but when I reflect on those times I understand that those poor experiences have only made me a better, stronger, more patient and respectful person.
Just last week I was working a Wednesday morning shift. It was a shift that's typically pretty slow, but there's usually a steady lunch rush. That day, it was crazy busy! We were understaffed and the restaurant was barely set up by the time parties started walking through the doors. At one point I was the only waitress taking tables. We were slammed! I was running around like crazy thinking I can't wait to get out of this hell-hole. I was overwhelmed, anxious, tired and stressed to the max, but I survived.
It was this day at work that made me realize everyone should work at a restaurant at some point in their lives. Not only will it change the way they treat servers when they go out to eat in the future, it will teach them people skills, memorizations, efficiency and how to manage time & stress all with a smile on your face. After that shift, I thought I never wanted to set foot in the restaurant ever again, but the craziness I dealt with that day has me feeling like I could conquer anything.
If you've worked in a restaurant, in any position, I'm sure you can relate. If you've ever considered applying for a job in the industry, it's worth it. If you think that serving isn't the path for you, give it a shot. You'll be surprised.
Still not convinced? Here's a list of X things working in a restaurant taught me.
Work EXTREMELY hard for your money
Everyone works hard for there money no matter what their work is, but as a server your salary is tips. I make about $3 an hour, so if I want a good pay I have to really impress my tables. After working in a restaurant for a few years now I always tip 20%. They need it. They really do. Working hard for what you want is a life lesson we've been raised by and you won't find a better place to put it to use than a restaurant.
Patience patience patience
As a server you will deal with some very nasty people. You will serve guests who ask a million and one questions when you've got other things that need to be taken care of. You will have customers who want the most complicated dish on the menu altered just how they like it, and you will have to stand there patiently with a smile on your face until they're finished. Working in a restaurant has helped me to learn the importance of positivity, patience and a happy face.
Time management is one of the best skills that waiters and waitresses have. Taking care of multiple parties at once is no easy task. One table wants to order seven drinks while another is ready to box up their leftovers. Another table has just spilled their juice and needs napkins, and the table next to them doesn't like their food is demanding to speak to the manager. What will you do first? Which table is a top priority at the moment and how will you satisfy each party in a timely manner? Quick thinking is a great skill to have that can be applied to nearly every job.
Get your hands dirty
While it is part of the job to clean up after your guests, you'd be surprised by what it is exactly that we have to clean up. You know the cups full of sauce and a combination of every drink on the table that your child made because they were bored? Or the dirty tissues and baby wipes? You know the trash guests walk in with and leave on the table? Dirty dishes are enough, but guests are often so kind as to leave a nice little gift. Going back to the whole "work hard for your money," thing, getting messy is part of what it takes. Accepting the lows along with highs of any situation is a great skill.