If you have never worked in food service, congratulations. You have missed out on coming home smelling like grease, rude customers and insane amounts of stress. But, you have also missed out on a chance to become a part of a different kind of family, without even knowing it.
I have hosted at two different places. First, I worked at a sports bar for a couple of months last year. I never really got the "family feel" from that place, simply because everyone looked down at me for being so young.
Now, I host at a different restaurant, and I can tell that it is a family there. Despite age differences or titles, we work together as one and support one another in whatever we are facing.
Let me break this down for you. All on one shift, we have the hosts, the servers, the line cooks and the managers. Everyone comes together to make one functioning restaurant family. Here's how it goes.
The managers are the parents.
It seems as if this should be a given, considering the fact that managers are in charge of a lot more than everyone else. They steer that ship and make sure everything is as smooth sailing as possible. So, yeah — they're the parents.
The servers are the older siblings.
Servers get tips and get more say in the kitchen when running food. They have a bunch of connections, and they always look out for those below them. But be careful, because they will ask you to clean their tables — almost like an older sibling making you do their chores.
The hosts are the younger siblings.
We're kind of like the babies of the family. We're always looked after (see above for servers). I have had servers talk to managers on my behalf when I wasn't cut at the right time, and I've had managers buy me food for doing extra help around the store. We're always taken care of.
Finally, the line cooks are the grandparents.
Just like grandparents, the line cooks are always making sure that you've eaten, and they will sometimes slip you free food if they like you. I guess you can also compare them to that aunt who shows up to Thanksgiving with four desserts. They're going to feed you, as long as you're on their good side.
Now, there are times that these distinctions are open to change. One of my managers teases me a lot, so he's more like a big brother. A server I work with is more like a "work mom" than an older sibling. The family tree is open to small adjustments based on how a person treats others and their position. But the basis still stands.
This is how the restaurant family works, at least from what I've observed.