The restaurant industry is a gorgeous little vixen... one that will treat you right at times and other times she'll do you wrong. She's attractive to those outside of the industry, breaking necks as she walks by, but never more than just a pretty thing. This industry can and will chew you up and spit you out...if you let it. Some get in to it to get through school, some know nothing else, some just need a little extra cash, and some love the life style, but... for a select few, this is what they choose as a career and like any career, you will eventually want to move up on the food chain. Here are five ways to level up in the restaurant scene.
1. Be a good little soldier.
Lesson number one, you know nothing. Day one, show up, bust your ass, do the work that no one else is doing. Do it faster, do it better, and listen to the smartest person in the building (Here's a little hint, its not you. If it is, its time to move on) You will gain no respect from the crew (especially kitchen crew) by showing up douching it up like the Fonz. Follow orders, do your job right, work longer hours when they need you, and earn respect from your superiors. This is the quickest way to gain a respected voice within the restaurant.
2. Be a know it all.
Know your menu, know your cocktails, know what they TASTE like. Whether you're in the kitchen, a dishwasher, a bartender, a host, whatever! Learn the menu and the prep that goes into it. The term "know it all" should not be seen as a diss...it should be a badge of honor.
3. Stay hungry.
When trying to advance, know that there may not always be a spot to move into. Do not get discouraged. Keep on keepin' on. Keep your head down, keep working, keep perfecting your craft. There is always room to improve, you don't need a promotion to tell you you're a bad ass.
Read about your position, read about your position and how it fits into other concepts. Read about other positions. Read about the industry. Read about those you admire within the industry. Read about the business of your industry, how it fits into pop culture. Follow the rabbit holes...let your interests take you wherever they may. Knowledge is power, open up that noggin of yours and stuff as much information about the biz into it as you can.
5. Respect your craft,
Its your career, not a joke. Respect what you do. Respect the ingredients, respect the code, respect the history, and respect its future.
The restaurant industry is definitely a woman, but even the most hardened women can be swooned. Treat her with love, and she will love you back (in theory).