10 Reasons Why Any Company Should Hire A Former Waitress

10 Reasons Why Any Company Should Hire A Former Waitress

I’ve worked as a waitress for many years already and even longer in the hospitality industry. I realized now that I’m looking into work in my field, marketing and public relations, that I’ve learned so many skills that I really can use in any workplace and which will definitely make me a better employee. I have practical knowledge from the hospitality industry and more theoretical from my studies in marketing, but these combined can make quite a combination I realized. Here’s 10 of the most important reasons why I think any company will benefit from hiring a former waitress or restaurant worker.

10 Reasons Why Any Company Should Hire A Former Waitress

1. We develop teamwork and time management skills

It’s a given that as a waiter you have to work in a team for everything to run smoothly. From when the customer enters the restaurant, orders food, eats, pays, and finally (hopefully) says “thank you” and leaves – it’s a true team effort to make it a perfect restaurant experience. You have to take orders, go get drinks from the bartender, fire the right order to the kitchen, make sure the food runner gets the right food to the right table, communicate with your fellow waiters to keep track of everything, and also remember to make your customers happy – all  at the same time and in a timely manner.

2. We learn why being generous is important

If you’ve never worked in the service industry (restaurants, cafés, hotels, catering, etc.) you might not think that the tip counts for much. In some countries you know people live off of their tip (i.e. USA), while in others it’s automatically included in the bill (i.e. France) or in some it’s just a nice extra (i.e. Finland). However it is in whatever country, you don’t care anymore, you tip anyway because you really know how much effort it takes and how hard the work is. I can promise you that you won’t miss that 2€-10€ anyway and you’ll be making the wait staffs day. Tipping actually has little to do with how much a person earns, I’ve learned that the most generous tippers are the ones that normally don’t eat out so much and the celebratory groups – not the obviously rich people, as one would imagine.

3. We learn to multitask and to be efficient

Table 5 needs more ketchup, table 7 wants to look at the menu again, remember to take the dessert order from table 19, the food for table 8 is soon ready to be brought to the table, table 28 wants to pay… There’s always a lot of things to remember and new things coming up all the time. Since a restaurant is a very fast-paced environment, you have to do things quickly – but also correctly – because you might not have time to serve one table all night nor keep correcting your errors. You learn to never go empty-handed anywhere, you clean up as you go and on slow days you do things that no one has time for during busy days. Therefore multitasking skills and efficiency is key!

4. We meet all kinds of people – both really cool and really unpleasant

In this industry it’s a given you’ll meet all sorts of people while working, both the good and the bad kinds. We become people-knowers after a while and we develop a strong gut feeling about people. We get to hear the most amazing, weird and even sad stories, have amazing or less pleasant colleagues, maybe meet celebrities, chase people who decided to run for it, listen to the inappropriate jokers, deal with super difficult clients (like the the people who are never happy, are passive aggressive or even yell at you), encounter people who just tries to get a free meal (or ANYTHING for free), deal with tired parents, listen to smarty-pant kids, enjoy giggling babies, and so on. Whoever it is, you’ll learn to handle most people with a smile and you honestly become a great problem-solver.

5. We have impeccable social skills

Since we really meet so many people – customers and colleagues – our social skills are well developed to handle all kinds of situations and people. I really believe that in this, and any, kind of job you need to be socially talented to succeed. I mean you have to be good at communicating with your colleagues, rather with a positive attitude, and you have to handle all those nice, weird, smelly, funny, aggressive, shy, unpleasant or jolly customers somehow. Sometimes you even get customers you don’t have a common language with and this can sometimes be both funny and frustrating – but take it with a smile and get those hand signs going! And sometimes you also just need to know when to hold your tongue to avoid a sticky situation…

Viking Line Amorella Sea view

Probably one of the most beautiful places to work at: the archipelago between Finland and Sweden onboard the cruise ships.

6. We have to put a smile on – even if we have a bad day

I mentioned smiling a few times already, but it really is important! Even if you had a bad day, you’re tired, had more unpleasant people to deal with than nice ones – you really need to smile and have a positive attitude. We learn to never take out our frustration on our customers, or colleagues, because it’s not their fault. The workplace becomes a happier place if everyone is at least trying to be happy and skips complaining and negativity. Otherwise learn to fake it ’til you make it!

7. We learn to work hard

Unless you’ve worked in the service industry you might think “he’s just flipping burgers – how hard can it be?“, “they’re just here looking pretty and making coffee” or “waiting is an easy job, they just take orders“, etc… You cannot be further from the truth and you’ll learn that the hard way once you’ve worked in any of the jobs in the service industry. First, we learn a lot of good skills that are a merit in any industry. Second, it’s both mentally and physically exhausting to handle people all day, standing most day and running around like a crazy person (best cardio though). Put lack of rest, a slacking colleague, and a demanding manager in the mix – then it’s not that easy anymore.

8. We learn great work ethic

You really learn how to work hard in this job. If you start slacking, the whole system might break down and you’ll be even more behind on i.e. orders than you were before, and in the end of the day you get customers who waited too long or you have to stay overtime to clean once the last customers leave. You do it not only for yourself, but for your whole team, for the managers and for the restaurant’s business itself. You also learn how to work your way up; you might start as a busser, and with hard work you might become a waiter later. If you start slacking it will be noticed very quickly and if you’re the reason someone has to work harder or longer – then you’ll be in trouble instantly.

hanko-sushi

Hanko Sushi was one of the first restaurant I ever worked in. And yes, I know how to make sushi!

9. We appreciate cleanliness and organized work spaces

A clean and organized workplace is everything when you have to be quick and efficient. Also slippery floor is a big no-no! If you have no place to put down things in between, you’ll make your work way harder. Keeping everything organized makes it easier to find things when you need them, and if you have a good system everyone knows where everything is and how things are done. It makes the workplace nicer, healthier and safer for everyone!

10. We learn the importance of good managers

If you have a good manager who makes shifts that are doable, makes sure there’s enough staff in all positions, who makes sure the work culture is healthy, is good at change management, and is generally a nice and approachable person – while still strict on work ethics, you’ll have a great time working in a restaurant. I’m sad to say that there are few people who manage to be all that, but there are some that I can honestly say are the best managers I’ve ever had so far. The worst counterpart is a manager who only thinks about money, which usually leads to less staff, crazy hours to optimise the cost of salary, gives a rats ass about how the staff is actually doing, doesn’t manage change correctly, don’t ask the staffs opinion about anything (even anonymously), which usually ends in high turnover of employees. This really doesn’t make them bad people though, they might i.e. be pressured from higher up or about the business’s financial sustainability. I do believe though that if you have a good manager and a good work atmosphere, no matter the industry, the business will also be booming.

Have you ever worked in a restaurant? What did you learn that is of use in other jobs?

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