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Hello I'm Michael, I'd like to thank you for taking the time to take a look at the site. Together maybe we can offer guests better service which will make them happier and put a little more money in your pocket.
I've been in the industry on and off for over two decades. In that time I have come to learn a few things about working in a restaurant. Some good, some bad, but all were learning experiences which allowed me personal growth. After all, we're all on the same path in life. In addition I have taken the job of food server and examined it. I've broken it down into it's parts and figured out the how and why of doing what we do. I've worked all positions in the restaurant and know how they all fit together.
I started as a dishwasher. I'll admit it's not the most glorious position but just like every other job in the restaurant, dishwashers are a part of the team and without them the entire process would grind to a halt. It's a starting position and a good way to get your foot in the door if you have not held a job yet. It's a tough job, hot job which involves a lot of hard work. You should show your gratitude to those "in the dish pit" as without them you would not have a job!
Prep cooking was my next step along the way. Preparing the food for the day is not as simple as it may seem. You have management wanting more work to be done in less hours all the while wanting the quality of the work to increase. This caused me to assess each step of every process along the way, allowing me to work smarter not harder. You have cooks wanting their job made easier by what you're doing. You have servers wanting you to do their work just because they don't want to do it. Juggling those wants makes for an interesting day to say the least. I was responsible for taking inventory in the kitchen and putting away orders on "truck day". All in all prep cooking was a great experience for me. I learned a lot about the restaurant and how things work.
My next position on my way to serving was line cooking. Now we're talking about a hot job with the potential for a great deal of stress! You have to be an organized person as well as the ability to prioritize without thinking about doing it to succeed as a line cook. You have to multi-task well to be behind the line and make things work as they should. It is my opinion that every server should be forced to work three days as a cook before being allowed to serve tables. They would then understand more fully how things work back there and how to support their cooks rather than hinder them. All I can say to servers who have never cooked in a restaurant is respect your cooks and understand they are in a stressful position. If they snap at you, it could be that you were unrealistic with your wants or it could be the other servers are getting on their nerves. Either way take it with a grain of salt during the rush. Later you can ask them if you could do something to make their job easier or if it was another server. In general if you treat your cooks with respect they will do the same and it's always a good idea for a server to have the cooks as allies not enemies.
Now comes the front of the house and serving tables. I stepped into the front of the house with a bit of trepidation. I didn't know if I could handle dealing with the guests. I had heard the wait staff for years and some of the things they said while in the back of the house were shocking. I couldn't imagine people being so picky, demanding and straight up rude. As it turns out maybe some of the servers I had worked with should not have been serving tables in the first place. The guests I worked with were, all in all, very nice and quite polite. It would do servers well to stop focusing on the few who are horrible (they are out there) and instead remember most guests are very pleasant and appreciative of good service. The world is full of all kinds of people. I choose to remember the great ones and allow the memories of the others to fade away.
I've bartended and while the money was great for the work done, I wasn't too thrilled with it. I don't like being the one to serve those who over indulge. Personally I don't approve of self-medicating with alcohol and you deal with a few who use alcohol in the wrong ways. While this is my personal belief it did make it difficult to do the job. Don't get me wrong, in general, bartending was a great position and most of the people were wonderful. I however was ultimately unable to get past the "career drinkers" who presented themselves and that made it difficult to go to work. In the end I was happier to serve tables rather than bartend. I realize this is a fault of mine and it is I who was unable to deal with it, don't let my thoughts sour you on the position of bartender. You will no doubt have no trouble dealing with this small thing and make MAD money behind the bar.
While I still work in a restaurant serving tables I am also a web developer. I love serving people and truly think I will always do it. There's something great about making the experience of the guest wonderful. Having a positive impact on another is a great feeling. I was a full time magician for about six years also. Performing magic is another way to make someone's day. While serving tables isn't as glamorous as being a magician and the rush isn't as big, ultimately it's the same feeling. You made a difference in someone's life, you made a positive impression and made someone happy.
I never want to stop learning and improving. Personally and professionally. It is my opinion growth is essential to happiness. The more I learn the better I am at coping with life's ups and downs. We all change during our time on Earth. Change is the only constant in life. Don't hope to make lemonade out of lemons. This causes you to focus on the lemon. Instead simply see things as what they are, things, neither good nor bad, just things. All things can be good if you use them to better yourself. We can only hope to learn from mistakes.