I’ve been a waitress for just coming up a year now, and after my long winded shift the other night I got thinking about my time in waitressing and the little ups and downs. But mainly, how its much harder than some may perceive.
The amount of times I’ve heard people telling me waitressing is ‘easy money’ is ludicrous. You just take some orders, then take food and drinks, then clear them away – simple.
Of course this can depend of course on where you work whether it be location or the type of restaurant. Personally, I work in a relatively fancy place, but also a very small place with only 3 waitresses on one shift. Everywhere varies, but I think there is a general consensus of things people learn from waiting/waitressing.
As I mentioned, I work in a rather fancy, small place, run by a lovely family in a little market town. You’d think this would be the ideal place to work, and for a first job, it is. I was gently broken in to the waitress life and everything was taken at my pace, it’s chatty among colleagues and it’s like a little family. But all the same, with little staff and a small place that gets very busy very quickly, and you need to be on the ball constantly. Which, in a tight hot place, for 5 or 6 hours, is not easy. But, it has taught me a lot in so many ways, and I thought I’d share a few scenarios that most if not all waiters or waitresses experience, and what they have taught or shown me.
When working in a restaurant things won’t always go to plan, that’s just how it is. So you’ve got to think fast and work efficiently to sort said problem, and not leave the customer waiting. Whether it be something as simple as getting a drink wrong or putting something in the wrong place, you have to be able to realise and just take action.
Whether it be with a colleague, a customer, a phone call – miscommunication is almost inevitable. I’ve had to ask someone to repeat themselves 3 or 4 times merely to discover they wanted a menu, all because it was too loud or they had a strong accent or I was just having ‘one of those evenings’. Having done drama for so long, I fortunately have quite a clear voice, but we all have moments. You definitely learn to give clear face to face communication and to listen – which obviously helps you in everyday life as well!
KEEPING A HAPPY FACE
Fortunately, I’d say I’m a relatively happy person, especially around others. I don’t take any feelings out on them. So when it comes to being nice to customers, I found myself just naturally approaching with a smile and a kind demeanor. But it’s not easy to constantly maintain, especially with some. You get the rude, demanding customers who expect everything and anything they want when they want, the one who’s having a bad day, the one who is just generally blunt and unexcited, the one who just makes inappropriate comments about or towards you – and the list goes on. 98% of the time, it’s them not you. Even if you do slip up, you won’t be the reason they’re so rude towards you. But alas you are expected to look past it and carry on with a smile. I’ve known someone to nearly be reduced to tears by what someone said to her, simply because she wore braces. Some people just don’t have a filter or recognition towards others feelings. Of course this isn’t everyone, but we all get these types of people. But you grow a thick skin and a forward thinking mind and carry on, which has definitely helped in every day life.
Also, embarrassment, that burning feeling in the pit of your stomach when you drop a glass or plate or you do something wrong. These things happen, and we just have to carry on rather than dwell on them forever. Waitressing definitely gives you a strong outer shell as a person from these things.
You have a lot going on at once in these sort of situations, and there will be times when we’ve been asked to do about 4 things at once, whilst already doing something. So you learn to prioritise, from which customer to tend to first or cleaning/organising something. It does become somewhat of a second nature, but it does take a lot of trail and error to work out priorities, because they aren’t always obvious. Again, another life lesson from an ‘easy’ job.
THERE’S ONLY SO MUCH YOU CAN DO
You are expected to do so much in this sort of environment, from tending to the customers needs, to cleaning the place, to refilling stock, to picking up the phone, to polishing cutlery. And typically it can all be thrown on you at once. So although it must be done, there is only so much we can do, we are only humans, and I feel it’s just something we need to remember when doing a job like this because people can underestimate your job and just expect you to do something.
Also when having to reject a request, whether it be to move to a different table or even have a table – people aren’t happy. But that’s how it goes and alas there’s only so much you can do.
There are some things I have found and learnt in my time being a waitress. I thought this was a nice different post, and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it, whether you are or have been a waiter/waitress or you want to/are going into it!
Until next time,