A Day in The Life:
Here I go again heading into work on another Saturday night. It’s never fun knowing all of my college friends are enjoying their night out on the town or just relaxing. I walk in the restaurant to tie my apron while saying my usual “hellos” to everyone working. Come to find out I am taking a party upstairs with a table section downstairs and outside. I already know the night is going to be stressful as I tie my hair up thinking about all the sweat that will be trickling down my just completed makeup. I take a deep breath and am ready to conquer the shift because before I know it, I will have a full section and probably will not know where my head is in 3,2,1.
As the night progressed I was on a great pace, I had everything organized and most importantly, all of my guests were happy. As I am cashing out table 60 I realized I did not split their payment correctly. This means I need to go upstairs to find a manager, while going upstairs to find a manager table 61 spills their drink all over the place and table 72 is wondering where their appetizer is. What happened? Everything was going so smoothly just 10 minutes ago… This is a normal busy serving shift for about almost anyone. Experiencing nights like these are important because you learn to prioritize each issue correctly and in a timely manner.
Working in the service industry has its ups and downs constantly. Here I will tell you why you should try it for at least once in your lifetime, especially while being a college student.
Reason 1: The Cash Flow:
Obviously, the real reason that college students get jobs is for the money. But when you are a server or a bartender you can leave with anywhere from $100-300 a night. That’s some dirty money right there, especially for a broke college student. Imagine being able to work 1-2 nights a week and being content enough to pay your small bills/ fees/ bar trips and to live stress-free. Yet, you will still manage to have enough time to study and do other leisurely activities with your friends.
Reason 2: You learn etiquette for the real world:
Many people just get pushed into college right after high school not knowing how to handle adulting by themselves. Being in the serving industry really puts an emphasis on this aspect. I say this because you take great appreciation for people with manners as well as show gratitude to your guests. You also learn to appreciate other servers and workers going out into the real world. Kindness is always greatly appreciated and if passed on in the service industry people will overall have a better experience.
Working in a fast-paced environment as well as learning how to multi-task comes from my past serving experience. I mean, can you imagine having over 8 tables with each table having a different need and a different step in their dining experience all while trying to keep each and everyone happy? Sounds stressful, doesn’t it? Especially when a customer’s happiness is in your hands or so it seems, it can be scary when your money revolves around it too.
Reason 3: You learn how to work in a team:
Sometimes you will be told that your shift would be a pulling shift. Pulling as a server simply means that you would be splitting all your tips with someone else. This is done so you can work smarter and with a better pace to keep up with your night. This makes you work harder, faster, and use more teamwork. Constantly asking “Hey, do you need anything!?”, “Anything I can do for you?”, and so forth. This can create great friendships and trust as well with your co-workers. This is a skill that you can possess in the business world as well which can be really helpful for Communication Studies students.
Reason 4: FREE FOOD. YES. FREE FOOD.
What in the world is better than free food? Shift food, dead food, wrong food, it’s all for me. Shift food is when you get to try dinner specials for the evening for free! Dead food is when the food that was made is wrong and cannot be fixed. Wrong food is basically the same except many of the times it would be sent back, usually, people refrain from eating this though. Being a broke college student and leaving with a full stomach of 5-star meals is probably one of the best things to happen to us. I’m not talking about free fries or free chicken nuggets, I’m talking about pasta, burgers, chef specialties and so much more. Nothing is better than free delicious food.
Reason 5: You learn to take criticism.
Working in the service industry has taught me that people will say things to you without a filter and not have a care in the world. Sometimes by not saying anything at all and leave the nonverbal feedback of a less than 20% tip. They say nothing worse than that especially when you are constantly thinking about what you could have done wrong? Sometimes it is by getting feedback written on your receipts about how your service could have been better. What is good about this sort of critique is that you can easily learn from it and do better on the next table. You will shortly learn to brush these things off and continue to better your service for the next guest. In my experience, not all criticism is bad. There is absolutely good criticism as well. Which brings me to my next topic.
Reason 6: You build self-confidence.
Yep, that’s right, being a server has raised my self-confidence levels much higher than what they used to be. Being a girl and getting a sweet compliment on the way I look or even my personality is very pleasant. Let’s be honest, who doesn’t like a compliment? Especially when you are having an off day and someone says something that you wouldn’t see in yourself. Of course, sometimes you can get some weird inappropriate love notes and some funny ones as well like “My name is Mike, but you can call me tomorrow. (610-xxx-xxxx)”. Things like those are quite entertaining and can give you a good laugh here and there. Getting a nice comment on your professional levels or the way you communicate to make someone feel special is always a great thing to experience. Another way you can build confidence in the serving industry is dealing with problems you have never encountered before yet then experiencing them a second time and knowing exactly what to do.
So there you have it! If you haven’t had a serving job, I encourage you to go out and get one during a break, or even during the semester. Restaurants usually understand that school is your top priority so only working a few shifts here and there is acceptable to them. Don’t be afraid to tell them you want fewer hours because you will still be coming home with a decent amount of money. You don’t have much to lose but more to gain like friendships, experience, and, best of all, MONEY.
Restaurants to work at/ visit in West Chester –> http://comstudent.org/best-restaurants-in-west-chester/