Considered pursuing a career in restaurant management and customer service? This interview will take you through the ups and downs you can expect, what it takes to land the job, what you can expect to earn and more.
My friend invited me out for a drink one evening and upon arrival we became fast friends with the restaurant and bar's owner. Informing us that he had that very day lost a waitress, he extended the position to both of us. Although I had never wished to work a job in the restaurant industry, I felt the urge to earn a little extra cash and accepted the position.
I began my job part-time and as there were a great deal of other waitresses and bartenders and I was not heavily needed. I knew in the beginning that I was not a great waitress, nor did I feel very excited about the position. However, I found myself to be prompt with getting orders in and out of the kitchen and my customers seemed to enjoy my personality. The owner felt my job performance was excellent and regarded my personality the same as my customers. Within three weeks I found myself bumped up from part-time to full-time.
Eventually, it seemed as if the other employees were either being let go or leaving for whatever personal reasons they had. With the economy in a rut, the restaurant could handle narrowing its staff to a single waitress: me. On a scale of one to ten, with ten being the highest of course, I skyrocketed to an eleven regarding my newfound love toward the position. Prior to accepting the job, I never had imagined how much I would enjoy it. However, I found my customers quite delightful; each feeling like a newfound friend.
The owner quickly handed me a larger number of responsibilities. Besides placing and taking orders, I now took on managerial tasks such as keeping the kitchen stocked, handling supervisory tasks in the kitchen regarding cooks, meeting with special clientele, and my favorite, running the bar and all it entailed. The owner also involved me in handling the restaurant's marketing. Catering to a night crowd, he began to further my growing expertise by asking me to aid him in publicity work, as a plethora of bands enjoyed their nights performing to the bar crowd. Needless to say, I was again bumped up from my position as waitress to head waitress and bartender. Within six months of working, the owner offered me an assistant manager's position.
Although I thoroughly enjoy the position and growing with the work, it can be a great deal of stress. When waiting on customers, deadlines must constantly be met. While most customers are friendly and enjoyable to be around, there are some not quite so jovial. Another issue dealing with this position is the constant need to move. In this job there is always something to do. Customer's needs must be met while simultaneously doing kitchen work, attending the bar, checking food vendors out, etc. This is a fast-paced environment in which a lot must be accomplished.
Although an education is not needed to wait tables, a degree in business is an excellent idea when trying to climb the restaurant ladder. Having received an associate's degree, I found some of the general education courses to be very beneficial to running the restaurant itself. Surprisingly, I found my math courses to be an asset in dealing with the cash register as well as working with food vendors. Theatre courses also enable me to work well with my customers. Furthering one's education will always be a plus to any job seeker. I have also noticed that being educated and taking a great deal of required courses gave me connection points when waiting on customers -- especially at the bar.
It takes a patient person with an outgoing personality to work and aid in running a restaurant. However, this atmosphere can be very rewarding. I cannot say this was the ideal dream career, but by working hard it is easy to see how anyone can find themselves and truly enjoy this type of customer service.
By: Vanessa Price