If you’ve never worked a day in food service, you’re missing a major chapter under “Life Experience”. I feel that everyone should wait tables at least once in their life, just to know how challenging the job can actually be. It’s like this right of passage into adulthood that no one wants but everyone kind of needs. Anyone has who has been a server knows:
1. It teaches you the value of a dollar
When you work a salaried position, you’re getting paid the same amount whether you’ve put in a hard day’s work or spent most of the day “at the water cooler” (aka skimming Facebook). When you work in food service, you’re hustling for every dollar you earn. Work a dead shift where you only get sat twice? Well, you’re getting paid a grand total of $15 that day, which is virtually nothing after you account for taxes.
2. You learn to save your money
When you’re able to budget to the dollar for that guaranteed bi-weekly paycheck, you may be guilty of draining your bank account the closer you get to pay day. When you work in food service, you have no idea how much you’re going to make: it could be an $800 week, or it could be a $200 week (and there will be both). You get struck with the flu? Well, you can’t go to work and handle people’s food all day, meaning you’re not making any money until you’re better. So it’s up to you to save your money during the former to be prepared for the latter. That, or pull a double and work 16 hour shifts to make end’s meet (cringe).
3. You will realize it’s not as easy as it looks
Waiting tables was not my thing. Like, at all. Not only was I pretty bad at it, but I can still say that it was one of the hardest jobs I’ve had. From the rowdy twelve-top that wants to know why they haven’t gotten their mass-alcoholic-beverage-order within 3 minutes of ordering it, to the person who takes one look at their bill and asks if they can pay you in change, there are a lot of things that feel Britney-2008-breakdown-worthy.
4. You will always appreciate good wait staff and tip them accordingly
Because I was not a great waitress, I can really appreciate the people who do it and do it well. I know that you may not necessarily want to be on your feet all day with a smile plastered to your face, but you did it, you were friendly, AND you got my order right. A+ for you, you’re getting more than the socially-acceptable 20% (which I’ll tell you, not everyone even tips that).
So to my under-appreciated wait staff friends that keep the food running and the alcohol flowing, I salute you. Keep up the good work.