Here we will answer in detail what it is like to work in a restaurant. This will give a completely truthful general expectation of what an individual should expect when working at a general restaurant for the first time, and on an ongoing basis. From reading this, hopefully you will be able to decide if it is something you would want to do, or your friends or family would want to do.
There are some things that actually do carry over from restaurant to restaurant, which I have had to deal with, regardless of the type of restaraunt that I have worked at. We will start first with the most common things, explaining what working at a restaurant is like, and then go from there.
Working at a restaurant is fast paced.
The most common thing that individuals experience from just about every restaurant that they have worked at is a fast paced environment. A restaurant is so wired to be this way, that it is even carried over into times when it makes no sense really why a restaurant needs to be fast paced a certain times. It becomes like muscle memory.
This is something that I have grown to not mind at restaurants, but some restaurant superiors can kind of take it over board at times, that can make it quite annoying. For instance, being told to hurry up and sweep a floor when there is absolutely nothing else to do in the restaurant, that currently has no customers (and won’t for awhile). I have literally had one particular experience like this.
I was sweeping the floor because there was nothing to do, while a manager was standing around and talking to another employee about random stuff. The manager in charge thought that it was a great time to remind me of the fast paced environment by telling me to hurry up and sweep; while they were obviously doing nothing. I was being asked to move faster just for the sake of moving fast. Of course, this isn’t the right time to exercise the restaurant’s need to be fast paced, but this is what people that work in a restaurant have to deal with at times.
Restaurants think that employees that move quickly all the time, even when they don’t really need to sometimes, or when it doesn’t make sense to do so in certain circumstances, is a good employee that has a grasp of the fast paced environment of a restaurant. This is especially true if that employee is new.
In general, restaurants do have a reason why they are fast paced by nature, despite the true events that happened that I have just given. It is very important for the restaurant’s employees to be able to shift into a fast paced gear when it is time to make a guest’s order. The profit that a restaurant makes depends on how quickly everyone works together to make the food in this situation.
It is mainly because of having to prepare and cook the food, which increases the guests’ waiting time, that moving quickly in these circumstances matters.
Also, restaurants will require employees to move quickly during the times when a shift is either starting or ending for the day. This is because a lot of cleaning and preparation is usually done at these times. They will need to change out their employees in the middle of still cooking and serving their guests. This can make things a little hectic at times. During these times the employees will have to clean up, restock, and still be able to serve the guests, if they have any to serve. Luckily, these things aren’t done during the time when the restaurant is busy, but usually when the restaurant is the least busy.
During these times, employees are often required to sweep and clean up as fast as possible, so that the restaurant doesn’t end up in a jam, where customers could possibly swarm in. Having mop water left all over the floor, when trying to finish up mopping, isn’t ideal in the kitchen area when cooking for customers. This is one example of why restaurants adopt this fast paced mentality to begin with.
Working at a restaurant can be fairly easy to pretty stressful.
It would be telling a lie to say that every restaurant that I have worked at has been only easy or only stressful. Some jobs have been easy to the point that they only felt as if the only requirement at the restaraunt was to stay busy and do your job (and avoid boredom). On the other hand, other jobs while working at a restaurant have been very stressful.
Some jobs at a restaurant can be a breeze to do, while others can be a complete nightmare. The jobs at a restaurant can range from simply only having to take customers orders on a digital screen that does everything for you, to having to pick up heavy cases of food constantly and cleaning hard to clean large restaurant equipment. Some restaurant jobs can make a person do more than a little sweating, or they can make simple tasks really hard, because of the equipment the restaurant uses to do the work. Also, the restaurant kitchen is usually always hot.
The job that an employee has at a restaurant is variable, even on a day to day basis sometimes. It isn’t uncommon for restaurants to train their employees to know how to do multiple jobs/positions. On days when the restaurant is short staffed, employees may even have to do multiple jobs all at once.
The best restaurants to work at are the restaurants that have more than enough staff to be able to run the restaurant. Unfortunately, this isn’t what is going to happen at every restaurant all the time.
Despite some jobs at a restaurant being a little harder or physically uncomfortable, they are still pretty manageable as long as an employee is assigned to that job and nothing else. Many employees find it decent or enjoyable (for various reasons) to work various positions. Some employees don’t really like to engage the guests face to face, so they like to wash dishes for example. Others for personal reasons like to work as a cashier and engage the guests, because they don’t like working in the kitchen. However, what position an employee gets to work for the day isn’t always a choice.
If an individual wants to work at a restaurant, but doesn’t want to do certain positions when working at a restaurant, working at a restaurant may not be for them. Many restaurants love flexibility, even though the sensible ones understand that everyone has their strengths and weaknesses.
Working at a restaurant does often require a person to be flexible, willing to work, have a sense of urgency when needed, and the ability to get along with others; even if you have different beliefs or political views. Most of the things that restaurants require are common sense and reasonable most of the time. However, working at some restaurants can be a soap opera, while working for incompetent/lazy management, just like any job.
Some times the fast paced environment can make a person lose their cool, but not for individuals that have good attention to detail. Staying calm, reading the food orders on tickets first, and thinking before you act, can make the restaurant experience possibly easier and even fun.
If you are thinking that a chef will be yelling at you for every mistake you make and firing you on the spot, I will tell you now, it isn’t the typical response that most employees get at majority of restaurants in general. Most restaurants reprimand superiors that do this in their restaurant and will talk privately with employees, if it even gets somewhat close to that stage. Yelling in a restaurant does happen, but it is usually from everyone communicating in the kitchen to calmly get orders out on time. They are yelling so that they can be heard over ambient noises and far distances.