10 Lessons From the Restaurant Industry

Day Seven

  1. If you want a crash course in sales, self-promotion, memorization, organization and customer service, find a job as a server or bartender. 
  2. The customer is NOT alway right. However, when you make them feel heard and understood they usually feel as if the problem is solved. Listening will become one of your best assets.  
  3. Stress only spreads; if you learn how to deal with your own panic, you will be vastly more successful. 
  4. Situations can, and usually will get worse. When there is glass in the ice, the drink rush just hit, your computers are down and then the dishwasher breaks you learn rather quickly how to improvise with what you’ve got. Learn how to roll with the punches. 
  5. Be as honest as possible. Customers can tell if you are lying to them and it is the quickest way put a sour taste in their mouth. With this said, you can always steer them in certain directions while remaining honest. 
  6. Make friends with the kitchen staff. You can translate this into any job you have. Try and get to know people who work in various areas of the company. When you have everyone, from the dish guys to the managers, on your side, it’s hard to fail no matter how much shit is hitting the fan. It will also mean you have vastly more knowledge about what you are selling. I know a good server when they don’t hesitate to answer questions about the menu intelligently and in-depth. 
  7. The job of a server or bartender is rather simple: deliver what someone has asked for. Going out of your way to make the experience extra, will make you stand out. Doing this will also make you the person people come back to see. I gauge my own success, not on tips, but rather on how many people requested to sit in my section.
  8. Your feelings DO NOT MATTER the minute you start your shift. In fact, they usually only hinder you from succeeding. 
  9. I live in a town of Trustifarians which drives this point home but never assume someone does or doesn’t have money. I have served people who seemed a little worse for wear and found out they are actually incredibly successful business owners. 
  10. Take care of your feet. I’ve watched too many servers be so hard on them and it will bite you later in life. If you have a job that you spend a considerable amount of time on your feet, give them some love. I usually soaked mine in some hot water after shifts and get them elevated for a little while.