4 Reasons Why Everyone Should Work in the Restaurant Industry

Think about every time you have gone to a restaurant, both fast food and sit-down. Something each of those experiences has in common is that someone working in the restaurant industry has served you; either by taking your order at the counter, preparing your meal, showing you to your table or handing you your food through a drive-through window.

People who work in the food industry gain skills and insights that can’t be obtained elsewhere, which is why I’m a strong believer that everyone should experience working in the food industry. Here are four reasons why:

1. You learn just how awful, or how great, people can be.

Working in the restaurant industry means you see the best — and worst — of humanity. You’ve seen people stiff their server on a $300 tab after they were running around all night making sure everything was perfect. But, you’ve also seen one person take care of a 20 party out if the sheer kindness of their heart. You’ve seen one person single-handedly destroy a bathroom with absolutely no regard to the fact that actual humans have to clean up after them, and you’ve also seen someone clean up their table and stack their plates to make bussing a tiny bit easier. This teaches you a valuable life skill, which is don’t judge a book by its cover — until they reveal themselves to be truly awful people. Then judge away.

2. You learn that kindness can go a long way.

This sort of goes off of point one. Working in the restaurant industry generally means that you’re trying to ensure a pleasant and smooth dining experience for your guests, from the moment they come in the door to the second they leave. This sometimes (or all the time) means that you can get treated like your sole purpose in life is to ensure that one particular diner’s every wish is met — or, worst of all, like you’re invisible (seriously, if someone says “have a great night” as you’re leaving, take the .25 seconds to acknowledge their existence). This is when you learn that kindness and patience can go a LONG way. Even the little things, like understanding that your food is taking a little longer than everyone else’s, means more than anyone who doesn’t work in this industry can understand.

3. You learn that patience is a VIRTUE.

There are times in every single restaurant or food industry worker’s life where they want to go into the walk-in to rage scream and cry. You have to deal with customers or situations that test every single fiber of patience in your body. Whether this is a customer angry about the fact that their medium-rare steak was pink in the middle, being quadruple-sat in a matter of five seconds, the bathroom overflowing or two people camping out at a table for so long after close so you’re unable to go home. It’s situations like these that really test you and teach you just how important patience is, because it may be easier to blow up at your customer and rage-quit on the spot, but it’s more rewarding to keep your cool and lose it in the kitchen five minutes later.

4. You learn that accountability is everything.

You cannot really get anywhere in life without responsibility, which goes hand-in-hand with accountability. You learn to be responsible enough to sign up to take an extra shift, even though you've already clocked over 30 hours. You learn to make sure the kitchen hears you when you correct a ticket. You learn to hold yourself accountable for any mistakes, so that you're doing the best you possibly can at your job. Honestly, nothing teaches you responsibility like managing a five-table section while polishing silverware, running other servers' food and expediting any food in the window. 

Working in the food or restaurant industry gives you important skills that will help you later on life, in any type of career field. 

Photo credits: cover, 1, 2, 3, 4