Everyone goes out to eat, whether to a local McDonald’s or to Morton’s Steakhouse. We all do it, no matter if it is once a month or every single night. The point is though, that restaurant people understand the nuances of going out to eat, the stresses of a busy kitchen, the ridiculous nature of some guests and the challenges of working as a team. In my two years as an employee at a quite busy, higher end restaurant, I have learned all sorts of lessons which cannot be taught in any classroom by any teacher, but can only be taught in the real world through experience.
As someone who entered the food industry at 16, I learned how these businesses work; as a result of it, I am a more critical and particular diner myself, but comprehend the challenges that others in the industry have, and thus tip very high, as well as not act as a horrid guest at my table. I do not lollygag at my table; it is necessary for servers to turn their tables if they have any hope of making any money. I make myself loud and clear, ask exactly what is in what I order, and am my own biggest food advocate.
Likewise, being a teenager in a restaurant is one of the greatest and most impactful experiences in one’s life. I work with adults, who have had all sorts of life stories. I work with cooks, where I practice my spanish, and learn about a totally different culture. Lastly, I interact with guests and have to work with people who are rude, ungrateful and not always the brightest lightbulbs in the package. The interaction with all of these groups of people have prepared me fully for my college life and in the future more than any classroom ever could have.
Those who have worked in restaurants are like a cult; they act different at restaurants and appreciate serving those who are similar to them and understand their hard work. Next time you feel the need to leave less than 18% to your server, actually think about how hard they are working for you and what they have to deal with in their job. Round up, leave an extra good tip for superb service, and don’t be a jerk, because although it is our job to serve you, we aren’t your servants. Sorry to break the news to the rude people of the world. Walk a day in someone else’s shoes; you will learn a lot, and change your own behavior in places you go.