Tired feet. Singed beard hair. Baffling customer allergy. When you work in restaurants, the quandaries are many… But so are the joys! Guest writer Clea Partridge discusses why she loves working in restaurants.
One particular source of satisfaction when you work in restaurants is the collective feeling of a job-well-done at the end of every service. You and your coworkers, front and back of house alike, consciously or unconsciously set a goal each evening. The goal could be as stripped down as making it to the end of the night without setting anything on fire or dousing a guest in a spilled tray of cocktails. Or it could be as lofty as working together like a finely oiled machine, fluidly functioning in unison.
Putting up a cocktail just as the server is reaching for it, handling your station confidently with a sauce pan on every burner, stepping up to the table the moment a guest thinks they want another round of drinks – these moments make a night feel as smooth as a sauce soubise. They buoy the sense that you and your coworkers are all working toward something greater together.
A good service is more than mindlessly putting food on a plate and putting a plate on a table. It’s even more than perfectly attentive customer service and decadently innovative cuisine. A good service is about YOU too! Are you having fun? Do you feel supported? Your team is a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts, but you each play a key role. You’re doing what you love and making people happy. You can’t do it alone, and who would want to? When you work in restaurants, recognizing this fact when you have a particularly snooty customer is essential. You know your teammates have your back no matter how well-done that snooty customer wants their burger.
Nailing common goals night after night forges strong bonds. You and your coworker clear a 10-top together with ballerina-like elegance and then go dancing at the bar down the street. You learn the clams on the menu come from just two hours south and the group makes a plan to go on a coastal clamming expedition. You bring in your homemade amaro for everyone to taste because you know they’re nerdy enough to be impressed that you used cinchona bark. This unity and the effortless services it provides is what restaurant folk live for. These nights create the noble feelings of camaraderie and team-work that inspire a love of the service industry so strong that we open restaurants, bars, and cafes.
Participating in and fostering a robust sense of togetherness is crucial to a restaurant’s success and luckily it is one of the most enjoyable parts of restaurant life!