PDA

View Full Version : Anybody ever worked as a waiter/waitress?


Lacero
Oct 18, 2005, 11:45 AM
Just wondering...

Is that even the proper term, or do we now call them food service attendants?

Personally, I've never worked in the food service industry to any capacity. Quite frankly, never worked in any sort of job where I am exposed to the public. Can't imagine I would ever want to. Most of my employment has been in graphic design, publishing and video.

However, I have a few friends who are waiters. Some say they love their jobs, ie. serving people. I guess some people derive satisfaction dealing with people to this capacity. Your thoughts? Anyone else choose this line of profession? Any out-of-work actors? :p

gwuMACaddict
Oct 18, 2005, 12:00 PM
waited tables for a week one summer... as a second job after an engineering internship... couldn't deal with the hours- ended up being 6am-midnight with both jobs. yuck.

sometimes do catering events around town, but i've cut back on that since i got my last raise :D

chucknorris
Oct 18, 2005, 12:05 PM
I'm currently working in my school's cafeteria, and I do some things which resemble waitering.

It's not that bad. Forces me to mingle with others.

OnceUGoMac
Oct 18, 2005, 12:07 PM
I was a waiter, but was terrible. I have too many things running through my head, and remembering people's orders, apparantly, wasn't one of them.

bousozoku
Oct 18, 2005, 12:09 PM
I waited tables at a pizza and pasta place where I was primarily a delivery driver. It was satisfying to be able to please the customer and introduce them to food they'd never tried. It really wasn't much different from when my parents had a party. My adoptive mum has 9 brothers and sisters so a 20 table restaurant wasn't much of a challenge. :D

If I had the money for a franchise or two, I'd really like to open a restaurant offering various companies' pizza and some home made Japanese, Italian, and Hungarian food. It would be rather unique.

OutThere
Oct 18, 2005, 12:23 PM
I worked as a Barrista (coffee maker/server in a café) over the summer. It was slightly different than being a waiter, but the basics of it being 1-Food Service 2-Dealing with people basically put it on a similar level. I came away from the summer with a couple of thoughts:

1) Absolutely everyone should work in food service for at least a small bit of their lives.
2) Absolutely no one should work in food service, as having everyone work in food service would make everyone slightly uncomfortable about what comes "from behind the counter".
3) Dealing with people as someone who serves them was one of the most valuable experiences of my life. I'm 18, and for some people that doesn't seem old enough to make espresso drinks:

*snotty voice* "Eh-ehm! When will someone capable of making the cappuccino be arriving?"

I reply, "I'm sorry, I'm the only one here for several hours, but I can make you anything on the menu."

*snotty voice* "Oh well, I'll look for another cafe. Good day."

*door slams*

It's really a unique experience. :)

Chundles
Oct 18, 2005, 12:35 PM
I've been a waiter/barista for years now - it's put me through uni.

Definitely an experience, sometimes good, sometimes bad but then, what job isn't?

I've done it in Canada and here and I very much prefer it here. Sure we don't get many tips but if you work for a restaurant my lowest wage is about $17 and hour, going up through $20/hour on Saturdays and $24 on Sundays. I feel more respected here as a Barista too - the lack of brewed coffee works wonders on people's appreciation for a well made cupppa. I hate to say it but the stuff you guys call coffee over there is pretty crap. I just never got used to going to a franchise place for coffee, I'm just so used to cafés, and the coffee over there is weak! I worked in a Starbucks and those cup sizes are huge for the amount of espresso coffee that goes in them, for example, the Grande cup has two shots of espresso in it, one - that would be the biggest coffee any café would serve ever over here and 2 - we put that amount of coffee in a cup half that size. OK, end rant and I await your tirades.

All in all, it's a great job when the location, employer and customers are good if it's only two out of three, it's not bad either (unless the employer is bad - then no amazing scenery or great customers can make it a good job).

watcher2001
Oct 18, 2005, 12:41 PM
In my past I have worked as a MGR for Pizza Hut. (Back in the late 80's when they were still full service) I pulled several shifts waiting tables when people would call in sick.. It is amazing how difficult a job it really is. There is a LOT that you have to keep on top of. Top that off with rude customers and I am amazed people still do it.

I think everyone should have to do it for at least a week, especially people who have never worked in the service industry before.

miloblithe
Oct 18, 2005, 12:42 PM
While an undergrad, I worked in a restaurant for nearly 2 years. I started as a waiter, eventually became a bartender/manager, and ultimately was offered the job of general manager. I thought about it, and quit the next day. It just wasn't what I wanted to do.

Five years later, after getting back from the Peace Corps, I waited again for a summer.

It's a facinating world and a unique culture unto itself. It's a lot of fun, and incredibly agrivating, and very tiring, and all sorts of other things. My impression of it though, is that it's a resentment-laden world divided by numerous divisions: waitstaff/barstaff/hosts, front-end/back-end, career restaurant workers/people who are doing it until they get a "real" job, and so on.

macartistkel
Oct 18, 2005, 01:18 PM
Oh I was a server at a bar for six months while I was in college (and I stayed that long just because the owners were so nice to me). I hated it though and went back to lifeguarding and teaching swimming lessons for extra money! :) However, I am a big tipper now because of the experience. Everyone always gets pissed at me cause I leave so much even if the service was bad. I am just like that though! And if I have been drinking, I am known to leave 100% tips! :p :)

Colonel Panik
Oct 18, 2005, 01:39 PM
I think that the question should be "who hasn't worked as a waiter/waitress"...

jsw
Oct 18, 2005, 01:41 PM
I think that the question should be "who hasn't worked as a waiter/waitress"...
I haven't.

But I did work the night shift stocking shelves at a grocery store, and a few times I helped drunk/tired people find food items. Does that count? ;)

iSaint
Oct 18, 2005, 02:03 PM
I worked at a local restaurant for just over a year while in college in the mid-80s. It's a pretty nice place, but is just as well suited for a family outing. We had such a blast as a group of employees. We worked hard together, and partied hard together! It forms a great support group when you hang with each other outside the workplace sometimes. It's also a great experience to work with the public. Yeah you get your pissed off people, but it was a good place so we didn't have that many screwups. I suggest anyone work in that industry for awhile at least.

The family has gone on to be very successful, even franchising one part of their family of restaurants. University Management (http://eatwithus.com)

dornoforpyros
Oct 18, 2005, 02:26 PM
First job was at McD's after that I did a few grocery stores, then I worked in a pita place/juice bar for about a year & half. It was in a fitness club so 90% of our customers were gym members that were in 2-3 times a week so I had a number of regulars that I chatted with. It was rather nice.

Lau
Oct 18, 2005, 02:58 PM
I have never worked as a waitress, mainly because I would be so terrible. I've done a load of bar work and customer service stuff though. I agree with OutThere in that everyone should work in the service industry for a while though. I think it should be like National Service - rich or poor, two years before you go to college. ;) Having done it, I don't let people walk all over me in shops or restaurants or anything, but I'm never rude or have a go about something that isn't their fault.

The closest I came was when I worked at a large cinema multiplex in Edinburgh, and the bar served 'food'. It was so disgusting - microwaved frozen parboiled pasta with microwaved sauce, microwaved nachos that never melted properly, etc. I used to pretty much run out with the food and put it on their table before they had a chance to look at it properly. Loads of people complained that the food was inedible, but somehow management didn't see that a)we were getting the rough end of angry customers and b) that getting nasty food kind of put people off ordering more.

It was just awful, and as I love cooking and making great food, just really, really embarrassing. They'd say "This food is awful" and I'd have to say "I know....". :rolleyes:

devilot
Oct 18, 2005, 03:11 PM
Never worked food retail, and don't think I ever could... I'm too big of a grouch and doubt I could tolerate angry/crazy customers.

That said, I've heard that at least in France, servers get special training and are paid quite well and that it is considered a really respectable career. Anybody know anything about this? Or is my bf spouting BS? :o

P.S. Lau, I love your 'tar! That's a sketch of you isn't it?! I love your style!!! :D

solvs
Oct 18, 2005, 03:29 PM
I was a bus boy when I was a teenager. It was ok. Gives you some perspective on what people who serve you have to go through. I work in customer service now, and I'm pretty patient, but I just gave notice, so I don't know what I'll be doing next. Probably something tech related.

Lau
Oct 18, 2005, 03:38 PM
Never worked food retail, and don't think I ever could... I'm too big of a grouch and doubt I could tolerate angry/crazy customers.

That said, I've heard that at least in France, servers get special training and are paid quite well and that it is considered a really respectable career. Anybody know anything about this? Or is my bf spouting BS? :o

P.S. Lau, I love your 'tar! That's a sketch of you isn't it?! I love your style!!! :D

Its possible. It's like in the US, being a barman is considered a good job, isn't it? With training and the like. Whereas here, it generally isn't seen as that here. With the French love of food, it's possible.

Thanks re: the 'tar. It's the picture I have on my locker at college, like a 5 year old. :o :D It actually looks quite like me....

miloblithe
Oct 18, 2005, 04:00 PM
My understanding of France is that working in a restaurant is a solid career. And yeah, the UK and US are very different in terms of bartending culture/status/wages/etc. Bartenders (can) make a lot of money in the US. But the status seems to me to be complex. It's a high-status job if you're young and it's a successful bar. But it's not so high-status if you're still doing it when you're older.

Jomoma
Oct 18, 2005, 04:01 PM
I waited tables during college, and I loved it. It's the perfect college job: set your own schedule basically, you get paid in cash and you get free food. Some weekend nights I'd bring home close to $200 in about 7 hours or so.

I teach now and still don't make as much as I could waiting tables, but the hours stink, always working during meals- the social time for most people. You'll find that most servers are close friends with their co-workers. My guess is that they work when most people socailize, so they go out late after work with other people that are in the same situation of working. Is this what other past-servers have experienced??

leekohler
Oct 18, 2005, 04:27 PM
I did it for years before I got into advertising. It really made me see people as generally nasty. I had to get out of it because I really was beginning to hate the human race. But I have to say, even after 6+ years and three promotions in the corporate world, I still made more money then. Isn't that sad?

Lau
Oct 18, 2005, 04:37 PM
My guess is that they work when most people socailize, so they go out late after work with other people that are in the same situation of working. Is this what other past-servers have experienced??

Totally. I worked in a punk bar, which involved a fair few lock-ins, followed by a trip to a late night bar. Then at the cinema, it was the biggest social thing ever. When I got promoted, and worked 9-6, I would go to the pub next door with a couple of people "for one" after work, and then suddenly all the 10pm finishers would come in "Are you still here?". Then the midnight finishers would come in. "Have you been here all night?" "Huh? Mmmmm". Then we'd all go to some vile club....Oh, and people would pop next door for a Bacardi Breezer in their 15 minute break. Classy.

Oh, and it was the most incestuous place ever. Everyone was going out with everyone else, and it would all change every week. :eek:

mad jew
Oct 18, 2005, 11:10 PM
Gives you some perspective on what people who serve you have to go through.


I couldn't agree more. I was a waiter at a pretty expensive place right up until early this year (it financed my iMac :p ). It certainly had the whole other-person's-shoes effect on me - empathy even?

Hospitality is pretty fun but I got sick of the hours. The restaurant would finish up at about 3:00AM on weekends. It's not good for the ol' sleeping pattern. Oh, and I was the only straight guy there which was fine until everyone had a few drinks and ended up playing mate-the-straight-guy. We're all friends so it was kind of in jest, but interesting nonetheless. :D

3rdpath
Oct 18, 2005, 11:46 PM
i tended bar for quite a few years and had a great time. my customers were regulars and were super nice...and super generous. sure, there were a few i would've liked to have poisoned but i think that applies to any job. my hours were good, made a boatload of money and it certainly had it's perks duting my single days...

i still make an amazing martini and margarita.

the only downside is now i always get stuck with bar duty during the family gatherings. maybe i need a tip jar? ;)

i also think everyone should do a stint in the food service industry-it might make for more reasonable customers.

erickkoch
Oct 19, 2005, 12:27 AM
I worked in a fast-food restaurant for a few years, doing everything from serving, cooking, and working the drive-through. I didn’t mind it so much except that the pay was lousy. It put me through college though.

I agree everyone should try it once. You learn a lot about how to deal with difficult people.

Applespider
Oct 19, 2005, 03:45 AM
Thankfully not for many years but yes, I have in the past.

At one point, the family owned a bistro so I worked there at weekends while at school and then worked as a floor manager in McD's when I was at University. Also worked in a bar a few times which was fun. You learn a heck of a lot about people while in any 'service' industry...

jadekitty24
Oct 19, 2005, 04:57 PM
Worked at McDonalds for a bit...that really sucked. Also worked in a few grocery stores. I enjoy making people happy, but those people who cant be made happy no matter how much you kiss their butt really drive me insane. I have the utmost respect for those in the service industry. I'm just not one of those people who can take other people's attitudes. And yes, everyone should work in that industry for a little bit. Sort of the "walk in another mans shoes" deal. I will never treat a waitress like crap for something that probably has nothing to do with them.

Nanda Devi
Oct 19, 2005, 09:32 PM
The only jobs I ever had before graduating college were in restaturants. I've probably put in a good 4 or 5 years as a server. I actually enjoyed it quite a bit, but it really depends on the place...

For instance, working for a chain sucks. Too many rules and regulations; takes all the fun out of it. If you work for a family-owned place, it's much more laid back and much more fun.

It really is a unique culture working in the restaurant business. The kitchen is usually one big drug ring, and all anyone ever does is bitch about the customers, because they really are so damn annoying!! When I eat out now, I am always extremely mindful of what I do/say so as to not piss off my server.

On the other hand, I'm also EXTREMELY critical of poor service and have no tolerance for it.

But restaurant work really can be a lot of fun. It's a very social atmosphere (again, if you work in the right kind of place).

ND

iGary
Oct 19, 2005, 09:35 PM
I've bartended/waited tables....

Then I worked 11 years of retail.

I hate people.

OutThere
Oct 19, 2005, 09:51 PM
I've bartended/waited tables....

Then I worked 11 years of retail.

I hate people.

I can't count the number of people I wanted climb over the counter and pin. :mad:

On another note, I did manage to tune people out when I needed to, but that did occasionally create some more people to hate..."Ummm, EXCUSE me, but I ordered a half-caf, mocha soy latte with three packets of splenda, and this has three in it. I can taste it. Money back please."

servingstories
Oct 31, 2005, 08:55 AM
I would like to invite everyone that is or has been a waiter, waitress, bartender, or cocktail waitress to join my new web site and post serving stories.

Tell everyone about your good, bad, and just plain weird customers and experiences.


http://www.servingstories.com (http://www.servingstories.com)

efoto
Oct 31, 2005, 10:04 AM
I would like to invite everyone that is or has been a waiter, waitress, bartender, or cocktail waitress to join my new web site and post serving stories.

Tell everyone about your good, bad, and just plain weird customers and experiences.


http://www.servingstories.com (http://www.servingstories.com)

Wow, so this does exist :eek: :p

I was an Expo for two years in HS and then I realized that I didn't get paid as well as other jobs and I had to put up with more s***, so I quit. I never was a waiter/bartender because at the time I was less than 18yrs old and they frown upon having someone else bring out all of your alcohol orders :p

wdlove
Oct 31, 2005, 11:39 AM
I've bartended/waited tables....

Then I worked 11 years of retail.

I hate people.

I've never worked as a bartender/waiter.

I really enjoy helping people, that is why nursing is a perfect fit for me. Just comes as second nature.

OutThere
Oct 31, 2005, 01:00 PM
I've never worked as a bartender/waiter.

I really enjoy helping people, that is why nursing is a perfect fit for me. Just comes as second nature.

I think the difference between waiting tables and nursing is that in waiting tables you are serving people, and the people see you as a tool, whereas in nursing they see you as someone there who will help them get better.

Honestly some people could not be more rude to waiters and bartenders, but being rude to a nurse is a different story...

PBGPowerbook
Oct 31, 2005, 01:21 PM
I'm a chef. The work is fun, the hours and money suck.

2nyRiggz
Oct 31, 2005, 03:06 PM
i did it all....i was a bus boy/waiter/cook/bartender and i sucked at all....i sucked at bartending the most cuz i drank more than i served dipping under the bar to take a shot and this was in my college dinning room.

Lovelyfull

zelmo
Oct 31, 2005, 03:27 PM
I haven't.

But I did work the night shift stocking shelves at a grocery store, and a few times I helped drunk/tired people find food items. Does that count? ;)

I worked as a stock clerk and produce guy during HS and for a few years after. The things people do when they think they can get away with it p*** me off. Buy three pounds of steamed shrimp, crack the pack open and eat while they shop, then toss the rest behind some dog food or something. You don't want to be the guy who finds that 8 hours later, believe me. I don't even want to tell you what I saw happen in the toiletries aisle one night.

Blue Velvet
Oct 31, 2005, 03:31 PM
...I don't even want to tell you what I saw happen in the toiletries aisle one night.

Oh yes you do. :)

I need cheering up tonight with a good laugh-out-loud but gross story.

zelmo
Oct 31, 2005, 03:37 PM
Oh yes you do. :)

I need cheering up tonight with a good laugh-out-loud but gross story.

OK, but you were warned.

We had this one "lady" who hung out in the neighborhood, which had several bars of the old duffer variety. She would be their friend, and she was as skanky an old bird as you can imagine. Always with the same dirty black dress, dirty black shoes, nasty fishnets, greasy black hair. Just a pathetic human being, really. And smelly!!!!! She'd come in the store, some manager would find her and kick her out. Happened all the time.
Anyway, one night I'm cutting through the meat department, which runs across the back of the store and is perpendicular to the aisles. There are a few people staring out one of the one-way mirrors, looking vaguely disgusted. I had to look.
Let's just say she was in the feminine hygiene products aisle, using one of the Summer Breeze items. Yes, in the middle of the aisle.:eek: :eek:
I took an extended break so I wouldn't be the guy called in to clean up aisle 6.

Hey, you asked.

Blue Velvet
Oct 31, 2005, 03:42 PM
...Let's just say she was in the feminine hygiene products aisle, using one of the Summer Breeze items. Yes, in the middle of the aisle.:eek: :eek:

Heh-heh. I guess she wasn't hired for future product demonstrations then.
Did any of your colleagues have the courage to get involved?

Sun Baked
Oct 31, 2005, 03:43 PM
Anybody work as both a waiter and a waitress? ;)

Of course the thought of a big hairy guy on MR's dressed as a Hooter's Girl is just a little creepy. :eek:

efoto
Oct 31, 2005, 03:49 PM
OK, but you were warned.

We had this one "lady" who hung out in the neighborhood, which had several bars of the old duffer variety. She would be their friend, and she was as skanky an old bird as you can imagine. Always with the same dirty black dress, dirty black shoes, nasty fishnets, greasy black hair. Just a pathetic human being, really. And smelly!!!!! She'd come in the store, some manager would find her and kick her out. Happened all the time.
Anyway, one night I'm cutting through the meat department, which runs across the back of the store and is perpendicular to the aisles. There are a few people staring out one of the one-way mirrors, looking vaguely disgusted. I had to look.
Let's just say she was in the feminine hygiene products aisle, using one of the Summer Breeze items. Yes, in the middle of the aisle.:eek: :eek:
I took an extended break so I wouldn't be the guy called in to clean up aisle 6.

Hey, you asked.

<======= Queezy :(

Gross, I realize that certain things are natural and that women have a lot of things to take care of that men don't....and don't care to know about in detail ;), but damn that's gross. I would hate to see that.

What actually bothers me more is that people don't say anything, they just stand their like deer in headlights and do nothing! Someone speak up, tell her to at least use it in the bathroom or better yet, pay for it first.

wdlove
Oct 31, 2005, 04:17 PM
I think the difference between waiting tables and nursing is that in waiting tables you are serving people, and the people see you as a tool, whereas in nursing they see you as someone there who will help them get better.

Honestly some people could not be more rude to waiters and bartenders, but being rude to a nurse is a different story...

I always try to be very polite to my waiter/waitress. Really haven't hada connection with a bartender.

When a person is ill, they aren't always polite at the time. In most cases when feeling better they aploigize or just say thank you which would make my day. :)

emmawu
Oct 31, 2005, 08:58 PM
Worked as a waitress and a relief short order cook in college. You couldn't pay me enough to do it again. But, you alway ate, and you always had money.

nbs2
Nov 1, 2005, 10:02 AM
Worked as something close to a waiter when I was 15. It was as Chuck E Cheese. Not at, but as. Miserable experience. Boss's name was Jeff. I quit on him b/c he was a prick. That location banked at the bank where my mom worked. After I quit, he tried to get my mom fired by claiming that he she had stolen money. Bank manager politely told him never to come back to the branch. Still makes me mad. I really hope Jeff the manager burns in hell. Other than that, the co-workers were great! We were all 15-17 and bitter. All the codes that passed from the cashiers to the cooks to the servers...we knew whose pizza to spit on and whose not to....memories....