Anybody ever worked as a waiter/waitress?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Lacero, Oct 18, 2005.

  1. macrumors 604


    Jan 20, 2005
    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
  2. macrumors 68040


    Apr 21, 2003
    washington dc
    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
  3. macrumors 6502a


    Jun 28, 2005
    Moscow, ID (No Kremlin here!)
    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.
  4. macrumors 6502a


    Mar 3, 2004
    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.
  5. Moderator emeritus

    Jun 25, 2002
    Gone but not forgotten.
    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.
  6. macrumors 603


    Dec 19, 2002
    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. :)
  7. macrumors G4


    Jul 4, 2005
    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).
  8. macrumors 6502a


    Mar 9, 2005
    38° 12'47.72" N 85° 31'54.63" W
    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.
  9. macrumors 68020


    Nov 14, 2003
    Washington, DC
    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.
  10. macrumors 6502a


    Aug 7, 2005
    Portland, Oregon
    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 :)
  11. macrumors regular

    Feb 23, 2004
    Dublin, Ireland
    I think that the question should be "who hasn't worked as a waiter/waitress"...
  12. jsw
    Moderator emeritus


    Mar 16, 2004
    Andover, MA
    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? ;)
  13. macrumors 603


    May 26, 2004
    South Mississippi y'all, near the water!
    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
  14. macrumors 68040


    Oct 19, 2004
    Calgary, AB
    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.
  15. Lau

    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:
  16. Moderator emeritus


    May 1, 2005
    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? :eek:

    P.S. Lau, I love your 'tar! That's a sketch of you isn't it?! I love your style!!! :D
  17. macrumors 603


    Jun 25, 2002
    LaLaLand, CA
    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.
  18. Lau

    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. :eek: :D It actually looks quite like me....
  19. macrumors 68020


    Nov 14, 2003
    Washington, DC
    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.
  20. macrumors regular


    Oct 5, 2005
    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??
  21. macrumors G5


    Dec 22, 2004
    Chicago, Illinois
    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?
  22. Lau

    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:
  23. Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Apr 3, 2004
    Adelaide, Australia

    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
  24. macrumors 68000


    Jan 7, 2002
    2nd star on the right and straight till morning
    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.
  25. macrumors 6502a

    Jan 13, 2003
    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.

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