Working at a restaurant can be an easy to step into at the entry level, but in order to impress employers, please customers and work up to positions of greater responsibility, restaurant employees need to work very hard and pay close attention to detail.
Even if you decide to maintain the same position (many people establish lifelong and very lucrative careers as cooks and servers), you'll still need to keep your eyes open and develop marketable skills that increase your value to employers. The restaurant business is in constant flux, and to find and hold onto the most rewarding positions, you'll need to keep learning and growing. Here are a few tips that can help you stay on top:
At the entry level, keep your ears open and your sleeves rolled up. Restaurants move fast, and employers value entry-level cooks and servers who can take direction and execute orders without losing stride or making mistakes. Do what you're told, do it fast, do it well and do it without complaining, and you'll make a great impression at the start.
- Don't be a squeaky wheel. Hours in this business are often distributed by seniority, so long-term staff tend to be scheduled first during the Saturday nights and busy events that bring in the highest tips. If you're willing to start out on the lowest rung and prove your willingness to support others and contribute to the team, your hours will eventually improve and so will your pay. If you gripe and quarrel too much, you may not progress as quickly.
- Pay attention to detail. When it comes to food, small decisions can have a huge impact on customer satisfaction, and one or two customer experiences can make or break the success of a business. Every plate has to be perfect. The most subtle flavor combinations and presentation details can generate positive word of mouth and build lasting customer loyalty. At the same time, small problems related to cleanliness and food conservation can alienate customers and even make them sick. If you care about the success of the business as much as your boss does, she'll notice.
- Leadership matters. Since success depends on teamwork, leadership will play a strong role in your career as you work your way up the ladder. If you have what it takes to give orders as well as receive them, and you know how to effectively manage and motivate a staff of employees, you'll help the business thrive. And as your employer grows, so will you.
- Stay flexible. If your employer decides to change the tone of the business and appeal to a new target audience, adapt. If you need to adjust your hours in order to help a struggling business get ahead, be ready. If you need to stay later than expected on a busy night, find a way to shift your own schedule and support your employer's unexpected needs.
Gain a Competitive Edge in the Restaurant Industry
The restaurant life can offer a long list of rewards and benefits, but this business also comes with its own set of unique challenges. Be ready for both, and start your future off on the right foot with a visit to LiveCareer. Get the guidance, resume help and interview tips you need to get ahead and stay ahead.