Getting a job at a restaurant is one of the best things that you can do for yourself in high school or college, especially if you get a job working as a server. A job where you can earn tips is a waaaaay better job than any other, and I can tell you that from experience. I work at a small breakfast restaurant as a server, but before that, I worked as sale associate at Old Navy and a team member at Chick Fil A. As a server, I earn more in tips in one day than I did after collecting a two-week paycheck from Old Navy and Chick Fil A. That is not even including my paycheck earnings at my current job!
I do have to mention that getting a serving job in high school can be difficult, as most restaurants will only hire servers who are eighteen years old or older (mostly so that they can handle alcohol if need be). Since I work at a breakfast restaurant, and we don’t offer any alcoholic beverages, I was able to be hired as a seventeen year old. Over half of my fellow servers are even younger than me.
However, if you take up a position as a server, you subject yourself to an incredibly stressful job. The restaurant that I work at is only open from 7am to 2pm, but even just these seven hour shifts are tiring. This is mostly because I get one half hour break, typically at the very beginning of the day when I arrive for my shift, and then I am on my feet for six and a half more hours. Not only am I on my feet, but I am constantly running around taking orders, filling drinks, sending orders back to the kitchen, running food out, and checking on all of my tables. It can get pretty hectic! Even though we are a smaller restaurant with only about 29 tables total, it is a lot of work in a day, especially if your entire section is full. For those of you have worked in a restaurant before, you know exactly what I am talking about. Serving is kind of a love-hate relationship (at least, this is the best way that I know how to describe it) because when you’re busy, you are running around stressed out like a chicken with your head cut off while still attempting to meet your customer’s needs and provide good customer service, but you also make a lot more in tips when your section is full. After almost a year of waitressing, I have decided that it is worth it to be stressed out, as long as I am rewarded in generous tips at the end of the day.
That being said, becoming a server means that you are subjected to the worst dreams imaginable. I am constantly experiencing nightmares in which I have thirty tables in my section, and every time I run back to put one order in, five more pop up. There are multiple times that I have dreamed that I entered every single order wrong and was then promptly yelled at by my customers and then fired; I have had dreams in which the kitchen is up an enormous flight of stairs from the dining room, so that it would take about ten minutes to run food out to tables (that is, if you didn’t drop it down the stairs before you made it to a table); I have had dreams where every single person that I served complained about their food and their service and just the fact that I was their waitress in general. These dreams are the more stressful than any I have ever had, and every time I wake up, I dread going into work for fear that my dreams will one day become reality (update: they haven’t).
There are multiple pros and cons to becoming a server, but all I can say is that for the most part, tips outweigh any stressors or annoyances. I am sure that I will have more work stories for you in the future, as I never know what to expect when I walk in my restaurant every weekend. You definitely meet some interesting people!
Are any of you servers, or have you worked in a restaurant? What was your experience like? Let me know…
And Don’t Forget to Make It Meghan!