The 4 biggest myths about working in a restaurant
There are many popular myths about working in the restaurant industry—some of them good, some of them bad. For obvious reasons, the more informed you are about the reality of restaurant work, the better off you’ll be!
Read on for the four biggest misconceptions
1. It’s not a full-time career
Because many people do pick up part-time jobs as wait staff, it’s common to think that you can’t follow a traditional career path in the restaurant industry.
But that’s definitely not true. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, many restaurant managers used to be chefs, front-of-the-house employees, and waitresses or waiters.
In fact, getting experience “in the trenches” is one of the best ways to eventually get promoted to a management role. You can also apply your experience to starting your restaurant.
2. You’ll make the most money from tips
Are you dreaming of the piles of cash you’ll make in tips? PayScale surveyed more than 15,000 restaurant workers and found $3.40 per hour in tips was the average. However, the key word is “average”: PayScale noted that this amount varied widely depending on several factors, including your location, your specific role, the type of restaurant, and even your gender.
Recent trends also suggest that tipping is coming to an end. In New York City, some restaurants have banned tips—and are paying their workers 50% more to make up for it.
3. You need to be good with customers
If you’re welcoming customers into the restaurant, taking their orders, serving their food, or tending the bar, then you’ll definitely want to possess a knack for customer service.
Yet there are tons of jobs that don’t require any face-to-face time with guests. You can work in the kitchen, bus tables, handle communication between various teams, handle hiring and training, manage public relations, oversee the bar or lounge, direct catering, and so on.
Basically, if you’re drawn to restaurants but not so much the customer side of things, you’ve got plenty of options.
4. Time is your only teacher
While it’s certainly true that you’ll learn a lot simply from being on the job, that doesn’t mean you won’t have other opportunities to learn.
A large number of restaurants will offer training programs to help you become more qualified. You can learn more about food preparation, sanitation, leadership, record-keeping, and more.
If you want to take your education into your own hands (which is never a bad idea), there are certifications and courses available online, at local colleges, and from private universities.
Furthermore, if you want to go into management right away, think about getting a degree in hospitality management.