Why You Should Thank the Restaurant Industry for Your Best Employees

 In Networking, Professional Development, Small Business

When I find myself thinking about my job prospects after college, my palms start to sweat — and I’m not the only one. When employers glance at my resume, they see the position of server and bartender far more than internships in my field or the few published clips I have under my belt.

So, how am I, and countless other students, supposed to advance into our respective career fields when many recruiters consider serving an unskilled profession? Well, we get the careers we desire, and are qualified for, by shedding light on the valuable transferable skills we’ve gained while serving that can be applied to a multitude of career fields.

Time Management Under Pressure

“The weeds” is a dark place no server can afford to be in.

Envision this: You see that two tables still need to be greeted, your frozen margaritas are melting at the bar and the order your high-maintenance table sent back to the kitchen is now remade sitting in the sell window—slowly dying. Meanwhile, you’re typing in another order trying to recall if they wanted a side of ranch or bleu cheese for their salad. Where do you begin?

Well, you run the margaritas, take that table’s order, run the food in the window, greet one of the two tables, grab their drinks, then greet the other table, grab their drinks and double check that the dressing you rang in for that forsaken salad is correct.

To get out of the weeds, servers not only need to know how to multitask and prioritize, but to do it under intense pressure with little time. Does this sound familiar? Journalists and content creators must meet strict deadlines, event coordinators multi-task under scrutiny from their clients and PR professionals have to make quick decisions in moments of crisis. Having to perform serving triage truly prepares restaurant workers with an impressive skill to succeed at efficiently multitasking in stressful situations.

Customer Relations

One important element to running a successful restaurant is securing a strong group of recurring customers. These regular customers means consistent sales, and they are proof that either the food, the service, or both are good enough to keep coming back.

A successful server will anticipate a customer’s needs, wants and worries to ensure they feel well taken care of. Servers must be excellent communicators, deal with an array of personalities and foster relationships with regulars. It is a server’s job to be friendly, courteous and attentive enough to remember these customers in the future. This, in turn, builds trust over time and helps establish positive customer relationships. Often, the key to a pleasant dining experience is the server.

Account managers and executives in communications roles are often tasked with similar responsibilities in regard to satisfying client needs. Hiring someone with a service industry background often means you’re gaining an employee with a strong ability to maintain positive client relationships. They are used to handling grievances and complaints, and they can typically transform tense moments with clients into positive experiences.

Commission-based Sales Experience  

Most servers are financially and intrinsically motivated people. Servers have a drive to perform at a high level in hopes of receiving a generous tip, meaning they are used to working harder and longer for a larger commission.

Making great tips is just another form of earning a commission. For servers, your product is the food and drinks on the menu. While higher sales don’t necessarily lead to a larger tip percentage, it does improve your chances and makes your bosses happy, which is why it’s important to upsell.

For example, if a guest wants a Blue Moon, I would suggest the Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy because it is more expensive. In addition to equating to better sales for me, my suggestion simultaneously shows I’m knowledgeable about the menu and the guest’s desire for a citrusy beer. A position in sales requires the same skill set.

An eye for detail goes a long way in sales, regardless of the industry. Ensuring my section is clean and tidy, the garnish is correct for the drink and the presentation of my food is beautiful are all significant details to consider. Nobody wants to sit in view of dirty tables and poor presentation.

All of these seemingly insignificant details combine to enhance the overall experience a guest has while sitting in a particular server’s section. On a macro level, a pristine section makes the restaurant look good; however, on a micro level, it is a direct reflection of the server’s work ethic and attention to detail.

Success in earning sales commissions is  all about creating the perfect environment to help close the sale— a skill servers have mastered.

A background in the restaurant industry equips servers with priceless skills that make them employable in many industries. Personally, I utilize my transferable skills every day here at Fiore Communications.

My teamwork from the floor of the restaurant seamlessly prepared me for a content marketing position in which I am collaborating with co-workers on multiple projects on a daily basis. My attention to detail shines through in my blog posts, where I wouldn’t even think of using an Oxford comma. My time-management skills are employed on Friday mornings when newsletters must be sent and social media posts scheduled.

Applicants with serving industry experience are your hidden gems; your secret weapon. Now, toss out those aprons and see what they can do.

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