I’ve become a much better customer (and PERSON) after working in restaurants

Written: April 25, 2018

*This was written with food service workers in mind*

I remember being at In-N-Out waiting on my to-go order, there was a lady who picks up her and her son’s food, then turns around and asks me “didn’t you order before us? I would tell them you haven’t gotten your food yet!” I replied to her “Yes I did, but I know how it is to work with to-go orders so I’ll just wait.” Literally as soon as they walk away, the cashier calls up the number for my order!

Having that experience in working with to-go, as a hostess, and a waiter, I know how stressful it is when people are rushing you. Because of this, I’ve become A LOT more patient any time I go to a restaurant, and understand that orders don’t always come out in chronological order; the cooks finish based upon how big or small the order is, in addition to any possible modifications. I can also recall a few times getting something for free or upgraded with no charge, out of gratitude from the workers for not giving them a hard time. When you know better, you do better.

There have even been times where I see customers get rude with employees who are simply doing their job and I try my best to bite my tongue around the person berating said employee. My blood literally starts to boil….because I’ve been that employee who wants to keep customers happy, while also not reacting in a way that we normally would if we weren’t on the clock. YOU ALL DO KNOW THAT PEOPLE ARE ALWAYS ON THE CLOCK?! (You’d be surprised who you may run into while they’re not at work. And yes, they remember you cussing and fussing at them) Some people give you a hard time for the simple fact that they feel they can get away with it. If you “get smart”, mouthy, clap-back, or anything of that sort, you’re risking your job. It wasn’t until I was the person on the other side that I realized the BIGGEST scam in customer service is “the customer is always right”. News flash-they’re not ALWAYS right. Please believe there’s not a single restaurant that will suffer because you’re not staying and paying $20 that you can take somewhere else. The same $20 you’d probably still try and get discounted because you didn’t get everything perfect the first time.

It’s so easy to judge from the outside looking in. There have been a number of people who worked corporate jobs and decided it wasn’t worth their sanity, or they just made more money being a Server-so that’s the career path they chose. My respect for anyone who chooses to keep their job as a host, waiter, to-go cashier, manager, line cook, or any other food service worker, is thru the roof! It’s definitely not an easy job; very tiring and very stressful behind the scenes, especially when things go wrong that are out of your control. That on top of the fact that you’re dealing with people who are ruthless, demeaning, irate, and hungry all at the same time. Nevertheless, people generally go into a restaurant with a sense of entitlement and are not considerate of anyone else, whether it’s an employee or another customer. This leads to another thing working in restaurants has helped me to improve on: staying calm under pressure and being reminded not everything requires a response! Better yet, meet every stupid or snide remark with a smile, right?

Working in the food industry has opened my eyes to people from so many different walks of life! It’s also made me A LOT more defensive towards those currently in the position, against people who so readily speak down on them. For the record, not all food service workers are talentless nobodies who refuse to do anything with their lives. You have no idea which one of them is educated, working on their PhD as they keep this job as a side hustle, or that college student who needs a little extra cash to pay for books or tuition. You don’t know if one of them has a business that’s up and running and their job as a cashier is extra money to take care of them and their kids. These people (believe it or not) are full of skills, valuable connections, degrees, and ambitions you would have no knowledge of because you’re so busy turning up your nose and thinking all they know how to do is “take an order” or show you to a table, better yet that booth you’re so adamant about…

Just saying…a little respect, decency, and humility go a L O N G way.

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