5 MORE Skills You Get From Waiting Tables That Will Never Leave You
A few weeks ago, I talked about five indispensable skills that can be gained from waiting tables; skills that will be with you for the rest of your life just like server nightmares and the smell of fajita smoke in your hair. Today, we have five MORE skills that you will 100% learn after serving food for a living or working in a restaurant. All of them are skills you will carry with you as easily as you carry a basket of bread on a serving tray.
In most restaurants, the server don’t do anything alone. They depend on the kitchen to cook, the runner to deliver the food, the busser to clean up, and for everyone to keep an eye on each other’s table. Teamwork is always the goal, but mastering that most illusive of necessities isn’t easy. It takes some time to accept shared responsibility, but when it happens, it makes everything so much easier.
Ask a server what happened the night before and they’ll have no idea. Ask them what the family at Table 12 ordered ten minutes ago and they’ll be able to rattle off a three course meal without blinking an eye. Short-term memory is imperative in a restaurant. At any given moment, you might hear a server repeatedly mumbling to themself, “Ranch for Table 2, Diet Coke for Table 21…Ranch for Table 2, Diet Coke for Table 21…”A good short-term memory makes for better tips because if a customer requests a spoon for their dessert and they don’t get it, the tip will suffer.
Reading the Room and Body Language
Servers know you can’t judge a book by the cover, but you can judge a Karen by the haircut. Reading the body language of a customer is important because talking too much to a customer who is clearly not a people-person is only going to annoy them. On the flip side, if you can tell that a customer bases their tip on how much personal interaction happens, that server will turn into the chattiest of Cathy’s. Recognizing the signals of body language can save you a lot of time and hassle and it’s a skill that will serve you well outside the restaurant too.
On a really good Friday night shift, a server might make $200. On a dreary Monday lunch shift, they might walk out with only $25. Servers learn to save for a rainy day because when their income fluctuates more wildly than the temperature in the month of May, there is no choice. If that server works someplace where they keep a “bank” with all the cash from their customers, they can end up with hundreds of dollars in their apron that has to be managed. Being responsible for that much money makes it very simple to learn the value of a dollar.
How to Be a Considerate Person
Waiting tables might give you fallen arches, but it also gives you empathy. After experiencing firsthand how it feels to be mistreated or disrespected by fellow human beings, it’s practically impossible to go out into the world and treat others in the same way. It’s been said before, but bears repeating: if everyone waited tables for six months of their life, the world would inherently be a nicer place to live.
Honorable Mentions of Other Skills:
- The ability to eat anything in under two minutes while no one is looking.
- A level of sarcasm more sharp than a chef’s knife.
- Holding your bladder for eight hours because there just isn’t time to go pee.