So last week I told you about how I had to do work experience to keep my Hospitality qualifications current, and how much I was dreading doing it.
I didn’t want to do it on principle (I have already worked in the industry thank you), and also because of the practical hassle of leaving work for my students and having to wait tables etc for a week.
6 days down and 1 to go and it’s not as bad as I thought. Granted I’m still not considering a career change into the hospitality industry, but there have been some good things.
Once I worked out where everything was, I could keep up in the kitchen with the chef. I know this sounds stupid, but I was wondering if I still could. I got to make some interesting things, and got a good variety of jobs (apart from half a day of vege prep – 1 box of brocolli, 3kg snowpeas and 10 kg of onions = very sore eyes). 3 days in the kitchen to stretch me was actually good.
I am now doing Food and Beverage, which is really just a fancy way of saying waitressing (or is it waitpersoning?). Surprisingly it’s not too bad either (I did try to find the cushiest place I could). The people I am working with are all kind and helpful, and humour the (34 year old) work experience kid well.
I have learnt a lot of practical skills (though I still have a way to go). I have also learnt that F&B staff have THE hardest job out. On your feet all day, balancing heavy loads of food that can easily fall off plates and on to unsuspecting diners laps (so far I have managed to avoid this). Then you have to clear tables, clean up, reset etc. There a huge time pressures during busy periods, and during the quieter times there is a lot of mindless, repetitve work (polishing glasses and cutlery etc). Don’t get me started on the people you serve; they often look straight through you, drop their food everywhere, strew everything over the table and leave a huge mess.
Working in kitchens, I had already appreciated the hard job that is F&B, but this week has taught me a new found appreciation for their hard work.
Let me encourage you: next time you go to a restaurant, be considerate of the person serving you. Do NOT change your mind about what you would like 10 minutes after placing an order (it’s too late). Avoid ordering sandwiches like Meg Ryan does in When Harry Met Sally. Acknowledge the person who is serving you – they don’t want a huge conversation, but a thank you is just good manners. An while we are at it, don’t rip your napkin into tiny pieces, or blow your nose on it before putting it on your plate. Don’t separate the salad out and stack the left over pieces in your glass. Avoid dropping food everywhere. Of course it is not possible to make no mess, but really people… have a go!
Here end-eth the rant-eth
So people, hit me with your stories of waiters, both good and bad…