For many people, the job of a waiter or waitress is considered one of those jobs people just fall into and do to get by until they find some kind of a “real” job. This type of mentality is bolstered by all that we hear about in movies and entertainment, about how some aspiring actor/actress or musician takes a job waiting tables until they find their big break. For college students, many may fall into it as a part-time job that makes fairly good money in tips, but again, is just a temporary situation until they find a “real” job. This type of mentality has tarnished the hospitality field in the minds of many, and for that reason the positions get filled with less than qualified applicants, and the negative cycle goes on.
However, jobs in the hospitality field are not, and should not be, stepping stone jobs to something better. Because of that mentality, as well as that practice, we do find people working in this career field that lack the traits needed to provide good hospitality. For anyone who has gone out on any regular basis, whether it was to dine out or vacationing in hotels or other resort scenarios, you have probably run into good hospitality as well as bad. The most common experience most of us run into is probably good and bad wait staff at restaurants. I have scratched my head at times wondering how the heck someone like “that” ever became a waiter/waitress. Some people just do not have the traits necessary to provide good customer service and hospitality. It makes me wonder if the hiring agent is looking for candidates with the right traits, or if they treat the position like a place to just fill with a warm body.
On the other side, there are people who have the traits and go on to a career in hospitality, and are very successful in it. For those people, providing excellent service to others is a passion that fuels them in what they do. Without that passion for helping others, the hospitality suffers, and reflects badly on the company at large. Many people get turned off from a restaurant because of the wait staff more often than due to the food. On the flip side, many people continue to go to places where the food may not be as great as elsewhere, but the staff makes the place enjoyable.
For those who have what it takes to succeed as part of the wait staff in the food service arena, here are some tips for scoping out and finding a great job:
One of the first steps you can do to figure out if a company is right for you, is to become a customer of them and see how things run. Do you find a friendly outgoing wait staff, or does everyone appear beaten down and tired all of the time? The working environment can become a little bit more evident as you visit, and can reveal frustrations that may not be something you want to step into. Is the food delivered in a timely manner, or are there signs of a poorly organized kitchen? You can have a great wait staff, but if the kitchen is lacking, guess who takes the brunt of the punishment for it from the customer.
When it comes to interviewing for the position, make sure your whole attitude exudes energy. Being part of a wait staff is demanding, and requires you to provide the same level of high energy service to the last customer of the day as you did to the first. Make sure that this becomes evident from you during the interview.
Availability is a key element to many hiring agents. Do you have reliable transportation and are you available at various times and reliable enough to be there when called upon? The more able and willing you are to be available and flexible, the better the chances of being the candidate hired.
So, what are you “waiting” for? Only the money? Or because of a people-person passion that drives you provide excellent hospitality and service?