“Why hospitality?” I hear you ask, well the answer to that is quite simple, actually I lied, it’s not so simple to those who have not done it before. In fact, even those who have done it will find themselves standing in a walk in fridge at some point asking “why am I here?” but all carry on because as it turns out, it is one of the most demanding and rewarding jobs you could have.
When I sat down to write this piece I had a lot of negatives sprang to mind and so I wrote out a pros & cons list. Why on earth would anyone want to willingly dedicate their career to serving others?
That’s when it hit me, you can learn so much from an experience within the hospitality industry from problem solving to people skills and the beauty of it is, that you’re serving food not saving lives, it’s ok to make mistakes. You learn how to think on your feet and solve problems quickly; the only consequence being your table might wait a bit longer for service or a guest might get a bit peeved, but once you’ve made that mistake and learnt from it you won’t do it again.
Then I thought, what about those really pushy rude customers, why would anyone want to work in an industry where those people pop up? Have you ever heard the saying “you can judge someone by how they treat their waiter”? It is completely true, I tend to judge my new acquaintances by this rule, just because someone is being paid to serve you doesn’t mean you should treat them any different to those guests you are dining with. It then occurred to me, in order for pushy rude customers to exist their counterpart must exist in the form of pleasant, fun and interesting people. Over the years I have met some very pushy or rude people, I’m not discounting that, but I have definitely met far more fun and interesting people, some of which I am still friends with today.
Next up and actually (would you believe it) the last on the list of cons is the unsociable hours. More often than not you will be asked to work a Friday or Saturday night, when let’s face it, we’d all rather be out with our friends enjoying a beverage and having fun. So why do it? Well my friend, the answer is clear, would you rather work when it’s busy and there is actually someone to serve or would you rather be in an empty restaurant twiddling your thumbs? Our vote goes to the former and I have to say there is a uniqueness to hospitality in that the energy you get when it’s busy is not just challenging but fun!
So yes, you have to work unsociable hours and quite a few holidays, don’t worry you do have holidays, it’s not all work and no play! And I haven’t even told you the best bit! You get to do it with your friends. I know it sounds like the cheesiest thing you’ve ever heard but you will find this team will become your family, just remember, ‘not all heroes wear capes’. Someone will pick up a shift for you when you’re not feeling well, someone will lend you their bottle opener when you’ve forgotten your one or when your ex comes in they will jump in and serve the table with just the right amount of sass that won’t get them into trouble but make it clear ‘we all hate you’ so that you don’t have to.
I can’t tell you how many of the best nights out have been on a Sunday or a Monday where we’ve ended up in a deserted bar and completely taken over. I also can’t emphasise how relaxing it is to have the middle of the week off, go shopping and not have to queue for over 20 minutes to get one top, it’s a whole new experience entirely.
So let’s round this up, you meet some unpleasant people but the pleasant people out weigh them, you sometimes work unsociable hours but not all the time and one of the pros being it’s with your friends. You get thrown in the deep end so to speak, but this can be the best way to learn, and there is a great support system within this industry.
Most importantly you learn how to be the best version of you, in my opinion everyone should work within the hospitality industry at some point in their life, you will not experience anything as personally challenging but equally rewarding in many places. In short we love hospitality and think you will too, so what are you waiting for?!