Hey! It’s Alana, one of Collin’s sidekicks!
My life has been centered around the restaurant industry. From our family-owned pizzeria to me working for Chick-fil-A, each job has its benefits and life lessons.
There are certain things in life that you don’t know about until you’ve experienced them. To me, working in the food industry or a restaurant is just that. Being around people for 8-12 hours a day will teach you lessons to take with you later on in life, no matter what career route you take.
Let’s start with being a server. How hard could it be, right? Take an order, serve an order, get refills, clean the table, rinse and repeat. NOPE! It’s so much more than that. It’s your job to not only serve them but to make sure they leave with a smile on their face. You learn to bite your tongue and adapt to different dynamics of people. To the table for one, you could be the highlight of their day. You’re that total package.
With any job, you’ll see the worst and the best of people. Unfortunately, if your guests experience a mistake with their order (even though you didn’t personally cook it), they may take it out on you. You’ll learn to breathe and smile through it, quickly thinking of a resolution that will leave them fully satisfied. You’ll also learn how to multitask – and, once you become a parent, you’ll thank the lucky stars you built that multitasking skill before taking on the hardest, most amazing job ever!
You’re going to grow as a person. On your first day, you may be shy and timid, but as time goes on you’ll open up and steal the show! You’ll learn that talking to people will become easier and second nature.
Personally, working for Chick-fil-A at such a young age really helped me when it came time for me to take Public Speaking in college. When I asked a fellow restaurant employee about working in this industry and what it has taught her, she said: “It grows a sense of humility and a sense of putting other people’s needs above your own.”
You’ll learn different things each day and become the best at what you do over time. The skills you develop with this job will help you adapt and overcome a lot of situations throughout life. You won’t become a pro overnight. No one does. But every day you’ll become better and more confident.
As a customer, you’ll have a newfound respect and understanding of what it takes to prepare your meal or beverage. You’ll learn that certain things aren’t always in the control of your server, and they rely on (and live off of) tips for good customer service. If you’ve ever worked in the kitchen, you’ll see that it takes many moving parts to execute a perfect shift. You’ll also learn the perfect times to dine!
But what’s in it for me?!
Many food establishments offer great perks for being an employee. I worked for Chick-fil-A for many years, and the best part was – I never had to worry about lunch! Our operator provided a meal for every 8-hour shift you worked. This saved me so much money. Plus, we received one meal before or after our shift at 50% off. Now, to me, you can never eat too much Chick-fil-A, so I would eat there two times a day – never paying more than $5 at a time. Because our location was very involved in the community, we also received free or discounted sessions at Burn Fitness and the YMCA.
At other restaurants, a common discount I found typically meant 50% off your meal while you’re working. Also, If you love Olive Garden, you can count on $1 soup and salad when you become an employee. Papa John’s employees can get pizza as low as $4, any size. Yum!
I have a few friends who work for Starbucks. Their perks (pun intended) are great, so many get a second job just for the benefits (did somebody say FREE COFFEE?!). Starbucks Partners get Unlimited FREE drinks 30 minutes prior, during, and 30 minutes after their shift, and one free food item per shift. PLUS, they get one pound of beans or one box of Verismo pods EVERY. SINGLE. WEEK. That’s a lot of coffee, my friends!
But it’s not all about the food and drinks for the Seattle-based company. Starbucks provides amazing health benefits, even to their part-timers. You’ll receive a discount on your cell phone bill if you have AT&T, Sprint or Verizon, gym discounts, instant savings on traveling, and so much more! If you want to go back to school, Starbucks is partnered with Arizona State University and will even pay part of your tuition!
Truly, the food industry will teach you great values from efficiency, teamwork, and self-growth – and you will also save money on your food and drinks! But enough about me…
If you’ve worked in the food industry, how has it changed your life?