Ever worked in a bar, restaurant, hotel or any customer facing role where your expected to tend to their every annoying little need?
Hospitality workers are the unsung heroes of nights out, weddings, work do’s or any event where the guest is going to act like a complete an utter idiot. They’re there to serve and make your night as enjoyable as possible and they do it with a huge smile on their face. However this isn’t to say they love their job. The hospitality industry is commonly voted one of the most unrewarding industries, and here’s a few reasons why…..
The unsociable and long hours
Oooo you wanted to go to that really cool awesome house party where literally everyone you know it going? Hmmm yeah don’t think so. Here’s a 14 hour shift instead with no break and you only get to eat the left overs off the cold wedding buffet. Soz.
Christmas with your family
Nahhh not for you.
New years eve in Dublin with your mates
Hahahaha, don’t be so silly! The only thing you’ll be doing when the clock strikes 12 is trying to escape the clutches of drunk party guests who think its highly appropriate to cop a feel whilst you try and balance 64 full champagne glasses on one tray.
The customer laugh
This is something you perfect in your rookie year. Guests/clients/customers will find it highly amusing to try and embarrass you in front of a whole table of people. It’s an ego thing. You’re the poor little peasant servant and they are your master. You ask what drink they’d like. They’ll make a joke. You’ll unfold their linen napkin and drape it across their lap for them and they’ll make a joke about how you obviously want to engage in sexual activity with them, because yes, I’d much rather be here, having to graze the ageing thigh of a sexist pig than having fun with my mates on a Friday night..
And alllllll the while the whole table are staring at you in fits of laughter and you have to smile sweetly. You’ll pretend like your ribs are hurting from all the laughing but really behind your gritted smile all you’re thinking is “ who let this tool out?” As soon as your back through the service door the smile is dropped and your plan to make said guest nights hell has started.
I don’t know why but when people go out and socialise they think its a free pass to act like an utter fool all at the expense of the hard working waiting on staff who are being paid minimum wage to put up with their crap.
If you work in an establishment with different departments you will be familiar with the fights, the arguments and the down right ruthless behaviour that goes on. It’s like being in rival drug cartels. No one is safe. I remember one time arguing over forks. My department needed the forks for a function, the rival department needed them for “possible” customers. The back and forth of this debate was getting heated until after 10 minutes I realised what was happening. What had I become?! I couldn’t even look at my self in the mirror. People are dying in the world and here I am arguing over a 4 pronged utensil! The industry was getting the better of me and it needed to be stopped.
It doesn’t just stop at forks. Water jugs, wine glasses, hoovers, mops even damn candle holders for Christ sake. Anything that isn’t nailed down will be stolen by a rival department. The only way to survive is to make an ally in each department. You can’t even trust your own friends at this point.
Being able to push your body to limits you thought didn’t exist
You will realise that the body can in fact run off 29 minutes sleep and one cold sausage bap on a 12 hour shift. When you start your job in hospitality you’ll think you’re entitled to your breaks because you know… its the law but hahahahahahahahaha * throws head back and slaps thigh repeatedly * ohhhh how young and naïve you are. People will not believe you when you finish a shift at 2am, are back in for 7am and the only time you sit down is on the toilet and have a little Facebook sesh with your phone that you’ve skilfully hidden in your apron. Your body will adapt to this new routine and it’s frightening how normal it becomes to eat a roast dinner at 3am after a shift and still have the energy to watch an entire series of orange is the new black.
You will become sneaky. Or as I like to call it.. proactive.
If you’ve ever been to a wedding, christening, family party within an events establishment then you have defiantly eaten food that’s been dropped on the floor. Sorry but its best to tell you now. It’s just much easier if the serving staff make a mistake (they are human after all) instead of going back into the kitchen and feeling the wrath of the chefs. We’d take advantage of the 5 seconds rule (sometimes 23 seconds.. really sorry) and just pop that bread roll back in the basket. If anything, it keeps the immune system strong, so yeah, you’re welcome.
You will come across people who will make you lose faith in humanity.
It always perplexed me the way some people thought it was appropriate to behave when out. I have no idea why, but they take on this self importance that anyone in a uniform is something that they’ve asked there butler, Jeeves, to scrape off their Christian Louboutin loafers with their coutts account card. When in fact they’ve paid £20 to come to watch a Dolly Parton tribute act. So if you could just go ahead and calm down that’d be fab. Some people also forget basic manners when they’ve been let out to socialise. If you see a member of service staff with a tray full of drinks don’t pull the drinks off them, look embarrassed when all the drinks fall to the floor and then blame the waiter. Or don’t shout ‘wheeeeyyy’ when they’ve dropped something on the floor. Shouting ‘whheeyy’ has just cemented you as ‘knobhead features on table 3’ Well done.
You will create a nickname for everyone at an event.
If you’ve ever attended an event with catering or bar then you will have been given a nickname. “old man comb over” “wotsit tan disaster” “ace Ventura quiff knob head” “should have asked for a refund boob job” Don’t be offended by this, it just makes for a much smoother operation back of house if someone on your team asks you to make a drink for said person. No hard feelings.
You’ll learn to quickly cover up mistakes or make it look like someone else did it.
You’ll set the tables up wrong. You’ll mis count the plates. You’ll accidentally pour tomato soup on the brides wedding dress or one time “my friend” accidentally gave bucks fizz to a 3 year old, mistaking it for normal orange juice. The bucks fizz wasn’t consumed and the child was fine. Adopt a casual approach and it will allllllll work out fine.
Chefs – the self proclaimed gods of the hospitality industry.
Yes their job is stressful and they have to work in insanely hot kitchens but don’t make out like you invented the wheel or anything ey?!
Anything you can do, a chef can do better. What’s worse is if you’ve just been screamed in the face by an angry guest about the food, you’ll have to walk back into the lions den and relay that information to the chef. Get ready for round 2 of screams in the face.
What ever happened to don’t shoot the messenger?! This conversation will end with the chef telling you to tell the guest to go f*ck themselves. Ok, yeah that’s exactly what I’ll do, ill walk out into a big room of people and tell them to attempt to fornicate with themselves. Problem solved hey guys!
This is where you’ll have to adopt your sympathy customer face and make up some excuse as to why the soup is over salted and end with “I’m really sorry about that”. Nice one, no tips for me tonight then.
Chefs will also have the hands of Satan himself. Maybe you can touch a plate for 3.5 seconds that’s just come out of 1000 degree oven but try walking through a room full of obstacles such as chairs and tables like you’re on an episode of frigging takeshi’s castle with guests asking you to translate the Magna Carta all whilst singeing hot gravy is pouring down the inside of your shirt arm. Then tell me that the damn plate “isn’t that hot”.
Yeah I mean, it’s not like working in A&E or being a firefighter but hospitality is a hard industry to work in. My days of waiting on are behind me (touch wood) but it taught me so much. It forces you to be a hard worker and teaches you to resist the temptation to drop kick guests when they are being particularly difficult. The nicest thing about working in this industry is working with like minded people. Yeah you might be having a crappy shift, but you’ve got people beside you who you can laugh about it with.
If you’re polite to hospitality staff, 9 times out of 10, they will go out of their way to make your night a great one. Talk to them like a piece of crap and they wont hesitate to dip the rim of your glass in cloudy ‘mystery water’ that fills the broken glass wash.
So next time you’re at an event, being waited on hand and foot on Christmas day, or celebrating new years and you experience good service, remember to tip the waiting on staff. They work hard, and let’s be honest, no one likes the fear of your food being deliberately sneezed on.
Till next time, keep it sassy XOXO