Working in a fast food place, although not really glamorous, will/can teach you a lot. You may be thinking, "How can you compare my greasy spoon on the corner to that steakhouse down the road!" Here's how:1. Service Industry Job
Whether you are asking to super size a meal or if they want their filet medium rare we are interacting with (not customers or clients) guests. Some places will take it so far as to say friends. Every guest wants some of the same basic things including: outstanding service, quick service, quality products.
A 13 year old with a couple dollars wants to be greeted with a warm smile and a friendly 'welcome' just as much as the governer of the state. It is our job to ensure that these two and everyone else is greeted in a way that makes them feel welcome. Honestly, have you ever gone anywhere and hoped someone was a real jerk about your order and told you all about the trouble they were going to, just so you could stuff your face. NO! You want to go somewhere where "everybody knows your name," and "they're always glad you came."
Some people really don't mind waiting, some people (usually us in the hospitality industry) understand that the guy in front of them ordered 65 chicken sandwhiches and as such the kitchen is swamped, and some people just don't care about our problems. Every restaurant I have ever worked in has had some general expectations for the staff as far as the Speed Of Service (SOS) is concerned. Do many of us expect to be in and out of the drive-thru in under 60 seconds? Not usually, but when it does happen it's nice.
Soccer moms, business people, and all others generally in a rush do not want something that takes a few minutes to take several minutes, it's that simple. Everyone knows what I am talking about, just be reasonable.
No one wants to pay more than they have to for anything. People are generally aware of the quality of product they will get and we should try our best to meet that standard (however high or low it may be, or we think it is). We cannot lie about the quality of meats used and people will appreciate anything above the norm, at the same time, quality is something we may not be able to directly control. As a cook we cannot decide which bread to order, we are given bread and told to use it, BUT we can use only the bread that's not moldy, the bread that isn't smushed, or we can decide to use the bread that's fallen on the floor. The servers can ask the cooks to remake a steak if it looks burned. We have controls over the quality.
Multiple times in my career have I been asked to, "Make sure it's perfect. It's for... me, my mom, my dad, our boss, the owner, the owner's daughter, the critic, that celebrity..." Never had I ever had what we should be saying, "Make sure it's perfect. It's for some random customer I've never seen before."
Surely a successful business plan strives on these three things.
Every restaurant (within the bounds of it's authorities) are subject to the same rules. The fast food place on the corner is judged by the health inspectors (city, county, state, etc.) just as harshly as the fine dining restaurant in the country club down the road. Clean is clean, dirty is dirty. It's just that simple.
While working in the front-of-the-house of a fast food restaurant you can learn just about everything you need to know to clean the dining room, but there are some pieces of equipment that don't cross bounds. Finer restaurants may have brass to polish or actual silverware. They may have carpets that require special cleaning, etc. etc.
In the BOH you can learn to do a lot of cleaning, but you may not be exposed to a salamander or flat top grill. It just depends on your restaurant. Something nearly all restaurants have is a deep fryer of some kind, learn to clean it and filter it, but beware! I have worked over a dozen different restaurant jobs and no two fryers are the same. They may operate on the same basic principle, but still very different. Some are interconnected, some are seperate. Some have a drain, some a screw on spout. Some you just spray with hot grease, some you scrub with a green pad and a scraper. Some fryers use oil some use lard. It's a wild world for fryers out there.
There are dozens of things to compare restaurants that are seemingly different together. Just look on the bright side, you could be moving up the ladder in no time flat in this industry!