The Restaurant

The Restaurant
Formal Dining

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Skilled verses Unskilled Labor

Too often do people think of working in a restaurant as unskilled labor that can be performed by anyone, which is partially true, however it is not complete truth. Most people haven't taken the time to look at it from another perspective or they haven't worked in a restaurant to really understand.
Yes, it is true that anyone can work in a restaurant (high school kids, retirees, felons, college students, single mothers, drug dealers, me, etc.) and no formal education is required for most restaurants to hire someone (unlike doctors, teachers, lawyers, etc.).
No, it is not true that anyone can work in a restaurant. Some people simply cannot hack it. Many people know they just cannot interact with customers, some people cannot deal with the nonsense that goes on in the kitchen, some people are threatened by the enviornment - a restaurant has far different work place culture than that accounting firm you interned at. There are at least two people in the world: Those who can work in restaurants and those who cannot.
Furthermore, it takes someone who can work in a restaurant to put in time to learn to actually build some real skills in the kitchen or in the front-of-house:
Cook = Unskilled labor
Chef = Skilled labor
Restaurants have such high turn-over rates for reasons more than just lacking salaries, it's a select breed of people that can manage to keep their job and sanity while working in a hectic restaurant.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Time Management

In nearly every single restaurant role, from waitress to general manager, everyone needs to be a master of time management. Being able to accurately measure how long it is going to take to do something and then executing in that time or less is cruitial. In a restaurant there is typically ten things you constantly had to have done five minutes ago. There is little time for someone to methodically complete one task at a time. You must be a fantastic multi-tasker and be able to get things done as soon as possible, in as little time as possible.
As a server you need to know when to send the order for the entrees, too soon and the guests will still be working on the salad, too late and they will be waiting on you. Cooks need to know when to start the steaks or the well done burger, time everything to come out of the kitchen at the same time. The host needs to know how long before the next table is free and an average wait time. The manager needs to know all of that and when to start the schedule so employees aren't waiting on them to know when they work.
When it's slow, you can't just sit around. You need to keep busy, manage your time, and always have the appearance of cleaning something. Anything looks better than standing around. If you can stay busy - you'll go a lot further than those that loaf.