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Why everyone needs to work in a restaurant... [moved from General Chowhounding Topics]

This has been a topic that I have thought about for awhile, and am wondering what everyone else (restaurant workers or non) have an opinon about. I think everyone should put in a two year internship, in any type of restaurant, to truly understand the behavior on both sides. There is so much that goes on ("behind the scenes") in both points of view. Good and bad.

What is the number one "event" that we partake of? Going out to eat. The majority of diners have never worked in a restaurant, alas never really understanding the "inside" of what really goes on and how hard of a job it is. Thankfully, from what I have read, alot of you 'hounds really do understand. Yet to really bust your a** in a restaurant, comfort both front and back of house, be a problem solver in so many ways while remaining calm in extreme situations...we really do so much in so many areas. We are the ultimate major (marketing, phychologist, business, accountant, etc, etc...) rolled into one!!

I want to know what those in the industry feel towards a community that will understand all that happens (and may have been through) in a restaurant. And what those have never worked in this wonderful business think of not working in it. What knowledge have we gained or lost by our individual experiences? Is working in a restaurant beneficial to our appreciation to those who work in them?

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  1. Good point, but this could probably be said for most professions out there. My folks just retired from teaching, and they, too know what it's like to be over-worked and under appreciated. I served my way through my bachelor's and now am working on my master's. I find that sometimes I have higher expectations of my server - because I know what he/she *should* be doing. There are other times though when I find myself to be more forgiving because of my personal experience. I think you make a broader point that can be applied to most walks of life: there is much more that goes on behind the scenes that the everyday person is unaware of. When we can, we should try to think of that and consider it before jumping to any major conclusions about the individual and the profession.

    1 Reply
    1. re: enbell

      I agree. I work in the heat and air business and everyone has either heat and/or air in their house and people in general have little respect for us (I was surprised at how much people expect for nothing) and little knowledge about their systems and what servicing entails.

    2. wow... great posting... i worked my way in college as a hostess for at a great restaurant in la... i didn't want to do food service, but the place wasn't a chain, and it wasn't bad... it was actually a good place and we had clientle from bel air, beverly hills, brentwood, industry folks, etc....

      i was making a little more than minimum wage at the time and am now a "professional." i will have to say, that the hostess job was one of the most tiring jobs i had, but it was also very very insightful.

      i also did retail before and there's something about working a restaurant and really learning about behind the scenes...

      i am patient with the servers, i try to give them the benefit of the doubt, and i also make sure to communicate with my server about what my needs are (sauce on the side?). i really appreciate the servers...

      also, at the same time, i don't appreciate rough attitudes from servers, 'cause i've been on that side... and just in general, i tend to want to respect other people =)

      and i don't think people should look down on people who are in the service industry... they all worked so very hard.. and it's TIRING... =)

      1 Reply
      1. re: kinipela

        Working in a restaurant isn't in the same realm as surgeons or lawyers. Visa versa, to say the least. Every career choice has its appreciation and its critisism. But working in a restaurant is still something that I believe everyone should do for a time in their life. Just for the fact that it one of the top leading (and alluring) industries today. Kudos to everyone else out there. It all comes full-circle...

      2. No offense, and this comes from someone who has worked in a restaurant, but this is the most assenine thing I've ever heard of. You can make the same statement about any profession where one has to work hard if they want to get paid.

        1 Reply
        1. re: jpschust

          As a former resto worker and owner, I have to agree. Every job has challenges and rewards. Servers are not martyrs and line cooks are not essential to the smooth functioning of our whole society. They got into it for the money and if the work/rewards ratio isn't what they want, time to find a new job.

        2. I waited tables for years, have worked as a short order cook and as a baker/pastry chef. I agree that having been on the inside in the restaurant business does make me more sympathetic when I am eating out and I am much more likely to tip over 20% than my dinner companions.

          But - I'm not always so agreeable when I get bad service, because I know how easy it is to do it right. I can't stand it when the server doesn't apologize for a mistake! And some servers are lazy, blame everything on the kitchen and think I can't tell. Sorry, but that won't fly with me.

          Having worked front and back in the business I learned that waitstaff and cooks certainly don't appreciate each other. It's true what other posters have said - none of us realizes how hard it is for the other guy!

          One thing I try to do is give a complement to a manager when things go well (in addition to my tip). If a server is good and you tell management they reap all kinds of rewards for that - better shifts, better tables.

          1. I agree with the sentiment of this topic and also agree that it really does apply to so many jobs, situations, etc.
            For me the bottom line is that I'll never have a complete understanding of what everyone does or what situations folks are in, nor will others know all about my life, and if we'd all just give each other the benefit of the doubt, try to be empathetic and kind, it'd work out reasonably well. Golden Rule and all that. Doesn't mean we have to be doormats, we should all expect to be treated considerately, and to treat others the same way.

            I would think most adults have enough life experience to know that there's usually more than meets the eye to most anything we do. I don't have to do your job to understand that it, like so many others, can be very difficult and requires many skills. I respect you already.

            1 Reply
            1. re: xena

              <For me the bottom line is that I'll never have a complete understanding of what everyone does or what situations folks are in, nor will others know all about my life, and if we'd all just give each other the benefit of the doubt, try to be empathetic and kind, it'd work out reasonably well.>

              Love that statement!! That is the bottom line.

            2. Going beyond the resto biz, I think working in any service industry is a valuable education. It makes me crazy when I see people treat others badly, just because of what they do. For instance, how often do you see someone completely ignore the guy mowing the lawn, the maid vacuuming, the bus buy bussing... Why is it so hard to smile and nod, or at least acknowledge their presence?

              My years in the resto biz taught me to have patience, to respect everyone no matter what, to be able to talk to everyone. And I know that those years have made me extremely marketable in the fields of sales, communications, and marketing.

              2 Replies
              1. re: mojoeater

                Thank you-mojoeater-for answering my questions. This is not a topic that it meant to bash any other industry. I know that everyone else has learned valuable information to be applied to life from many different areas (and not a restaurant). Certainly chefs, butchers, and more "behind the scene" people in the business deserve much credit as well. As does anyone for that matter, whatever their business. But this is a network about food-relating to restaurants in a major way.

                I see working in a restaurant as an outlet to many things I might have never considered or tried. Wine, for instance. Years ago I thought it was vinegar, now I am going for my certification (one step of many!!) to The Court of Master Sommeliers. I also am going back to school for my MBA in marketing and advertising. Without the "on the spot" experience, or people skills learned in a restaurant, I would have thought that major would be right for me.

                1. re: mojoeater

                  The only resto biz experience I have (fast food doesn't count) is working one month at the first Kosher deli-restaurant in Minnesota. That, in itself, was an interesting experience. We tried waiting tables one night instead of having people order at the counter. It taught me I could never work as a waitress because I could never remember who ordered what (even having written it down). Waiting tables is a skill not everyone possesses.

                  Working in a group home where we were required to model good etiquette to the residents put me in the habit of saying please and thank you to everyone. Working in some form of Customer Service my whole life lets me know how hard service people work. I always thank the people that bring me my food, clear my dishes, etc. It not a hardship to me and it helps them feel appreciated. Same for other services.

                  We do create our own karma in the world (at least to some degree).

                2. Nope. Its simply not that important. Further, its not unique...many people bust their a**es all day long, harder than those that work in restaurants.

                  I've worked in restaurants in just about every role there is, as have many who post on these boards. The problem is not that people don't know how restaurants work, the problem is a lack of basic respect and politeness shown to people. In a restaurant, its more highlighted because its an area where the diner can directly effect the amount of money a server or bartender gets at the end of the transaction.

                  People shouldn't be forced to work any particular job to gain an understanding of the job....rather, they should simply be taught from childhood to respect the work others do and to try to be decent and polite to people.

                  18 Replies
                  1. re: ccbweb

                    And yet, there's an assumption -- as elucidated by enbell up there -- that servers are serving because they're not doing what they *should* be doing. I teachhave a master's and am matriculating toward a PhD, and the only way to maintain my chowish lifestyle is to serve a few days a week. It absolutely sucks when customers assume that because we're servers, it's all we're intellectually equipped to be. And that *is* a common assumption.

                    1. re: ctscorp

                      Maybe I'm different then because when a server approaches my table, I only assume that this person is working to earn a living just like me (although in a different type profession) but I make no assumptions and draw no conclusions about why somebody would choose that industry. It isn't my business and I don't care because I'm not entitled to know my servers life story. I try to not be a pain and will usually leave a 20% tip if all goes well. If not, that is a story for another thread but I don't need to work in a restaurant to know that we all deserve to be treated with respect and dignity at our jobs no matter what we are doing. It is the least we can do for each other.

                      1. re: ctscorp

                        I'm also working on a dissertation, and I've waited tables before depending on funding. Many people were always amazed when they found out I had a B.A., let alone an M.A. and was working on a Ph.D. (They didn't usually say anything, but you could see it on their faces). It was a casual, high-volume, locally-owned place, so some people wanted some friendly conversation which is the only reason the subject ever came up. And you do have to be pretty smart to be a good server, though not all smart people are good servers. You do need to have a pretty definable skill set.

                      2. re: ccbweb

                        Exactly--it's the lack of empathy, respect, overall, not just towards people in the restaurant business. Someone who is rude to a server is equally rude to a bank teller, to a police officer giving them a ticket, to a receptionist, hairdresser, etc. If anything I'm probably friendlier to a server because they have direct access to the food I'll be eating. Always be nice to those handling your food.

                        1. re: chowser

                          ctscorp and chowser you both are so right.

                        2. re: ccbweb

                          Agreed that many other professions work harder than those in a restaurant. Agreed that being taught at childhood respect and consideration are high quality traits. Forced to work any particular job...just a saying. I'm sure other professionals have that thought every now and then.

                          1. re: cocktailqueen77

                            the only "other professions" who work harder for less compensation would have to be-- farmers. maybe everyone should have to do a farm internship-- we'd certainly all know more about where our food comes from.

                            i whined about only having 5 days off one year, then realized that farmers don't get that. a great portion of doctors and lawyers dump work onto interns, nurses & secretarial staff, take a month off each year for an overseas vac. & enjoy 3 hour dinners with the mistress, while being on an expense account AND being on the clock-- i've served a lot of them.

                            it is this misplaced "professionals" vs "non-professionals" that leads to a lot of the current disrespect heaped upon restaurant personnel and working-class people as a whole-- it's just that restaurants happen to be the point of interaction.

                            1. re: soupkitten

                              Well....teachers work hard for very little. Nurses in many areas work their butts off for very little pay. And, please, lets not go disparaging the vast majority of doctors and lawyers who work hard and don't treat coworkers or employees like dirt. Of course there are some who do, but virtually all of the people I know who do those jobs work their own butts off for what they earn and take their work very seriously. My boss is a doctor, he doesn't dump work on anyone.

                              There are jerks in the world. It doesn't have to do with what they do for a living. Requiring people to work in restaurants (or in anything) won't teach them a thing if someone doesn't teach them something. Parents and/or guardians...that's the key.

                              1. re: ccbweb

                                i agree that respect needs to be taught by parents; on the other hand some people who have bad upbringings can learn to respect & value themselves and others later in life & restaurants are a good place for that-- worked for the man i married. not everybody has the cleavers as parents teaching right from wrong, nuff said.

                                my response was to the statement that other professions work harder--
                                last time i checked:
                                teachers get several months off each year, plus sabbatacles
                                the nurses unions prohibit scheduling too many 12 and 16 hour shifts during a week (my dad was a nurse by the way, & his union won a federal lawsuit against some m.d.s who had cashed in on tax dollars claiming to have done procedures on incarcerated patients that were in fact done by the nurses-- over a course of 7 years--lets just say the figure stolen had 2 commas)

                                no not all m.d.s and lawyers are dishonest, abusive or otherwise bad, yes a lot of them work very hard-- they get paid VERY well, and can and do take great, fab-o vacations-- good for them.

                                it is incorrect to make the generalization that was made with regards to other people working harder than restaurant personnel. yes, your average surgeon may work harder than your average cocktail waitress, but i suspect that isn't true when it comes to many chefs, who typically work 12-16 hour shifts 6 days a week, work on holidays so the m.d.s and lawyers can eat out with their families, and don't get those fab-o vacations. hell, they don't even have health insurance.

                                1. re: soupkitten

                                  I respect the heck out of people who work hard and people who work in restaurants are certainly many of those people. To that end, I have nothing but support to offer them and try to be a good customer.

                                  As to arguments about who works harder, especially when it comes to teachers, nurses, doctors....in my mind its a non-starter because the stakes aren't in the same universe.

                                  I love food and cooking and love to go out to eat. I love to talk about food and cooking and about going out to eat. But apart from the fact that restaurants offer a means for people to earn a living, they simply aren't as important in society as schools and hospitals and doctor's offices...or at least they shouldn't be.

                                  The parts of this discussion that touch on showing respect for others and the jobs they do is important and restaurants are a good example of where that can and should happen. But we should try to carry that respect across professions (and we'll define that as anyone who works). Who works harder isn't really revelant...we should show respect to people because they're people and we should show respect for people doing their jobs because they are people who are trying to do their jobs.

                                  1. re: ccbweb

                                    LOL! ironically i checked back with this thread to give an update on my week/ working hard-- i could tell you, but i suspect you wouldn't believe that people in restaurants work that hard, 60+ hours/ so forth. this week i've had absolutely no time to sit on my butt and look at chowhound, let's just say--

                                    only to find that now the rules have changed-- now it doesn't matter how HARD you work, it's how IMPORTANT your work is. . .

                                    i'm not trying to put down anyone's work, i just responded to the idea that people in restaurants don't work very hard-- that's just flat out not true, and i thought that it was pretty much common knowledge. i was trying to inform you that despite the contents of your plate appearing before you like magic, that many people's labor, experience, talents and attention had to be focused in order to serve you that dish-- then after you leave more people will work to clean up after you and restock everything for your next visit. elves don't come in and do the work. 12 hours on your feet in a 120 degree kitchen, with visible salt crystals on your face, chest and back-- that's nothing nice. that's HARD work. then you gotta mop the floors at the end of it.

                                    you say that you respect people who work hard in restaurants, while in the same breath saying the work of feeding people isn't really important-- it's hard to argue with your underlying point: the work of medical professionals especially is incredibly important. my dad took great pride in his service to wounded soldiers, and later in his career, to helping people deliver healthy babies. . . but to completely write off the work culinary professionals perform, you know, i don't think that's right. i think that restaurants ARE a vital part of our (and every) society's fabric, and if food wasn't important to people culturally and spiritually we'd all walk around with a drip i.v. nobody would talk about traveling and enjoying other cuisines, nobody would teach their children family recipes from the old country, nobody would spend extra money to make a loved one a special dish for a birthday or homecoming celebration. food IS important, & restaurants are a great deal more than "a means for people to earn a living," and i think anyone who's ever posted on these boards could tell you that. for example, the 250 new high school graduates that we served their first american picnic to on tuesday-- they might not ever get that meal, cooked outside in a park like that, ever again in their lives, but it will give them insight into american society as they begin their careers in this country, and i doubt they will forget what a fun day it was, outside with their classmates. it was less fun for us in front of the five foot long, 300 degree grill, of course, but we worked hard (10 hours that day, including lots of lifting and carrying thousands of pounds of equipment and food by hand) so that others could have a good time, and i for one think that it's important work to feed and serve people, allowing them time to enjoy the company & conversation of family and friends. people have a basic need to feel nourished and cared for, and that is what we strive to do.

                                    i was going to write that i don't really care whether you think that the work i do is hard, or whether it is important, or not-- i realize now that that isn't true. you say that people in restaurants don't work as hard as ____. when i disagree with that, you say that it doesn't matter who works harder, but some peoples' jobs are more important than others. you're talking about respect, but you don't seem to have much respect for the multitude of ways in which working in restaurants is different than working as a lawyer, teacher, or nurse-- i think that was the point of the thread to begin with; that and having some idea of what goes in to that dish getting on the table in front of you: all of that hard work, by so many people, to serve you and let you have a good time with your dining companions, all of that hard human work for such an unimportant plate of food.

                                    1. re: soupkitten

                                      Wow...I think you make the best point out of all the posts, and have very honest and straitforward intentions. Soupkitten-I would be honored to work with you any day of the week.

                                      1. re: soupkitten

                                        I didn't convey my thoughts very well and I apologize for the implication that people in restaurants don't work hard. Or that its not important work. I looked back at my comments, and I don't think I ever argued that people in particular jobs worked _harder_ than those in restaurants. I've done the restaurant thing full time for several years. I managed the front of the house and cooked. Did the 120 degree kitchens and the 12 or 16 hours days. I get it. I really do. I was trying to point out, generally, that there are lots of jobs that people work very hard in but end up being essentially invisible to most people in day to day life. The overall gist of this thread is right...doing one of those jobs would (ideally) help someone to understand not to let anyone end up being invisible.

                                        As I said, I have worked in restaurants and I have taught and done several other jobs. Restaurant work is hard. Period. So is teaching and so are lots of other things. Just like cooking and serving food has a lot of backround work that most people don't get, so does teaching and practicing law and being a doctor.

                                        So, soupkitten...I know what you do is blasted hard. (I sincerely do not mean that in any way other than totally honestly.) Its also important in many ways and I shouldn't have suggested otherwise. In trying to leap to the defense of people who do other work (and close friends of mine who do those jobs) I disparraged the kind of work you're doing now. I apologize.

                                        1. re: ccbweb

                                          hey no problemo ccweb-- and i'm sorry if i came off badly with regard to others' work as well--your close friends-- it was not my intention to come down on anyone while trying to make my point, though i know i can be a bit brusque when something is getting to me. sorry to Chris VR in particular--i count as family members many educators including some grade school teachers, an elementary school principal, and a professor of sculpture. they work hard, change lives, and enrich the world in a way that can't be measured-- maybe that's why teachers tend to be so underpaid!

                                          ccweb it might be dumb but i feel so much better now that it looks like we are on the same page. my apologies and best regards back at you.

                                          keep up the good work, everybody!

                                    2. re: soupkitten

                                      Most teachers, at least ones in the first 10 years of teaching, don't get the luxury of months off. Almost every teacher I know needs to find summer work (camps, SAT prep) to fill in the gaps in their absurdly low salaries.

                                      Not sure why it's necessary to make a stand on saying restaurant folks have a worse deal than anybody else. We all work hard. We're all unappreciated. We're all underpaid. That's life.

                                      1. re: Chris VR

                                        It's not all about the money. People choose their professions based on a lot of intangibles. If teachers are unhappy with their "absurdly low salaries," they can take their college degrees to the private job market and do something else. They have to be ready for the trade offs. No job is perfect. When there's a shortage of teachers, municipalities offer higher wages and benefits to attract new teachers. Basic supply and demand.

                                        Lots of chefs and restaurant owners don't make much but they do it for the love of it. Farmers love working the land and don't have much cash in their pockets. How many of us could be making more doing something that would make us unhappy?
                                        The goal is to do what you love even if you make less money or have to work harder. If you stick around and complain, you only have yourself to blame.

                                        1. re: MakingSense

                                          You'll get no argument from me. I worked for low-paying, non-profit type jobs for years. No job is perfect, as you said. Each job has its benefits and disadvantages. That's life, suck it up and accept your lot. If you don't like the hand fate has dealt you, do what you need to do to make a change in your situation.

                                  2. re: soupkitten

                                    Only in America would someone think a waiter/waitress has the second hardest job for the lowest compensation (there are military fighting in Iraq whose families are on food stamps, a job that is 24/7, too). I agree w/ all ccbweb says about respecting all professions and not demeaning any, for all the hard working people in that job. I know someone who trained as a chef, btw, and became a waiter because it paid much better. Empathy for all jobs goes a long way.

                              2. Wow, so the things mrs jfood and jfood have been trying to instill in the little jfod for the last 22 years could have been accomplished by a 2-year internship in a resto? Only kidding. Most of the hman qualities that people have mentioned in this thread are taught by parents, teachers and mentors, whether a line-chef, a religious leader or an inspirational teach in school. To state that these qualities can only be learned in a resto is, quite frankly, a slap on most other businesses and environs.

                                And no, going out to eat is NOT the number one event in jfood-land. it is background to other events that are important. Spending time with freinds and family, kicking back after a long day or week with loved ones, paying others to prep/cook/serve/clean, and most important enjoying the time away from the daily pressures of life.

                                Jfood thanks everyone who touches his life, and says hello to most people in retail stores, grocers, etc. But he has never worked in a resto and learned these traits from Mrs jfood and the little jfoods.

                                If one needs a resto environ to learn how to treat people, please take the internship. if you can learn these traits elsewhere, enjoy restos for the atmosphere and the other items listed above.

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: jfood

                                  Initially it wasn't said that life lessons can only be learned by working in a restaurant. I believe it is just a broad overview that working in this business brings about more understanding, that of which can be related to aspects later on in life. The title is wrong, I see that now. In my personal opinion, teachers deserve more credit than any other profession.

                                  I never implied that manners can only be learned by working in a rest. Just a certain appreciation towards the business that those who have worked in them acknowledge and understand. This was meant to those who have worked in a restaurant environment and what they have learned that applies to their life now (whether still in the biz or not).

                                  1. re: cocktailqueen77

                                    thx CQ77. as jfood looks back at people who changed his life there are many and working in different jobs throughout life all adds to a sense of who you are and how you treat people.

                                    Restos are a great place to learn many of these because of the constant and numerous touch points with custos. It is a very valuable lesson, just not a life's requirement.


                                    1. re: cocktailqueen77

                                      I'm not sure that simply working in a restaurant gives most people any real understanding of the business overall. A lot of workers look at their paychecks and think the owner is getting rich, while they wouldn't know a triple-net lease if they fell over it, have no idea about workman's comp, think nothing of pilfering a steak or two, quit jobs with no notice, etc. Being a waiter and understanding the bottom line may be two different things.
                                      Good learners and good teachers are found in every profession not just restaurants and school systems. You get out what you're willing to put in.

                                      1. re: MakingSense

                                        i think i'm replying to the entire thread..

                                        since the original post was limited to restaurants, maybe it depends what restaurant you work in? i worked in a very very nice restaurant throughout college and that's actually where i developed my more refined palatte =) i was pretty young, but i learned hwo to make great food because the chef would teach me. also talked to a few mainstays of bel air and beverly hills and learned a lot of their thriving lives =) i was in charge of closing out and seeing what the profits and losses were.. so my experience was apparently unique.. and as i mentioned earlier, i'm a "professional" now and i still think that the restaurant job was my best ever =)

                                        of course you get this wherever you work, and it is most definitely true that you get out what you are putting in. and of course it depends on what type of person you are (i tend to want to learn wherever i go). and of course like everyone said it matters what kind of upbringing you had...

                                        i think cocktailqueen77 thinks it's a good idea for some, but not a requirement.... =)

                                        1. re: kinipela

                                          Great learners like you will get something from every life experience. But working in a restaurant isn't going to be the Road to Damascus for rude jerks. They're not suddenly going to learn how others feel and interact better with their fellow man. The old GIGO rule - Garbage In, Gargage Out - and the best thing the restaurant can do is get them out of there as quickly as possible.
                                          Empathy and good manners start at home as jfood pointed out. Can people unlearn a lifetime of bad habits? Whether they are the servers or the served, some people just don't know how to behave in a civilized society.

                                  2. While I don't think that everyone needs to work in a restaurant, I do think it would be extremely beneficial for restaurant reviewers to spend time on the floor.

                                    1. Ridiculous, what is this Russia?

                                      I have worked in a restaurant as a manger, and as a line cook for 10+ years, before I thankfully got out, & I dont think everyone should be forced to do anything.

                                      I hope my own daughter is able to avoid the restaurant job route. Why,? because although at times working the line was alot of fun & I made some good friends, the hours were terrible, and the pay even worse. I decided Id rather be the one eating out on a Friday, or Saturday night instead of the one stuck working.

                                      For me working in the restaurant industry served 2 purposes only, 1) paying the bills at the time I worked there, & 2) motivation for finding a job with better hours, and better pay.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: swsidejim

                                        Saying everyone should have working experience in the biz is like trying to force everyone to wear the same style shoe. It doesn't work, some people simply would hate it and not do it. I have extensive experience in the food business and what I got out of it was: MONEY, knowledge of food and drink, liberal education in psychology, exercise and FUN. Great when you're young on your way to something else. I do think that experience has aided me in furthering my interest in food and also being more tolerant and discriminating when dining out. Some servers are naturals, some are horrid, just like any other profession. Work is work but hopefully it's also fun.

                                      2. i've been a server, a customer service rep, a secretary and a teacher.

                                        by far, teacher is the most difficult/challenging and most under-appreciated.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: hitachino

                                          I've been a server and a teacher as well. Certainly being a teacher (or at least trying to be a good one) is incredibly difficult and challenging, much more so than waiting tables. And while I am often dismayed by the lack of respect teachers get, the overwhelming and almost constant disregard and disrespect you get while waiting tables can be just awful. I think it's that level and type of disrespect that motivated the original poster to wish everyone had to do the job, in hopes that people wouldn't treat servers so badly.

                                          Yes, there are lots of hard jobs out there. hundreds of thousands of difficult jobs. Yes, servers choose to do what they do. I did. it treated me well. I'm glad I no longer have to and thankful that I can fall back on it.

                                        2. OK, folks! I don't think cocktailqueen77 is REALLY saying everybody HAS to by mandate work in a restaurant. Nor is she saying it is the *hardest* job. I think her point was: did we think that "to truly understand the behavior on both sides" would one have to have worked in a restaurant. That's all.

                                          And she makes a point that one isn't "simply" serving; there's much more involved and requires multiple skills. She did not say this was the only job like that, I think she was trying to point out that a lot of diners do not appreciate this fact.

                                          She also asks of those who have worked in the industry, did they think that made them appreciate other restaurant workers more. For me, the answer is yes.

                                          I guess I am not understanding some of the points being brought up or some of the tone of this discussion...

                                          5 Replies
                                          1. re: chaddict

                                            oh yay =)

                                            i thought i was the only one completely lost on this topic... hahaha i was thinking that it came up with a whole new life of its own....

                                            chaddict, your points are exactly what i was thinking... i didn't think she was mandating such actions... i think at one point she even posted that she didn't mean REQUIRED.. thanks for speaking up chaddict =)

                                            1. re: chaddict

                                              Not every post is directed towards cocktailqueen and what she's said, many subthreads and thoughts by different posters to other posters. I thought cocktailqueen handled posts directed to her well. :-) Yes, as she pointed out above, working in any profession is the key to understanding it, not just the restaurant business.

                                              1. re: chowser

                                                I realize there were subthreads but some things directed at her (why am I assuming it's a she?) were a bit off-base.

                                                1. re: chaddict

                                                  I assumed "she" also but I guess cocktailqueen could be a guy. Now that could be an interesting job to try out (totally serious on that).

                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                    Hey there guys-or girls, chowser and chaddict...=) !! Just so it clears the subject up: female, I am. I guess you never know, but thanks for bringing some humor to this thread!! And also thank you for helping to emphasize some important points that others seemed to have overlooked, or not bothered to take into consideration.

                                            2. goofy topic. i washed dishes, waited on tables, even cooked some.

                                              also spent time as a soldier, legal clerk, writer, photographer, newspaper reporter, editor and lard-ass bureaucrat. lots more stuff but you get the idea.

                                              bottom line? get over yourself. hit the road, travel (especially international) broadens.

                                              1. Thank you ctq77. My learning over time how much I need to know to be able to do what I do has allowed me to figure out how ignorant I am about what it takes for others to do what they do. [Good luck with the syntax].

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                  Thank you all for your thoughts and comments to the original post. Whether or not you agree, it has been quite interesting to see how many different opinions have come from this. Freedom of speech-a beautiful thing...especially anonymous freedom of speech.