10 Things I Have Learned From Working in a Restaurant

I left the restaurant industry a few years ago after working in restaurants on and off since I was 18. Nothing will make you lose your faith in humanity quicker than some of the vicious and hungry monsters you deal with in food service. However, you will typically leave the industry as a better and more self-aware person...at least when you're out to eat. Here are some of the things I learned:

1) If you’re even slightly female, you’re going to want the dressing on the side. You’ve got a figure to watch! But come dessert time, of course, you just “can’t resist cheesecake.”

2) If you’re a teenager and you see something on the menu with the word “alfredo” in it, you’re going to get it. And why shouldn’t you? Your metabolism is at its peak! May as well order 17 soft drinks, too.

3) If you mess up a child’s order their parents will never forgive you. You have single-handedly ruined that child’s chance of getting into Harvard by forgetting to ask the kitchen to go easy on the pizza sauce.

4) If you ask for a water and there is not a lemon sliced and resting on the rim of the glass, there will be hell to pay. Out of lemons? Run, don’t walk, to the grocery store. I’ll wait.

5) Some people will find something wrong with anything, because it makes them feel good to make you feel bad. Restaurants were made for these people.

6) Guys like steak. (Duh.) They’ll pretend they’re picky about how it’s cooked but they really just want meat in their mouth. It’s all very Freudian. 

7) The worst thing that can happen to a Canadian in an American restaurant is unsweetened iced tea and the worst thing that can happen to an American in a Canadian restaurant is sweetened iced tea.


8) One of life’s greatest mysteries is the diner who eats 90% of their meal and THEN decides to tell you it was no good. (See #5) That’s like taking a car for a 7-year test drive before you decide you don’t want it. These people are hard to accept, hard to be nice to, and hard to understand. 

9) EVERYBODY LOVES BOOTHS!!! It is ingrained in our DNA to want to sit in booths. We will scoff at tables like they were designed for mere peasants, and demand a booth because we need privacy to talk about the weather, and other important things. 

10) The biggest lesson I have learned from working in a restaurant is that you will never, let me repeat, NEVER, make everyone happy. You can put all the lemons on all the waters you want, and someone is still going to hate citrus, and probably hate you in the process. But what makes a great server a great server, is that regardless of how upset you get when we don’t garnish your beverage to your liking, we’ll bend over backwards to please you (but not literally, in most restaurants).

I want to hear about your experience working in the restaurant industry. Comment below and let me know! XO