How Working at a Restaurant Changed Me

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Credit: Hotel Torre Catalunya

A little over six months ago I decided to try out the restaurant business, working as a hostess at one of the fancier places in my district. My sister and I work there together, and a couple friends from high school also help out. 

I’ve enjoyed my time there, but I’ve noticed some personality traits that sprang up from this fast-paced job that didn’t exist before. Here’s some—let’s see if you can relate.

I giggle or smile after anything someone says

When I’m still in customer-service mode, people know. Customers usually try to joke around with me, or they look grumpy. I’ve found that if you smile and laugh a little, it makes the situation better. I’ve started doing that in real life though, where people actually want to talk with me and won’t settle for a giggle as an answer.

I’m not as grossed out by touching food or trash anymore

I used to not want to touch dirty dishes, and I would avoid the trash as much as possible. After having to clear off plates consistently and wipe gross messes off of tables, I’ve learned to appreciate the clutter at home.

I apologize more

If I’m in someone’s way, wherever I am, I usually mutter a quick “sorry” and scoot past. When I’m on glasses duty at work, I constantly bump into the people at the bar, whether they knew I was there or not. It also goes along with the customer service attitude: it’s easier to just apologize to a customer for being in their way rather than allow dirty looks and rude comments to come at you.

I’m much nicer at other restaurants (or gas stations, supermarkets...really anywhere)

Before, I would have left any mess I made for the employees to clean up. After sweeping under countless tables that had children (or just messy adults) sitting at them, I realized that I do not want to be that person. If I spill something, I do my best to clean it up and then tell a worker what happened. This courtesy was born out of tons of people leaving the mess to me. Not something I wanted to experience, but a lesson I’m glad I learned.

I say “right behind” in public

It happens randomly whenever I walk through a crowd. One time, I was heading out of a class at UConn and touched the person on the back and said “behind you” as I made my way for the door. For people who’ve never worked in a restaurant, that must be so weird. 

 Usually, you just move right past someone, but since you never know when someone’s going to turn around (with or without something heavy/hot/breakable in their hands), you need to let them know where you are. So I do. Whether I’m in the restaurant or not.

I can carry tons of things at one time now

At the restaurant, I’ve learned that taking two trips usually isn’t possible. One of my boss’s favorite sayings is “don’t waste your steps,” so we have to carry a lot with us at once. When clearing tables, that means taking the plates, glasses, and soiled settings back all together, then carrying the wipe, broom, and fresh settings back to the tables. 

I had to clean up my room the other day and I was shocked at how much I could carry. I found creative ways to carry it all from my room to the trash, and it’s because of doing it at work.

Ever worked at a restaurant? Have anything that you do differently as a result? I’d love to hear it in the comments!

Hannah is a freshman at UConn. In addition to writing for the Daily Campus, she also writes for HighPointe Church. She is a Political Science and Communications double major.
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