The service industry is a place for everyone: Most everyone will visit a service industry establishment—restaurant, bar, cafe—at some point in their life, and many people will also end up working in one of these places for some time. The experience offered by working in the service industry is one as rich as the food being served. But, just like restaurant menus and meals, quality can vary depending on the place of work, the staff working there, and the patrons that spend their money there. Thinking about getting involved in the service industry? Consider these pros and cons first. If you decide on a service industry job, you should pick up a metal self-defense keychain so you are safe and protected.
If you’re a freelancer or someone looking to move on from the service industry, using it as an interim job, working front of house in a restaurant is a great way to network. You’ll never know which customer you’ll be serving that day, and you might meet someone who can help push your other career in the right direction.
Many people who work in the service industry wear it as a badge of honor. There is a brother and sisterhood that come with working in food and hospitality, as you’re on the front lines providing quality service, food, drink, and experiences to hundreds of people each day. This hard work is completed all while under the stress of the restaurant, the number of people dining within the space, and the number of staff on-hand that day.
People in the industry come together and get to be family for one another, so they open up about their lives, problems, aspirations, and more. Furthermore, there’s a camaraderie in complaining about stress and customers, making the work that much easier and more enjoyable.
- Tips Can Be a Lifesaver
People in the service industry appreciate the tips they receive. Some of those working in establishments receive the minimum wage, at best, and those tips are needed to pay their bills, afford groceries, and enjoy nights out just as their patrons are doing. Especially busy days, while stressful and anxiety-inducing, are made valuable by the increase in tips that usually comes with them—a sign that one’s hard work has truly paid off.
Depending on where you work, tips can greatly increase your salary. For baristas running cafes by themselves, tips can add up quickly, and they can walk away with a lot of extra money at the end of their shifts. For high-end bartenders, tips are also expected to be high, which is a major payoff for the work and knowledge required for the position.
It’s an unfortunate fact that service industry establishments—restaurants, bars—are common targets for attempted robberies. This is concerning for any employee, as the money in that restaurant isn’t yours, and you don’t want to have your life negatively impacted by someone attempting to rob your establishment.
It’s recommended that you understand some of the key characteristics of self-defense to protect yourself against a possible robbery or assault. This can also include carrying a small, transportable self-defense item on your person during closing shifts, including pepper spray or an expandable baton to protect yourself in the event of an assault.
Talk to anyone who works in customer service, and one of their first complaints will be about the customers themselves. Whether it’s complaining about a meal they’re not pleased with, asking too many questions about the menu, or generally getting upset over things that are not your fault, customers can be a pain.
And the worst part is that you need to keep your wits about you—patience is key, and blowing up on a customer is a great way to either (1) get your restaurant a bad review and/or (2) get yourself fired. While they can be a serious annoyance, it’s in your best interest to keep a happy face on while interacting with troublesome customers and waiting to vent until you see your coworkers out back.
- The Work Can Be Exhausting
Service industry work can be tiresome for many different reasons: you’re on your feet all day; you’re regularly trying to remember orders and are communicating with fellow staff under hectic conditions; you’ll be interacting with customers all day if you’re working front of house and you’ll be rushing to get food or drinks out while maintaining quality if you’re in the back of house. The work requires you to be on, working at 100 percent, throughout your entire shift. And, for anyone working on the side, you won’t have much time to check your phone to see if you’ve received client emails, important text messages, and more.
As said above, service industry work requires you to work. But, more importantly, the pay can sometimes feel like it’s not enough, especially for what it is required of you. This is most true when it comes to restaurants that pay at or below minimum wage, hoping that tips will either bring staff to minimum wage or be enough to keep them around. Tips are better some days and worse others. Those days where tips are menial can feel brutal, especially if the day has seemed busier than normal.
Weigh the Pros and Cons
Do the above pros outweigh the cons in your opinion? Then you might be the perfect fit for the service industry. Rather, do you see the cons as so laborious that you could see yourself becoming regularly stressed? In this case, the service industry might not be right for you.
Whatever the outcome, there’s nothing wrong with trying out a stint in the service industry. For some, it can become a lifelong career, while for others it is just another blip on their resume. Whatever the case, you can enjoy what the industry has to offer, relating with others that have gone through the same, and wearing it as a badge of honor from there on out.