What can you learn by working in the restaurant business? Plenty

For many, working in a restaurant is a first job. Usually it’s as a dishwasher, busser or host. Then you move up or get out. I think I’ve spoken to half the chefs in town who started out washing dishes, got bitten by the restaurant bug and could never really leave. Many of you reading this probably worked in a restaurant at some point and didn’t have the interest or passion to stay with it, though you probably miss aspects of that work.

Working in a restaurant is like a family, complete with loyalty, drama, dysfunction, disappointment, camaraderie, high pressure and plenty of joy. You encounter great customers and morons and everything in between.

I recently happened upon a list called “23 Life Lessons You Get From Working At A Restaurant” by Chelsea Fagan.

Reading the lessons, you might conclude that everyone should work at a restaurant at some point in his or her life. It teaches you a thing or two about courtesy, perseverance, focus, and just plain hard work. As I write this, I am working on my annual story in which I recognize the best servers I encountered during the year. I can tell you one thing: beyond what they do as servers, they are all high-caliber people who have clearly learned plenty about life by doing what they do. You could say that about the best of our bartenders and chefs, too.

Speaking of servers, I couldn’t agree more with No. 2: “Bad tippers are the worst kinds of people, and are often terrible in many other ways than just being cheap.”

What is wrong with people who nickle and dime some of the hardest working people in town? Maybe it’s about power? Or anger? But it’s more tha Do you really think it would be such a bad thing for people to say on your deathbed that you tended to leave servers too big of a tip?

I’m sure a lot of people in the industry can identify with No. 7, too: “The only people you’re going to be able to hang out with — and often date — are by default going to be other people in the industry. So you better like the people you work with it, because no one else is going to be coming out with you at 1 AM.”

As many chefs have told me, while most people are out having fun, they’re in the restaurant working.

Check out the rest of the list here.