Sunday, November 29, 2015
Start Out Early To Be a Manager
Now you may be asking why I would suggest such a thing. First of all when I started out there were full time hours and plenty of money to go around. It was a prestige job if you were a really good bartender or waiter. You may have worked yourself up through the ranks starting out as a bar back or bus tables.
Nowadays you may not have any experience at all but if you are only looking to work 10-15 hours a week you probably have a better chance of landing a job that someone looking for full time with experience. Simply put employers would rather train a nice personality and hire a lot of them so they can have a part time staff.
The times have changed. The demographics have changed a lot too. A lot of people do not understand gratuities. They come from a country that does not tip so they tip minimal so earning a living can be precarious.
Now we come to the question as to why I was a waiter for so long without entering management. In Canada anyway you have to work your way up to be a manager which is totally understandable. I get that part. The dilemma occurs that unless you are single and have no one to take care of, the salary of assistant managers is not strong compared to what a waiter can make.
So my advice is if you plan on making the restaurant industry a career work as hard as you can from the start. Work the hours and look for openings in your company for which you work. If you are in the kitchen learn everything, if you are in the front of the house work as effectively as possible. Look for advancement. Give yourself a shot early to mid- 20's. Then you work up the ladder fast passing all those middle income salaried positions quickly then, unless you want to open up your own place, go for restaurant management in a corporate chain restaurant.
The corporate chain restaurants are the future. They are swallowing up the little guy. If you want to make a 100 a year this is how you can do it. 3 weeks paid vacation, medical benefits, social events etc.. As a waiter here you got nothing. No safety net. Always saving for a rainy day.
Another option is go somewhere where your income greatly exceeds your living expenses and work your butt off for 5-10 years and save a mitt full.
For those coming in the industry now start planning. Do not and I repeat do not start out thinking you are going to replace the restaurant manager in your neighborhood. He is not moving. They are probably a week away from closing.
Go big or go home! The days of making money as a full time waiter year round are long gone. You may be busy one month and the next month there is no one in the restaurant.
I would also say if none of the above appeals to you change careers because if you do not want to put in the time to reach the top you do not want to be a waiter 25 years from now. The future is the waiter will become extinct. You will just have people deliver your food or open your wine that you ordered from an ipad. There will be no gratuity because you didn't do anything. Even bartenders are going to be few and far between. They have computerized dispensing machines that at a press of a button will make up to 200 cocktails. No more spillage.
Gratuities will soon be paid out by restaurant owners. People have less disposable income yet they still go out and eat. The prices get higher so they tip less. The 3 hour martini lunches have disappeared because companies do not give the expense accounts like they used to. Even Xmas parties. We had a party of 21 the other day and it was all separate bills. The company would not even buy a drink for their workers which is common nowadays for liable reasons. The spouses were not invited either. It is not the same.
I know it sounds grim but technology and the landscape is changing. I am glad I have only a few more years left in the industry that gave me so much. Just get on that path to the top while you are young and single as quick as you can.
There you go!
Radio talk show host of "The Hospitality Industry News Network" and author of "You Only Live Once" about his early years traveling around and working on ships and foreign countries Steven blogs about his thoughts on the restaurant industry as he sees it today.
Check out his web site at www.stevennicolle.com for more information.