Last Saturday my illustrious career as a food service professional / culinary hospitality engineer came to a close.
My tenure at a local Italian “bistro” lasted just over 4 months before I found a job with better pay and a better schedule.
I have learned a few things during my time as a server.
When I was hired, I was told the company valued three things in an employee. I had heard something similar at another restaurant and thus take this to be kind of an industry mantra). I think these three things translate well to any line of work:
1. Be on time.
2. Look good (i.e. uniform in good condition, etc.)
3. Have a good attitude.
The company I worked for had a business philosophy that I thought was a winner. The conventional wisdom in the business world is to put the customer first – everything is oriented towards the customer.
This company had a little bit different philosophy: Put the associate (employee) first. While that sounds odd at first, when you think about it, it makes sense. If your associates are taken care of and feel good about you and the company, they will make sure that they take care of the customers, and everybody wins.
I think that makes sense as a philosophy for any company or organization.
There are biblical precedents and applications for working as a server. The Greek word from which we get “deacon” in the New Testament can literally be rendered “table waiter.”
(In fact, the word is transliteration – meaning the English word is not translated to a different word but that the spelling and pronunciation is simply adjusted for the new language.)
In many churches, someone called a “deacon” is involved in “running the church.” He probably sits on various committees, voted on the color of the carpet, had a big say in hiring a pastor, and has been there longer than everyone else. Turns out that’s not the case.
Waiting tables teaches you a lot about ministry.
Here are 4 things working as a server taught me about ministry. You have to…
- Anticipate people’s needs.
- Make their needs your priority.
- Show them kindness and hospitality.
- Help clean up messes and correct errors (even if they weren’t yours).
Have you ever waited tables? What did you learn from the experience?