Thinking about getting a job as a server? Maybe you’ve already got one and you’re trying to figure out if you made the right call. The truth is there’s not correct answer to that question, but one things for sure: it’s a great way to save up some money at a much faster pace than many other job.
The following are a series of pros and cons that surely you can identify with if you’ve been working any amount of time in a restaurant. If the pros outweigh the cons for you, then by all means keep going. If not, then maybe it’s time to start looking for other employment opportunities.
Pro: The Hours Are Great For Holding a Second Job
Depending on what you’re schedule looks like, serving at a restaurant is the perfect way to stretch your hours into a second job. Whether it’s something unpaid, or just another great day job to earn extra cash, the late night hours do provide an outlet for clearing the daytime space on your schedule.
If you are working two jobs, just be careful not to burn yourself out. It can be an extremely stressful time. And while saving is a great thing, you need to make sure that you’re weighing the costs of what all those hours at work can do to your brain.
Con: But They Are Horrible For Having Friends
Especially if serving is going to be a summer job for you, it’s probably going to suck sometimes to be a server. Everyone else will have the inevitable 9-5 or 10-6, and you’ll just be getting ready for work as they’re calling it a day.
What’s more is that weekends are prime time for your to be working as a server, so those are out too. Be prepared that if you want a serving job, it’s going to mean a lot of hours and not a lot of social time.
Pro: The Tips Are Amazing If You’re On You’re “A” Game
If you have a “good night” as a server, it’s not hard to imagine that you’ll be taking home some very handsome tips. One great way to ensure that for yourself is to set “table minimums” of what you want people to spend—say $50 for every couple.
Make sure that you’re personable, attentive, and good at staying hidden when it’s necessary. The bottom line is that when you’re on, you’re on, and it can mean some serious encouragement for when the rest of your friends are still raking in that minimum wage.
Con: But A Rough Night Means Ramen For Breakfast
Unfortunately on the flip side of that, not a lot of tips menas not a lot of money at all. A lot of servers make less than minimum wage, because the job assumes so much of the income will be tips. It’s not the best system for workers in America, but it works for a lot of people. It’s something you’ll have to be aware of when choosing to apply to certain places. If all of the customers are notoriously bad tippers, then it may not be the right place for you.
Pro: Having Regulars Can Create Great Relationships
Once you start to build up your customer base, the feelings can be intoxicating. You’ll get people who know and love having you as a server—and you’ll be getting “requested.” That means more tips, and it means the reassurance that you’ll have at least a few less challenging tables.
Do your best to remember people that come in more than once. Remember their orders, dislikes and quirks. If you can show them that you care about them, and they feel special when you serve them, they’ll likely want to keep coming back.
Con: And Sometimes Your Customers Will Be The Worst People Alive
Other times, when you don’t have your regulars, you’re going to get a few rotten eggs. There’s just no way around it. Whether they have every allergy under the sun or they just can’t seem to be satisfied by anything you’re bringing them—it’s just hard wired into some folks to be difficult.
Often times they won’t even realize how horrible they’re being. Your job is not to point it out to them. It’s to give them the same experience you’d give your favorite regulars. Who knows: you may be able to convert them after all!
Pro: Your Coworkers Can Become Your Closest Friends
Working those weird hours can create a special bond. You’ll take breaks together, potentially grab after work drinks together, and generally begin to form some really great relationships with the other servers at your restaurant.
This can be extremely important, because you’re going to want someone to have your back on the rough nights. You want someone who you can exchange a quick look with or who will be understanding when you make a mistake. Friendships among servers are a must, and a wonderful gift when the going gets tough.
Con: But Sometimes You’re All Competing For Tables and Tips
There are going to be times when things get feisty between servers. If you’re all competing for the section with the best tables, then you may be upset if someone continually scores the right spots, and you’re left with the ghost-town section.
Don’t let that get to you. Do your best to keep getting the best tips you can from the customers you do. If you keep kicking butt and getting great feedback, your GM will notice, and make sure that you’re getting the customers you deserve.
Pro: You’ll Learn Incredibly Valuable Life-Skills
Serving, as mentioned above, teaches you a lot about life. It helps you be smart with your money, helps you to learn how to sacrifice your hours for the sake of a job, and teaches you a lot about how humans operate. You’ll no doubt use those skills for the rest of your life.
Con: It Won’t Necessarily Look as Good as that Unpaid Internship
The problem is, it won’t always look as great as the internship you can’t afford to take. You may simply need to be saving instead of building your resume. If you can’t make both work, don’t feel pressured to take the internship.
Working hard and saving money is a valuable and honorable thing. Don’t let yourself get down about a hard decision: make one and learn from it. In the end, you’re guaranteed to be better for it.