6 Life Skills Learned Working in A Restaurant
How you can learn transferable skills in the restaurant industry
Working in the restaurant industry can teach you a variety of skills. These positions provide a great starting point for people's careers, as many transferable skills and lessons can be applied in other industries. Learning and enhancing these skills can give you the tools you need to create your best self.
Here are six reasons you should consider working in the restaurant industry
1. Communicate better
There is no question that communication has changed over the past ten years. Jeff Weiner, Executive Chairman of LinkedIn, stated in Quartz at Work in 2018, "What most employers want are written communication, oral communication, team-building, and leadership skills." Today, many of us communicate through our phones. We’ve significantly reduced the element of human interaction. That loss can cause a loss in the ability to communicate effectively.
In the restaurant environment, interacting with others in person can offer many benefits that can lead to effective communication, collaboration, and even leadership skills. Learning communication skills and feeling comfortable talking to different people daily can help tremendously with long-term communication.
In a restaurant, each position relies on the other. For example, a server relies on cooks and bartenders to be timely and accurate with orders. Hosts and hostesses need to work together to seat customers evenly throughout the restaurant. This way each table will get timely attention.
When applying to future positions after working in a restaurant, mention that you're already familiar with team dynamics and how to handle different personalities in a fast-paced environment. The restaurant industry is all about teamwork. Who knows, down the road some of the relationships you build now can even turn into business opportunities in the future.
3. Managing conflict
Because you frequently interact with customers and coworkers in a fast-paced, high-pressure environment, you're likely to experience conflict at some point. Learning how to manage conflict can prepare you for roles later in your career. Additional skills and qualities such as listening, positivity, assurance, and empathy are helpful for conflict resolution in all aspects.
While multitasking, it's important to determine which tasks are more important than others. A skill learned working in a restaurant includes how to juggle different tasks all at one time. To handle tasks efficiently, prioritization is essential.
For example, orders are important to keep straight, but urgent requests from coworkers or management may take priority. Setting boundaries, delegating tasks, and limiting distractions are all prioritization skills that are helpful anywhere. Learning how to prioritize can benefit your job today while bringing newly developed skills to your future career.
Unhappy customers and differences among co-workers will occasionally happen. Keeping your composure and remaining professional can help ease these issues. Not only does professionalism help to secure tips, but it also helps a restaurant maintain its reputation. Taking pride in the company you work for and representing it well can help you be an asset to your employer.
The restaurant environment changes daily. You’ll have new customers and sometimes new coworkers. Being able to adapt to both can allow you to succeed quickly when you change fields or try something new. If you have restaurant experience on your resume, an employer might see you as a person who is flexible, independent, and accomplishes tasks on their own.
Published January 24th, 2024
Meet the Author
Rob Rodas brings over three decades of culinary expertise to Knute Nelson and the Pioneer Grill as the Director of Culinary Services. With a Bachelor of Science in Restaurant Administration from Southwest Minnesota State University and ongoing pursuit of a Food Business master’s degree from the Culinary Institute of America, Rodas merges academic excellence with practical skill.
Over the last decade, Rodas has been a driving force in redefining senior dining in healthcare at Knute Nelson. Residing in Alexandria, MN for 23 years, Rodas cherishes family travel, golf, and moments with his wife Joy, children Anthony and Alana, and granddaughter Elena. Passionate about delivering an exceptional culinary experience, Rodas is dedicated to transforming dining for residents, staff, and the community.