The Pros and Cons Of Working In A Restaurant

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The Pros

The Social Life

The restaurant industry attracts a great variety of people. Some will be pursuing a career path in restaurant management or culinary arts, while others may just be working there while they complete their college education.

Either way, being surrounded by interesting people with goals and ambitions is a very positive experience that can make you an improved version of yourself.

Learn Multitasking Skills

One of the first things you’ll learn while working in a restaurant, is how to do multiple things at once.

If you’re a server, your customer at table 1 is going to want extra ranch, while your customer at table 2 wants their check…and it gets much worse than that. 

If you’re cooking, you may need to complete a 30 item prep list before the end of the day. This means you’ll need to be portioning food while you have 2 items baking in the oven, if you want to get that list done by the end of the day.

Learning how to get multiple things accomplished at one time will help make you more productive no matter which career path you choose. 

Free or Discounted Food

Most restaurants offer their employees either a discounted or free meal during the shift. 

Just be careful not to gain too much weight. 

Learn People Skills

One of the experiences you’re almost guaranteed if you work in a restaurant, is that you’re going to be dealing with difficult people. These people will usually be customers, but they can also be your coworkers.

Dealing with people when they’re upset is a great skill to have no matter which long-term career you choose for yourself. If you want to make good money, you’re going to need to be able to deal with people on a daily basis, or you’re going to need to work for someone that does.


Career Opportunities

Lastly, the restaurant industry offers many opportunities for career advancement if you’re working for the right company. 

Many restaurant companies also prefer to promote from within, rather than hiring someone new. That way they already know you, and your work ethic first-hand. 

Some restaurant career options include…

  • General Manager
  • District (Territory) Manager 
  • Human Resources
  • Regional Manager
  • CEO
  • Vice President

The Cons

Long Hours

Restaurants are notorious for demanding their employees to work long hours.

Especially if you’re working in the kitchen, these positions can be difficult to hire for, this means that the employees have to pick up the extra work load by working harder, and for longer hours. 

The hours managers have two work can be far worse. Some restaurant managers report having to work more than 60 hours in a week. 

(Usually) Low Compensation

Unless you’re working for a high end restaurant, the total compensation for your time and effort is going to be rather low compared to what other jobs may pay. 

In most states of the US, cooks can expect to make anywhere between $12 per hour to $15. This all depends on the company you’re working for and the experience you bring to the table. 

Servers are normally paid lower than the minimum wage since they are tipped.

Managers are paid $55,601 on average, according to

Schedule Changes Frequently

Another undesirable factor for most, is that you probably won’t have a set schedule, and your schedule will likely be posted the week before your scheduled shift.

This makes creating appointments and planning your personal life very difficult unless you request the day off far in advance.

Rude Customers

If you watch Youtube or Facebook videos, you’ve probably seen extremely rude and angry customers giving a customer service worker a hard time. 

While the everyday customer will probably not be as extreme as you see in the videos, customers can still be very unpleasant and make you question why you’re standing there putting up with their comments. 

If you’re considering working in customer service, be prepared for the rude people. 

Vacation Time Is Rare

Lastly, most restaurants don’t typically offer paid vacation time. If they do, the vacation time will likely accrue very slowly.

This is mainly due to the high turnover rate across restaurants, and because companies don’t want to have to cover your position while you’re gone on vacation.

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