Your first day of working at a restaurant can be scary. But do not fret – follow these 10 tips and you will be more than prepared to tackle the competitive environment that is working at a restaurant.
1. Arrive early
This is a really good idea for any job. Point blank, showing up late is unprofessional. Right off the bat, it makes you seem lazy and unorganized. So instead, arrive five to 10 minutes early in order to show that the job is important to you. Even if the boss is not there to see you, it gives you time to mentally prepare for the job ahead.
2. Introduce yourself to any employee you make eye contact with
As scary as it may sound, the employees around you are your new coworkers. Waiting to be introduced to them often creates super awkward situations. No one wants to experience the dreaded, “Um hi… who are you?” Or even worse, the up-down.
In order to avoid this, simply go up to any employee you see and say, “Hi, my name is ___. This is my first day here.” You will immediately appear confident and compatible, two qualities that are extremely important when working in a restaurant.
3. Remember their names
So after you go through the introductions, do everything you can to remember everyone’s names. Not only will this allow you to make friends, but when you are asked to help Suzie with her table, you will not have to uncomfortably circle around the restaurant looking for someone who might be Suzie…maybe?
4. Memorize the table arrangements as early as possible
It is extremely difficult to do most jobs in a restaurant without knowing the table and seat numbers. Whether you are a host, waiter, or even a busser, you have to know where you are going. Therefore, one of the first things you should do when entering the restaurant is study those table arrangements.
If you want to be super on top of things, you could even email your boss beforehand and ask for a copy of those arrangements. Coworkers will be impressed when you know where to go as soon as you step through the door.
5. Take notice of what foods come out of the kitchen
As a restaurant worker, you and the food that you present are a team. Get to know that team. Be a master of what comes out of the kitchen, know the menu by heart, and try to eat as much of it as possible (which is not such a bad thing). This will help you in the future when customers ask you what to eat.
6. Be proactive
On your first day, it is really easy to become a robot. You rely on your boss and just do exactly what they say. Of course, it is important to follow their demands, but do not feel limited. If you begin to feel useless, find something to do. Ask around and see if anyone needs help. If not, there is always something that needs to be cleaned. Really, you will be respected if you look busy.
7. Make friends with the chefs
As previously noted, it is a good idea to become friends with as many coworkers as possible in order to be respected. But no friendship comes with more perks than becoming friends with the chefs. The chefs are the heart of the restaurant. If you are liked by the chefs, you are liked by the restaurant. That friendship will also bring you leftovers and taste-tests…and what is better than free food?
8. Make friends with the bartender
This tip is especially valuable for all you 21 and overs. This is the same deal as becoming friends with chefs. Make friends with the bartender, and you are guaranteed a free Vodka Cranberry or a refreshing beer after a long day of work. If you are not 21, you should still make friends with the bartender because they are always the coolest of the cool.
9. Talk about yourself
You’re awesome. You have worked hard to get this job and to get where you are today. Tell people about that. No one likes a modest mouse. Talking about yourself allows your coworkers and your superiors to see the potential in you and eliminates any chance of condescension. Of course, be sure that you do not come off as cocky. Just be open and confident and you will be set.
10. Smile. A lot.
As our favorite little orphan girl says, “You’re never fully dressed without a smile.” A smile tells your coworkers that you are happy to have the job. A smile makes you look confident and approachable. A smile should be a part of your uniform. A smile is one of the keys to success on your first day of working at a restaurant.