A Good Education

Posted on April 25, 2013 2:39 pm under General
| 1 Comment

After my freshman year in college, I took a job as a waitress in the dining room of a local hotel. Prior to that time, my only restaurant and hotel experience had been as a customer. I had never thought about the people, supplies and planning needed to make a hotel or restaurant successful. Although I was smart enough not to voice my opinion, I considered myself superior to many of the permanent employees. For me, it was a temporary job; they were permanently stuck in these no-brainer positions.

The manager of the dining area must have heard my unspoken words. She never discussed my attitude, but that summer I got an education I hadn’t planned on. She started by teaching waitressing skills and I learned it took some smarts to correctly “read” my customers and tailor my service to their needs. It took a good memory as well. Soon I was in awe of a waitress, who could take orders for a table of twenty and never make an error, even when the diners kept changing their minds. After I had mastered some waitressing basics, the manager expanded her instruction to areas beyond my immediate job duties. I learned about everything from cleaning schedules to finance. An overview of kitchen duties was followed by inventory tasks and a primer on ordering the kitchen and hotel bar supplies. In those pre-Internet days, one couldn’t do an online search. It took a fair amount of time to deal with supply vendors and to compare and negotiate the best prices. I learned that wise expenditures were as important as customers in obtaining a healthy bottom line. I came to realize that the absence of even one salad maker or dishwasher could have a major impact on smooth service flow. I began to admire co-workers who reliably completed difficult or tedious tasks, as well as those who remained courteous when dealing with demanding or unreasonable customers.

By the end of the summer, I had a new respect for the business and the people who made it a success. Another manager might have lectured me about my attitude, an approach that would have fallen on deaf ears. I was so fortunate to work for someone, who gave me valuable life lessons without ever resorting to preaching. Thanks, Marie.

One Response to “A Good Education”

  1. Jim Says:

    :) I will tell her too, “Thanks, Marie.”

    When we are pleasant and helpful with people regardless we often never realize how much we are helping those people in their development at most any age.