Why your first job shouldn’t be at a restaurant


Caitlin Thov, Columnist/Reporter

Working at a restaurant, initially, you would expect the pay to be worth all the work that is done. At least that’s what I had assumed before working in the restaurant industry. The first days seemed to be exciting, as I was reassured that I would move up very quickly by my supervisors, till it became a consistent stall over time. That would not have been a worry if the list of what I did and had to deal with was actually worth the pay they gave out.

Often times the number of people that quit or do not show up to their shifts, is insane, making it difficult for everyone to do their job. You will hear a lot of stress and labor amongst everyone working in the restaurant, having to do a lot of tasks and dealing with a lot of angry customers.

I am a host, who is just supposed to seat people around, wipe down tables, and sweep around the basics keeping the restaurant respectable. However, that is not exactly what I end up doing when on the clock. My position oftentimes gets asked to maintain seating areas for groups of people, where the servers are supposed to be the ones who clean off the tables in their spare time. That oftentimes forces the host to multi-task the seating, service, and timing, to avoid kitchen backup.

Giving the exception of trying to help out whenever we can, hosts are not obligated to clean, as we do not get tipped for any of it. Even on servers spare time, management will highly push for hosts to clean tables, clean the bathrooms, seat people, put people on the list, take all the dishes from the tables after people are done eating, all at the same time. If you are the only person working, and there are about 17 groups of people coming in, you will still be responsible for the former jobs. 

As a person who has worked in the fast-food industry, there is more labor production in restaurants, for the same minimum pay wage. My personal experience had introduced me to a “no break requirement”, where I was confused because I live in California, where Labor Laws here state that you would need at least a 30-minute break working more than 5 hours a day. After hearing and experiencing the option of a break? It gave a red light as a first introduction of not having any types of breaks as a requirement, which instantly gave the labor much more stress.

The lack of care within the restaurant industry, with the load of work, and low pay wages, makes it no better than the fast-food industry unless you were to be a server who at the very least, does get tipped a majority of the time. For most staff members though, they do not have that privilege. After going back and forth, between people yelling at you, and trying to clean as fast as you can, you will find yourself totally exhausted, having to do other workers’ jobs as if they were mandated for your own self to do for the bare minimum of pay. As most people in the industry would say, working in a restaurant is not for the weak.