Lessons From Food Service

I am SUPER excited.  Recently I was offered a job with the Kansas State Veterinary Medicine Program as a Communications Assistant.  Not only is it great to have continued opportunity to learn about communications, but I get to work and do what I love!

I’m also secretly hoping that this means I will never again work in food service.  

I honestly think everyone should work in food service at some point in their life because it gives you a huge respect for the people who serve you food, as well as teaches you something about humility.  No one is above paying their college bills by working at Pizza Hut.  Trust me, once upon a time I thought I was. 

What Food Service Taught Me About PR:

1) The customer is always right.  Everyone knows this saying, but when you work in food service you will get the weirdest requests… and you will always proceed with a smile.  You have to be willing to be flexible in any type of service, PR is no different.

2) Have an opinion.  Personally I hate it when you go into a restaurant and ask the waiter for a recommendation and they try to play it off like everything is amazing.  A lot of people who come in don’t really know what they want.  Encouraging people to try something new shows confidence in your products. 

3) You are always representing the brand you work for.  They way you treat people will be the way they remember the whole business, so be respectful, positive, and patient.  Customer testimonials are one of the most powerful marketing tools you have.

4) Communicating with coworkers is VITAL.  It’s easy to be anti-social and focus solely on the task at hand.  And it’s easy to get frustrated when your work goes unnoticed because someone is socializing with your boss in back.  Unfortunately there is a delicate balance in these kinds of situations, a lesson I have learned the hard way in the past.  It’s important to get your work done, but make sure that you make an active effort to socialize with the people around you.  Otherwise you come off as pretentious.  Again, this is a balance, don’t sacrifice your work ethic to befriend everyone in the office.

5) Everyone is different.  You can’t have just one approach when interacting with people.  Some people are rude, some are creepy, and others are always sweet and understanding.  In food service you learn to gauge personalities quickly so that you can best accommodate them.

Food service is stressful and frustrating.  You have to learn how to manage busy nights, on top of running out of vital ingredients… resulting in many hungry, angry people.  (Time management skills.) You have to learn not to take it personally when someone neglects to leave a tip, or lashes out at you.  (Accepting criticisms with class.) Finally, no matter what is going on in your personal life, you leave your “haterade” at the door.  Your customers don’t care. (Be positive.)


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