By Sarah Trafton
Working in restaurants is a nearly universal experience for young adults today. This job comes with unique challenges, and food workers are permanently aware of those challenges every time they step into a restaurant. APN consulted with Rob Handel and Steven Flammer, who have had both front of house and kitchen positions over the years, to find out how working in food affects their dining experience.
Handel tries to be more conscientious while dining and chooses food items that are best for where he is eating:
“I focus on the menu and order when the server comes to take my order, rather than make them return multiple times. I order off the menu rather than asking for special things that aren’t listed on the menu. I order food that makes sense for where the restaurant is located and what level of quality they seek to provide (not ordering seafood or steak at a diner in upstate New York). I don’t stick napkins or other stuff into bowls or cups or anything else that makes it difficult for the server or busser to prep it for the dishwasher. I don’t make a mess on the table, and if I do I clean it up. If there’s a wait on food I look around to gauge how busy the kitchen might be at that moment.”
Flammer tries to make the experience pleasant for his party as well as the staff:
“I make reservations when needed, such as a busy place and/or on a busy night. I don’t talk too talk long at a table after the meal is over, so that the staff can turn the table for the next party. I try to avoid dining out too late in the day, such as coming in right before closing. I tip better; I know they are counting on tips as part of their wage. I hold doors for people who weren’t expecting it”
Sometimes you need to walk a mile in someone’s shoes before you can really understand what they’re going through. Working in the food industry certainly helps to make a more conscientious and understanding patron!