PR Lessons from Waitressing
by Bianca Granado
For six years I’ve worked in a restaurant. There are many times I think to myself “Why am I still here? I was made for something better.” When I leave every shift with cash in my pocket I am reminded why I still serve. But the lessons I’ve learned are far more valuable than the dollar bills in my pocket. As I reflect on my time serving tables I realized how much PR lessons I have actually gained.
1. Crisis Communication
Love it or hate it crisis always happen. Many times we are able to think of the worst circumstances and prepare for them but sometimes you can’t. Working in a restaurant I have experienced a number of crisis from food taking too long, coming out incorrect or the dreaded hair in food. Though I can anticipate what may happen, each shift comes with its own surprise. During these crisis I am forced to think quickly and respond in a way that will assure my guest I care and make sure I am representing my restaurant in a well manner.
If you plan on working for a PR agency instead of in house it’s highly important to make sure each client is getting treated equally and that time is spent evenly on each. Working in a restaurant I’ve realized that it’s important to check on each guest and spend time catering to each of them. At the end of the day they are all paying guests and deserve to be treated so. There are instances where one table will ask me for a fry refill and another asks for a dessert, it’s my responsibility that I do both in a timely manner and not ignore one table because someone else needs something. In PR agencies you will deal with different clients and you can’t neglect working on a certain client because the other needs something.
I don't think we will ever be told to stop networking. It is such an important skill to have and will get you further in your career. As a waitress I am challenged each shift to have conversations with my guests that I serve. Although not everyone wants to chat there are usually a few who want to, there have been occasions where guests have given me their business card and have been really interested in my career goals. Serving tables has really strengthened my communication skills and pushed me out of my comfort zone to strike up conversations with those around me.
Although I won’t stay in the restaurant business forever I do hope to hold these lessons with me forever.
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