Omaha was ranked the second best “Foodie City” last year by Livability.com. The accolade is deserved because Omaha has a thriving food scene. It’s home to a wide variety of restaurants – some of which enjoy international acclaim.
If you want to be part of Omaha’s renowned restaurant scene, flexibility and multi-tasking skills are important.
“You have to love what you do because it’s not an easy industry,” said Trudy Brown, a former server and bartender in fine dining. “You have to be flexible in your schedule and able to multi-task. It’s not for those who say, ‘That’s not my job,’ as in clearing tables, running food, greeting customers, taking orders, et cetera.”
Food service appeals because of the potentially flexible schedules, which are great for students. Then there are those who simply love both food and people. They find food service offers a good way to combine those loves. Either way, if you start a career in restaurants, be ready to work your way up and to work hard.
Restaurants are usually open long before and after typical work hours, and usually during the times in between. This can be good for students who want jobs that fit their school schedules. But food service won’t appeal if you seek a typical nine-to-five position.
Restaurant folks work their way up to score the best shifts. A newcomer is unlikely to successfully demand certain days or hours off. Be upfront in the initial interview if there are days and times when you can’t work. Don’t make promises you can’t keep.
Many people enjoy and thrive in a fast-paced work environment, which makes a restaurant an ideal workplace. There is so much more to restaurant work than meets the eye. Tasks are varied and each day is different. As a newcomer, you may fill more roles than anticipated while you ensure customers feel they’re your top priority.
This is one area in which many students shine. Accustomed to quickly switch mental gears from one subject to another, a restaurant’s multi-tasking needs may prove manageable. Yet working in a restaurant often feels like you must put out one fire after another. This makes it unsuitable for someone who can’t juggle more than one task.
That is your job
Great restaurants are like well-oiled machines, mostly because everyone hops in and helps as needed. New employees who want to impress should be ready to roll up their sleeves with a positive, helpful attitude.
In his 2014 book, The Top 10 Ways to Succeed as a Waiter or Waitress, James Towers urges readers to go into each shift with a positive attitude while they repeat “Today will be a good day” over and over again in their minds. Positivity – coupled with a desire to help other people – will result in a successful career.
More options for students
Campus food service is another option, although Forbes says such positions typically pay lower wages than off-campus jobs. If food service doesn’t appeal to you, consider retail or other employers who offer flexible hours. A bank with extended hours is a potential employer for students.
While the food industry offers students myriad opportunities, not everyone is cut out for restaurant work. If you can find a position in the same field as your major, it could yield greater benefits like networking and experience appropriate for your resume.
Want to know what jobs options are out there? Attend the next OmahaJobs.com job fair at the Ralston Arena – meet with potential employers and find out about what positions might be right for you.