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How to Create a Profile for the Service Industry that Gets Results (Guest post)

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User Profile(This guest post comes from the people over at ShiftgigSome great advice about online profiles, enjoy)

Trying to craft the perfect resume has always been one of the most frustrating steps in the job search. From font and format to using “active” verbs, there’s a lot that goes into that single sheet of paper. So much rides on the brief descriptions of education and work history, and often you are left wondering if you really provided a full picture of yourself. After all, a good hire needs more than just experience; personality, outside pursuits, and social influence can be valuable to know before offering employment.

There is good news for job searchers though with the increased use of the internet, paper resumes are falling to the wayside. They are being replaced by professional profiles. This online format isn’t restrained by the physical parameters of a page and allows for more information to be shared with a potential employer. Now you can present a well-rounded snapshot of who you are, what you can do, and why you fit a given position. So the next time a website asks you to simply submit a resume, perhaps you should ask yourself if this will be the best way to represent yourself.

There are a number of sites on the internet that provide the framework and marketplace for professional profiles. LinkedIn, with its useful connection feature allowing job seekers to reach out to companies that may have been difficult to reach otherwise, has proven to be a reliable tool for the white collar community, but may not fit the bill for finding your next gig as a server, host or restaurant manager. Facebook has also become a tool for employers to find staff, allowing them a deeper view into the character of a potential hire, but if you want to keep your social life separate from your professional life, it may be difficult to do so. Shiftgig may provide the answer to where to host your professional profile. Considered the largest service industry community, Shiftgig provides the ability to connect to service industry peers, with profiles that reflect the values of personality and social influence that play big roles in the industry. Employers who use Shiftgig regularly reach out to prospective candidates whether they’ve applied for positions at their business or not. It’s not uncommon for a job candidate with a strong profile to get more than a handful of interview requests without ever applying for a job.

This shift towards the dynamic professional profile underlines the changing values of employers. While experience is still paramount, personal details can be a huge help in deciding which applicant is right for a company’s culture. So how do you make the most of the online profile? It is a balancing act; you need to provide the right kind of insights without completely compromising your privacy.

Focus on elements that will display skills or characteristics that could be valuable in the workplace. Volunteer activities, travel, and participation in a club or on a team show off not only your personal interests, but attributes that could translate into an asset on the job. Don’t shy away from pictures, as being able to “put a face to a name” can make employers more likely to feel comfortable reaching out to you. While casual photos can work, stay away from party shots or selfies; they do not suggest professionalism.

Social media is becoming a widely-used and powerful tool, so inclusion of your social networks can be worthwhile. However, once you make them a part of your professional profile, they become an extension of the image you are presenting to an employer. You don’t have to turn your Twitter into a marketing machine overnight, but make sure the tone of your posts on any forum is something you feel comfortable sharing with a potential boss. Evidence of social influence can be big point in your favor, but only add it if you’re ready to put those networks to work.

A paragraph or two describing yourself, your strengths, and what you hope to accomplish adds personality and a sense that you are, in fact, a person, not just a piece of paper. Just a few sentences might provide a connection with an employer that makes you stick in their mind. This “About Me” will be a more general introduction, so cover letters tailored for each employer are still a wise idea. However, that little human touch can really make you stand out from a pile of black-and-white resumes.

Online professional profiles offer a lot of opportunity to wow an employer right from the start. With a little thought and effort, your dynamic and personalized profile can present a more complete picture of what kind of employee you will be and increase an employer’s confidence in handing you an offer of employment.

Don’t wait any longer, create an online profile today.

(Thanks to the people at Shiftgig for this guest post, hope you got something out of it.)

Nathan

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Server or manager?

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Server or managerIt takes a certain kind of person to be a good restaurant manager, so is it for you?

Over the last few months I’ve had a bunch of messages sent to me through the Facebook page and my email asking about restaurant management, so I thought I’d write this post to give my input on it. I asked a question a while back asking servers who had become managers what their thoughts were on this topic, and there was a similar response among most of the comments . They usually talked about the change in hours worked, scheduling, dealing with difficult employees and sometimes guests, and in a lot of management positions they make less than servers.

I have been a manager in a few different restaurants (both corporate and privately owned restaurants) and in this post I’ll share my experience of being a restaurant manager, and what I got out of it.

Over the years of working in this industry I always got along well with my managers, and if there was anything I needed (within reason) generally it would be honored. They handled most guest complaints professionally, they helped me with my scheduling requests and some would even get their hands dirty by  jumping on the floor to buss tables and reset them. On the other hand I have also worked for a few managers who wouldn’t give me the time of day, would deny each and every request I asked for and wouldn’t do much in the way of supporting the staff.

My thoughts when it comes to how good or bad a restaurant manager is that a big part of it comes down to how much they care, not just about the business and their salary, but for the business and every single person inside the building.

If you’ve worked a job which you didn’t love (or at the very least enjoyed) you probably wouldn’t be working at your very best, and why would you if there’s no motivation and drive to do so? What I believe makes a good restaurant manager is someone who get’s along well with the staff, can segregate personal problems and business problems (also a big one), will do what they can to support the staff with whatever they need, and keep the owners or general manager happy all at the same time. These aren’t always the easiest of things to balance, but a well seasoned server/manager can make a big difference in the productivity and morale of the staff in a restaurant.

So in a nutshell, a list of the new responsibilities I had to take on as a manager were:

  • Scheduling
  • Counting inventory and ordering stock
  • Banking, end of day balancing and inputting reports
  • Handling event bookings and inquiries
  • Opening and closing of the restaurant
  • Dealing with beer/wine/liquor sales reps
  • Guest relations and retention
  • Marketing strategies and promotions
  • Labor/food/beverage tracking and budgeting
  • Ongoing training of staff

There was more to it than this, but the list above covers the most common day-to-day tasks I had to do when managing. The only downfall I had with the privately owned restaurant I worked in was that training wasn’t very structured. Compared to the corporate owned restaurant which had an intensive 3 month manager training program. Yes, I did learn things from both styles, but I got way more out of the structured corporate training.

Here’s a quick breakdown of some details of the privately owned vs the corporate owned restaurants I managed in.

Privately owned:

  • Responsible for up to 35 staff at a time (both BOH and FOH)
  • Scheduling for 22 servers and bartenders
  • Restaurant seated up to 460 guests including the upstairs and downstairs patios
  • “Learn as you go” style training (I asked many, many questions)
  • Open for lunch and dinner
  • Approximate hours worked per week was around 50
  • Management team size: 6
  • Salary only, with a few perks like free meals, limited promo bar tab (to give to guests/staff/yourself)

Corporate owned:

  • Responsible for up to 60 staff at a time (both BOH and FOH)
  • Scheduling for 40 servers
  • Restaurant seated up to 775 guests including the patio
  • 3 month management training, many well written and extensive training programs (and a lot of reading at that), training took place in 3 different restaurants and some was at head office.
  • Open for lunch and dinner
  • Approximate hours worked per week was between 55 and 65
  • Management team size: 8
  • Salary + bonuses, benefits, manager outings, free meals, promo tab (food and drinks), discounts at other locations, perks with surrounding businesses and businesses affiliated with the restaurant

When I went back to serving I saw the restaurant I was working at in a whole new light. While I was serving I would know the cost of each dish or drink that a guest would order, I would be more aware of the number of staff working and what the potential labor costs would be, and I could answer guest questions about the business that not necessarily other servers could. This was purely because I was exposed to the information as a manager. Now not all this knowledge is really relevant to serving, but for me I found everything I learned fascinating.

So for me, these were the pros and cons of managing:

My pros:

  • Endless things to learn to better yourself, the staff  and the business
  • Got an in-depth look at the “behind the scenes” operations of a restaurant
  • Had a better understanding of the hospitality industry and had access to an abundance of resources and information
  • I built many solid personal and business relationships with people who I’m still in contact with today
  • It was easier to do personal budgeting because I knew what I was making, and if a bonus came along Hooray!
  • The freedom to implement new standards and procedures to make the lives of staff easier, and in return make them and the restaurant more money
  • I really enjoyed the responsibility, and being held accountable for the things that went right or wrong
  • Salary was decent, so were the bonuses and benefits (this will vary between restaurants)

My cons:

  • My social life became non-existent outside of work, there were times I wouldn’t see my girlfriend (who I lived with) for 2 weeks at a time
  • Despite the decent salary, when servers did their reads and handed me their cash-out I wished I could go back, work for 5 hours and make $200 😛
  • It can be information overload (schedules, banking, sales and labour reports, marketing, food and beverage ordering and budgeting, resumes, menu’s, meetings, policies, standards and procedures, emails, post-it notes everywhere!, sales pitches, product information… you get the idea) which can drain you mentally in a job where you need to be sharp and on top of things at all times. As a manager I believe you should know everything about the restaurant you’re working for, and be able to work every station confidently.
  • The smallest failure in communication could result in big problems. This is another key element to being a good restaurant manager, you need to be able to clearly communicate with fellow management, owners/investors, suppliers, staff and guests.
  • For me, going from serving to a management position in the same restaurant I found it difficult to transition the relationships I had with my fellow workers. Although I was still friends with these people, it was hard for them to see me as someone with authority within the restaurant (It was for me too). I was dubbed a “Grinch” for a while because I wouldn’t let servers and bartenders slack off, or close the restaurant early for them so they could go party….. wait, am I the Grinch?
  • Not all restaurants train managers properly, as I mentioned above in the privately owned restaurant I managed in it was a “learn as you go” style which meant I learned some things incorrectly the first time.
  • Terminating/disciplining employees was never fun, but it’s part of the job (I actually fired my girlfriend from one restaurant… No I’m not a meanie, there’s a story behind it 🙂) and dealing with unpleasant/unhappy guests wasn’t a glamorous part of the job either
  • As much as you would like to please everyone, if you try you will please no one. Staff will want days off or want to choose the section they work in, guests want the thermostat/music/TV’s changed, owners/management want labour costs down and as a result servers and service in general can suffer etc. The hard part is trying to find a harmonious balance which pleases as many people as possible, and upsets the least number of people.

Now the cons list looks bigger than the pros list, but I wrote 8 points for each. I had a love/hate relationship with management for a while, I enjoyed everything I was learning but there was sacrifice that came along with it. As someone who has plans to open their own restaurant in the future this was great for me, and if I stuck around long enough I could have progressed and climbed the ladder in either restaurant. I chose to move on to broaden my experience so when I open my own restaurant I have a better and more diverse understanding of what makes a restaurant successful.

You can make a great career out of being a restaurant manager, sure it may be hard to find a place that you gel with 100% and pays you your worth, but that goes with any job out there. If you’re a good leader/motivator, personable, creative and have a desire to push and better a business then maybe taking a manager position is for you.

If not, serving is always a good fall-back!

Have an awesome day.

Nathan

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Resume Writing Tips and Advice (Guest post)

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Resume writing tips and adviceThis guest post comes from Bekah over at waitressresume.net.

From time to time it’s good to freshen up your resume, and if you’re looking to rewrite or create a resume, then head on over and check out the tips and advice there before you do.

 

You have the option of choosing from many different resume layouts and styles, but there is one item that always remains the same- the need for it to be well written. Before you send your resume to a potential employer take a look at these 3 helpful tips.

 

Strengths/Talents

Make sure that you are emphasizing skills and talents that will apply to the job in which you would are applying for. Have you had extensive experience with computers, customer service or leadership? If so make sure that you not only mention them, but give examples throughout your resume. Providing specific examples gives the prospective employer a chance to see deeper into your past work experiences, rather than just a timeline of where and when you have previously worked. It also allows you to elaborate on key areas you definitely want to accentuate such as higher levels of responsibility previously given to you and previous positions of authority or management.

 

Spelling and Grammar

For almost all prospective employers, poor grammar and punctuation found on a resume signals automatic rejection. It would be a shame to go through the entire process of creating a suitable resume only to be rejected immediately due to a couple of small grammatical errors that could have been caught by simple proofreading. We all know that it happens and that spell-check doesn’t always catch these errors, but this is what makes it critical for you to read through your resume a few times OUT LOUD before submitting it. If your resume contains spelling and grammatical errors the reader will most likely infer that you didn’t take your time and that you may not take your time and pay attention to details if you were offered employment.

 

Education

No matter how much education you have, make sure that you list it. When you are writing your education make sure to include the dates and major/area of study. Be sure to include any training seminars or workshops that you have attended as well. While not all employers will require any education past a high school diploma or GED, the addition of higher education to your resume will present to the reader that you have sought out additional training to help make yourself more marketable and employable. Highlighting any past training or workshops that you have attended presents you to the prospective employer as someone who is continually seeking opportunities to better themselves, even while currently employed. 

 

I want to thank Bekah (waitressresume.net) for this guest post, and also thanks to you for reading.

Take care.

Nathan

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