It would be impossible to describe a hospitality job without mentioning the position's ups and downs. On the one hand, it’s a ton of fun. You’re surrounded by–usually–fun people, and it has the opportunity to be very lucrative. On the other hand, the work is demanding, the hours are long and late, and dealing with customers can be dreadful.
After years of working in several positions in hospitality, we’ve seen our fair share of positive and negative positions. We’ve dealt with plenty of different customers, good and evil, and wanted to share why we think hospitality sucks but is essential for everyone to do at some point in their lives.
There are some great benefits of working in hospitality.
Before we get into it, when we say hospitality, we’re referring to restaurants, bars and nightclubs. These positions tend to have similarities regarding the pros and cons of working in hospitality.
As we mentioned with any job, a job in a restaurant or bar has its pros and cons. So what are the benefits of working in hospitality?
1. It’s fun
When working in hospitality, you’re usually surrounded by people who are similar to you and love having a good time. Most times, showing up to a shift can hardly feel like work because your friends surround you, and it’s common to find staff in hospitality not taking life too seriously.
2. It's social
Most of your shift is spent talking to people. Guests, your coworkers, the delivery guy. This is great if you’re a social butterfly, as there’s no shortage of people to sling banter with.
3. Working hungover is hardly frowned upon
This goes hand in hand with working with your friends who love having a good time. Nine times out of ten, you’ll go for after-work drinks, which will lead into the wee hours of the morning, leading you to turn up for your shift hungover.
While not entirely accepted by management with open arms, this behaviour is usually somewhat anticipated and isn’t grounds for immediate dismissal.
4. You learn real-life skills
Working in an insanely fast pace and demanding environment is not typical of other entry-level positions. Working in hospitality will teach you time management, customer service, patience, hustle and compassion. Strengthening these skills every day is crucial, and should you decide to leave this industry, they translate into future employment.
And while maybe not viewed by all as a critical life skill, we think learning a handful of classic cocktail recipes like the back of your hand is essential. If you ask us, knowing what drink to order at the bar is a real-life skill.
5. It’s lucrative
Even though the starting salary for restaurant workers is usually below minimum wage, the opportunity to make tax-free cash tips is always attractive. Having a pocket full of cash at the end of a shift is never a bad feeling, especially when heading to late-night happy hour with the gang. Should you have the insight to save some of this cash, you have the opportunity to set yourself up for success financially.
6. Constant access to food and drinks
The kitchen is usually close by, and most restaurant jobs include a free meal or a discount. This means you don’t have to shop as much, and if you’re anything like us, you can eat all the time. Those discounts on food can also extend to drinks, and if you have a good manager and worked hard throughout your shift, you’ll likely be given a high five and a free beer after work. I’ll take two.
It sounds like all fun and games, right? Working with your friends and having immediate access to all the food and drinks. Not so fast. If it was easy, everyone would do it.
Then what are the downfalls of restaurant jobs?
Like most things in life, a story has two sides. Working in hospitality is no different. While there are some excellent benefits, there are also some significant downfalls. Many positive things can also be viewed as negatives, and it can always come down to who you ask and on what day.
We’ve seen friends come and go, arguments with guests blow up, and extended shifts leading to a late-night drinking session. When thinking about a career in a restaurant, it’s crucial to get a complete understanding of the good and the bad.
1. Low wages
While a position in hospitality may be lucrative financially, you usually start with below-average wages. In some places, some rules say you can get paid below minimum wage. This will impact your cost of living and potentially your future when looking to purchase more significant ticket items, like a home or a car.
If you’re not responsible with your money, you can live paycheck to paycheck and spend all the cash you make on tips.
2. A toxic work environment
Due to the fast-paced nature of hospitality, team members, managers, and even sometimes guests are high-strung. This can lead to explosions between teammates and a toxic working environment. Many times, people will have to work with people they don’t get along with for long periods, and it’s not uncommon for people to leave a place they like because of their work.
3. You’re constantly surrounded by alcohol
Having unlimited access to food and drinks is a fantastic quality of working in hospitality. However, if you treat this privilege incorrectly, it will lead to alcohol and substance abuse. We’ve seen plenty of our teammates develop serious alcohol abuse problems that can cripple their social lives.
For anyone struggling with these issues, groups of people are committed to helping you lead alcohol-free lives.
4. You work late
Working late is great for night owls. However, constantly working late usually means an irregular sleeping schedule. If you’re not careful, you can spend all day sleeping and all night working, leading to a lack of vitamin d and good times.
5. It’s dangerously easy to have a terrible diet
Window fries are one of the most dangerous things about working in hospitality. The constant access to fried food, high carb dishes and irregular meal times leads to a less than ideal diet. It takes a strong will to turn down the fourth and fifth dessert of the day when it’s staring you right in the face begging to be eaten.
6. Unpredictable schedule
Having a set schedule when working in a restaurant is very rare. Shift work means you work a mix of mornings and nights, weekdays and weekends, and it’s almost impossible to get into a routine. Requesting time off is another battle, as managers always seem short-staffed and are anxious about giving time off.
Pro tip: plan those vacations well in advance, and ask for time off when your manager is in a good mood.
7. Limited recognition for hard work
We get it, we’re not saving the world or solving world hunger, but thanks for your hard work goes a long way. If you constantly find your manager rushing around too busy to notice the 10-hour shift you pulled and 15 guests' asses you had to kiss for them to leave a nice tip, you’re not alone. Limited recognition is a common issue in hospitality and one that's a tough cookie to crack.
So, are bartender jobs worth it?
We believe working in hospitality is crucial for everyone to do for at least a portion of their lives. It teaches humility, and patience gives you thick skin and teaches you empathy. It reduces the chance that you’ll grow up to be the type of person who leaves no tip because they didn’t get a lemon in the water as they asked. It teaches you that not everything is perfect, and sometimes you must roll with the punches. But most of all, bartender jobs teach you how to handle your liquor and give you a basic understanding of what makes food and cocktails delicious.