Allow me to apologize in advance if you have had terrible experiences with servers, bartenders, or inept managers. Your food has no doubt at one time or another arrived cold, oversalted, untimely, bland, or even unedible. These are some of the unfortunate issues that arrive when dining out, and for some employees, this will be as good as it gets, but for many, the job is just a small step in their life where they can refine skills in an area they are interested in. Once a few of these skills are honed, they become a force that industries across the board should be embracing. Just to name a few.
Patience- Rarely, do things run effortlessly. The average server or bartender will be responsible for 15-25 seats at a given time. This means that one person can keep their head and stay focused amidst of an onslaught of questions about menu items, dietary restrictions, available substitutions, product sources, food and beverage pairings, cooking techniques, and personal ones like my favorite, “ So is this your real job?”, all while continuing to smile and manage requests, from a consumer holding an App in their hands, ready to brutally critique your performance and make it available to everyone.
Sense of Urgency- While you shouldn’t see it, you have no doubt seen a server or bartender “In the Weeds”. This is because they are reliant on their team to deliver the product as described, to the end-user, as quickly as possible. The best servers and bartenders in the world are scowling(mostly in private) because they know they have to give someone disappointing news, or are forced to ignore a guest who just sat down at a dirty bar seat, or have to manage an order for 20 old-fashioned cocktails with 15 different whiskeys to a large table that decided to show up without a reservation, simultaneously. A task some might find impossible, a person with a sense of urgency always steps up to the challenge, and not just for the money or their team, but for their name as well.
Intelligence- Food and Beverage, being sort of up there in our hierarchy of needs, has an incredible past, present, and future. The rich history of how people nourish and reward themselves around the world is fascinating to many of us. In the midst of all the pressure of the job itself, having answers on deck about anything from the subregions of Burgundy or Barolo from north to south, to how sodium alginate works, the differences between raki and ouzo, where beer comes from, why sous vide the octopus, what’s in a soufflé, is it gluten/dairy/sugar/locally sourced and GMO free? These of just a few of the questions the average server or bartender will receive in a 20 minute timeframe. Many of us take pride in teaching our guests, and as a representative of your company, will do the same.
I implore you. Set aside a few time slots to interview someone pivoting out of the Food and Beverage industry. Not only will you potentially add a team member with a few of the virtues I just mentioned, but someone who will no doubt be ready to entertain and inform potential or existing clients, work alongside other departments for a common objective, and seal the deal with a heightened sense of urgency while always remaining fiduciary.