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  1. #1
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    How to be a waitress..Shy and no experience

    Hello

    I'm 28 and really want to try my hand at waitressing. I have always wanted to do it to push myself to meet people and be more outgoing and to make a good amount of money in a short time. I have social anxiety and get overwhelmed sometimes with simple conversation, but I have had customer oriented type jobs in the past, and I eventually learned to adjust to the job and the socializing part. But I know waitressing has alot more to it than just being outgoing and friendly. I'm afraid I would completely get flustered and tongue tied trying to talk to costumers and then get their order all wrong....I worked at a pizzaria UNOs about 6 years ago and started of as a hostess. I really tried to keep up with the pace, but I didnt feel like anyone really properly trained me and I was expected to just figure it out on my own. I also wasnt used to calling out orders to the kitchen staff really loud. I eventually got fired and that really knocked my confidence down..I'm afraid that will happen again.

    I want to start in an a small, slower paced restaurant and hopefully get some experience and confidence there. And then hopefully work in a faster paced restaurant where I can make some good tips... I am just worried that most places ONLY hire people with experience. I really want to know I can waitress if I had to. Maybe it was because my mom raised me and my sister as a waitress, and my sister waitressed in highschool, and it always seems like a good paying job to fall back on if you want to go to school or earn some extra cash.....

    Does anyone have any experience waitressing and/or can you give me your own advice. Is it a lost cause? Is it like most jobs where it takes a bit of time to adjust into and get comfortable with? Or do you really have to know what you are doing right away, or you'll get fired? Any input would help me...Thank...

  2. #2
    Platinum Member musicguy's Avatar
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    working as a cashier probably pays better than a waitress...plus you get to meet interesting people also. Experience helps a lot with any job, the more experience you have the more money you start off with. I don't know anything about being a waiter, but it can be a low paying job and a lot of waiters/waitresses rely a lot on good tips
    Last edited by musicguy; 07-03-2008 at 01:51 AM.
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  3. #3
    Bronze Member spunkmaster's Avatar
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    Hey there! I was in the same boat as you when I first started waitressing. I was PAINFULLY shy! However, when you start waitressing, you will figure out a script you say to customers...greet them when they come in, seat them, ask how they're doing while they're sitting, drink order, etc. etc. Overtime you will get used to talking to people and will not be just using your 'script' to communicate, you will find that you are comfortable starting convos with people--especially regulars! You may even find yourself flirting a bit lol!

    The most important thing to remember is to smile!! And also, show confidence, even when you don't feel it. A little bit of confidence and a friendly smile will take you a long way in the restaurant business!

    And I would say that waitressing definitely pays more (when you have decent tips) than being a cashier). Just my opinion though.
    Need extra money? Ask me about my legitimate work at home job! It won't make you rich quick, but it will put extra money in your pocket!


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  4. #4
    Platinum Member pianoguy's Avatar
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    I just started as a waiter. You definitely make WAY more money than as a cashier, unless you work at an extremely crummy restaurant. It's a pretty great job, I love it.

    Apply at a bunch of restaurants until you find one that you think will train you decently and where you feel comfortable. I was lucky to get really great training, and other servers look out for me, which is great.

    Some things to keep in mind:

    Know your menu. Take the menu home and study it when you're not working. The more you know about the menu the more confident you will be. If you don't know what something on the menu is, ask somebody.

    Know your alcohol, if the restaurant serves liquor. And its good to work at a restaurant that serves booze, because your tips go way up. Hang out with the bartender, or get a book that helps teach you about booze. It's good to know.

    Don't ever be afraid to say "I don't know," and ask for help. If it's with customers, tell them you're new and they will be very forgiving. If it's with coworkers, explain that you haven't done that before and get somebody to show you how.

    Always write down all the orders. Don't try to be a hero and memorize everything. That's for old waitresses who've been doing this for 20 years.

    If you aren't getting training, always get somebody to show you how to do something. You can't be blamed for doing something wrong that you don't know how to do.

    Smile all the time, act bubbly and sunny even if you feel like crap, and you will be rewarded. That's what the service industry is all about, appearing happy and caring.

    I think the most important thing is getting help if you're struggling. If you have too many tables to keep track of, get help. If you don't know how to carry trays, get help. etc. etc. It's always better to ask than to try and figure out something.
    "A productive and happy life is not something you find. It is something you make." Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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  6. #5
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    Hi Anon333,

    I am not a waiter/waitress, but I have been working in a small restaurant for a couple of years now (busser, dishwasher, cook, etc.). My biggest piece of advice would be to always be on top of everything. When you are working, you do not come first - the customers do. That said, after you take someone's order, always be checking the kitchen, seeing what is happening, offering something to the customer(s) if it is taking a while.

    You will surely encounter angry customers, but treat everything as a learning experience. If you think of a job as a job, and not as an opportunity to really learn something, then you won't be pushed to raise the standards of yourself and of the business you are working for. The most skillful waiters/waitresses I've seen are the ones who are polite yet are very diligent in what they do. If someone's main course is taking longer than expected to make, make sure those/that customer(s) always have something to eat and drink. If you make sure that the customers always have something (so they are not just sitting there with nothing on their table), regularly affirming them that you're on it (and actually being on it, not just saying you are), then that simple impression might bring them back on another day. Plus, you might get better tips.

    Hope that helps.

    Be well.
    "Where there is no love, pour love in, and you will draw love out."
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  7. #6
    Platinum Member thejigsup's Avatar
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    I was a waitress once. Worst job I ever had and I'm really outgoing and social. The job is tough and you are always tired and have sore feet. I was 18 and it exhausted me.
    Give me a good ol' desk job!

  8. #7
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    I current waitress at a little coffee shop part-time, and I am the shyest, most low self-esteem person ever! But I love my job. When I first started I felt just like you - I was very anxious, shy, and nervous. And I'll admit it - my first few weeks were hell. But, as time went on, I got more experience, got better at everything required in my job, and now I love it. You're never going to go into a job completely trained and knowing exactly what to do. You gradually learn and gain experiences by sometimes finding yourself in awkward situations or making small mistakes! But if it's something you really want to do I think you should give it a go - you'll probably end up loving it like me!

  9. #8
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    I really love hearing everyone else's opinion in all of this, as it helps me gain a little confidence for myself. I have heard you can really make a good living off of tips if you are a waitress, but I would think that would be in a fastr paced restaurant where you first need experience. WOuld anyone say this is true? I think I would need something slower pace to start off, or I could work in the afternoons of a restaurant and start off on a schedule where it is less busy and work my way up. I've also heard of people who start off hostessing or Bussing tables before they go into waitressing/waiting..IS this for the employee to get to know you and see if they want to train you?

    It was alos promising to hear from the shy people like me. I am hoping it will help me open up and find a new confidence in myself and meet people even. But I am deathly afraid it will do the opposite and I will feel like a complete failure like when I worked as hostess at UNO's. SO for those who started waitressing, was it hard to get a job waitressing/waiting without having experience? and how did you start off? Did you get trained and follow someone around, did you just start off on slow days when there were a few costumers? How do you get to the point of being able to waistress a bunch of tables and balance all that in order to get good tips? Also, how hard is it to remember all the drinks and the items on the menu? SOmetimes I am amazed at the waiters/waitresses that can describe the specials on the top of their heads. Also, I am vegan, so if someone asked about a non vegan item, I could not really give my opinion. Maybe I can work at a vegan restaurant. Thanks everyone...

  10. #9

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    Hospitality isn't my forte so take this with a grain of salt.

    Lie about having experience. When they ask (because you'll make mistakes) say it was different at your place and it was a long time ago. Make up a far away place that has since closed down where you used to work.
    Last edited by CaptainPlanet; 07-03-2008 at 12:51 PM.

  11. #10
    Platinum Member hers's Avatar
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    Start off at a little cafe, like a coffee shop first. That'll give you experience with working during a rush and working with customers.

    Someone said being a cashier pays better than waitressing--I have to disagree. I made a lot of good money as a waitress and worked barely 20 hours a week in college, a lot less than what a cashier has to work in order to make the same money.

    About the experience part: start out at a chain. I worked at a Chili's for 4 years in college and they hired all the time with no experience. Chains have you go through at least 4-5 days of training, and there's no calling out orders as it's all done by a computer. If you have questions or are unsure, ASK ASK ASK what to do. That's your responsibility if you feel you werent trained enough. Waitressing is a lot of fun, but yes, it can be tiresome.

    As for the going up to people, smile. Everyone is much easier on you if you have a smile. Even if it's a nervous smile, smile anyway. I am shy sometimes too, especially at tables with very attractive people, but I got through it b/c I remembered that "they'll be gone in less than an hour". You'll be fine.
    I'm as jumpy as a virgin at a prison rodeo!

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