May I take your order?

BY: Robert Hill

I’ve had conversations over the last week about my background, and I thought maybe it was worth sharing.

I was a bartender. I loved it. It provided a basis of training for all the different relationships that I have to manage today. In the restaurant business, you are dealing with people who are hungry or thirsty or both. Humans need food and drink, so when it doesn’t go well, people can get emotional. We call that “hangry.”

I learned the faster the service, the better.

I learned to make conversation … with anyone! You realize that people don’t always speak up when they are upset. You can either take that as an opportunity to avoid the situation and potentially lose that customer forever, or perhaps, if you dig a little deeper, you can make them a customer for life.

I found out work can and should be fun!

Most importantly, I had several interactions with people who didn’t look like me, talk like me or grow up in the same place I did. They were not my age, we shared no common interests, but I needed to develop a “repour” with them to help make a little more tip money in a short amount of time. Without that, I would not have been able to survive while supporting myself through school.

Suppose you are an employer, lookout for people who spent time slinging cocktails or grilling steaks. If you are a parent, encourage your kids to get a job in the food & beverage industry. It’s great money, and if they find themselves somewhere like a prestigious golf club, they will be surrounded by people who can help them advance their careers. I’ve helped lots of young people with my network simply because of their work ethic or attitude while I visited their restaurant or bar. I wish I had known back then the favours I could have leveraged, because I was the favourite bartender, of course!