We all have a favourite restaurant that we love to go to with family and friends. To relax and enjoy the ambience, food, and the staff but next time you are dining please spare a moment of consideration for the waiter who is serving you.
Boris Johnson recently made a statement claiming that those who work in hospitality were ‘unskilled labour’ a statement that many found offensive and untrue. On the contrary Prime Minister, those who work in hospitality are hardworking, dedicated, and intelligent.
I have had the privilege of working alongside some of the most interesting, smart, and dedicated young men and woman. Many of whom are studying to become a lawyer, doctor or accountant and they are committed and eager to learn as a waiter too. Single mothers and fathers working whilst providing for their families and those who chose hospitality as their profession. You do not just choose to work in hospitality, you do it because you care. You care about the people you work with, and you care about the guest.
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Mahatma Gandhi
Many of the young waiters who serve you have travelled from across Europe and further and arrive in the UK alone for the first time. In London I have the honour to work in a multicultural environment. The waiters learn and embrace the English language on their own time, they do so to understand, to understand you the guest better and to meet your needs. I am fascinated and have admiration for their ability to do so. This shows determination, motivation, and intelligence.
You see I believe that working in hospitality as a waiter not only develops physical skills but also enhances social skills too. I have watched shy teenagers develop into confident managers and leaders. How socially awkward staff conduct themselves when dealing with difficult and challenging situations and how they thrive when working under pressured environments. Hospitality teaches you the importance of respect, honesty, kindness, and empathy. Core values that are not only used in business but in life.
They appreciate, respect and value their work colleagues. There is no ‘I’ in team when you work in hospitality. As a team you are devoted to deliver excellence night after night, service after service. This can only be achieved as a team and as a waiter you understand that no one’s job is more valuable than his colleague who stands beside him every single day, who helps selflessly to ensure his team is not struggling?
They work tirelessly to ensure you have a good experience. They miss holidays with their loved ones and families, nights out with their friends and special events such as Christmas to ensure your special occasion is simply perfect. They welcome you with a smile, listen to you, remember your name and your favourite table and drink. Regardless of what is happening in their lives they show up with a smile to make you feel welcome. All this when working extremely long hours and paid just a basic salary, but they choose to do it because they choose to serve.
So, the next time you are dining in your favourite restaurant please be kind to your waiter, they could be your next politician, movie star, doctor or even become your friend.