By Kristina Drendel
At the end of my senior year of high school, it seemed like the only job my friends would talk about was waitressing. One of our friends’ relatives was a server at the local Olive Garden and upon hearing about their experience, we all decided that we wanted to try it. It seemed like a glamorous job-tips could add up to over $100 a night! That was a huge difference from the $8.25 an hour I had been making previously. So, the day I turned 18, I applied to be a waitress at the only sit-down restaurant in my town. I’ve been a waitress for over two years now and wanted to list the pros and cons I have found throughout my experience.
No education requirement: Many jobs nowadays require a college degree, even though they aren’t really necessary. Waitressing is great because you do not need a college degree. This makes it the perfect job to start earning a livable wage right away. Technically you don’t even need a high school degree, although it is preferred.
Restaurants are always hiring: Unlike other industries, the food industry is consistently in need of more people. This is especially important with COVID-19 as many people were furloughed from their jobs and are in need of another way to make a living.
With tips, you can make a large amount in a short time: This is obviously dependent on how busy your restaurant is, but if it’s a busy night you can make $150 plus in just a few hours. Unfortunately, this isn’t constant as it depends on how much people decide to tip you.
Wage is tip based: As I mentioned previously, tips can allow you to make a large amount in a short time period. However, if your restaurant has a slow night, you might not make anything at all. Most places pay servers below minimum wage because with tips they will make above minimum wage. This isn’t always true though. I’ve had nights where after 6 hours of work I’ve only made about $20.
Little consistency: Every night is completely different. There’s essentially no way to predict if it will be a good night or a bad night. If you have to pay bills this can make waitressing a stressful job as you might not know if you will have the money to pay your bills on time.
Some people look down on servers: Because there is no minimum education requirement, some people will unfortunately make assumptions about your intelligence level. As a server, you work with people constantly which means there isn’t a way to avoid rude people. You just have to bite your tongue and hope they will leave soon enough.
Waitressing can be a great job but that doesn’t mean it is without its flaws. Be sure to take both the pros and cons into account if you are considering being a waitress or waiter. Personally, I have really enjoyed my time as a waitress and plan on continuing when I return from school.
Edited by Liz Eike