Dining Out for Those in The Business

Posted on January 10, 2012

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I was speaking with a co-worker, while working at a non-restaurant job, about working in a restaurant. He had been asking me questions, with interest, because his father wanted to open a cafe and it turned out neither of them ever worked in a restaurant. Not that everyone has, but most people have worked in retail or a restaurant at one point, even if it was briefly or as a teenager. Still, the conversation was interesting.

ā€œSo, do you like eating out at restuarants when you are not at work?ā€

I was somewhat stunned. I eat out all the time, I thought to myself. I enjoy it. I have my favorite spots. But my co-worker was after something different.

He sought to ascertain whether I like being around my work when I am off the clock. That is a legitimate question. I have a friend who works in IT, and for recreation he wanders around the Blue Ridge Mountains. Aside from workaholics, most people avoid their work outside the shop.

Restaurants are a little bit different, because regardless of whether you work in the business or not, dining out can be unavoidable. However, it usually only feels like work if you visit the restaurant you work at.

In that case, you cannot escape the fact that this is your place of business. You will see your co-workers. You will order off the menu from which you serve people. The window table with the great view is table number 8. That said, employees often dine at the restaurant they work at. And employees often enjoy visiting work off the clock.

The question also made me think about a different topic. Does dining out feel different than before I waited tables? A little bit.

I notice all of the details in front of me. All of them. I can recognize mistakes and missed details faster than others. I know what details are negligible. I am aware of why there are delays in service that are not the employee’s fault. Also, I can discern how well the restaurant is operated. And none of this is a bother.

The last year or so, I have seen it as an opportunity to explore and try new things and new places. And in that respect, I really do enjoy learning while I am dining out.

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