Think about it. Really good servers in restaurants have:
- Worked hundreds, if not thousands, of client relationships, beginning, middle, and end—soup to nuts, if you will;
- Crafted countless custom sales pitches based solely on chicken scratch from a menu board or the unintelligible speed-talking of a too-busy-to-be-here chef;
- Learned to read an audience by tone and body language, tailoring each client experience by serving and suggesting, maximizing both customer satisfaction and profit;
- Multi-tasked in extremely chaotic environments—tens of multi-variable orders at somewhat unpredictable stages of completion amidst a cacophony of distractions;
- Paid attention to the smallest of details, from filling water to replacing lost forks without being asked, because it’s the little things that add up;
- Dealt with the disappointment of getting stiffed even when everything in their power went right; and,
- Managed the most difficult of coworker personalities, from diva chefs to vindictive seating hosts to aloof bartenders to underpaid and underappreciated bussers.
Can you imagine a better trial-by-fire experience for future business success? Next time you are interviewing someone for a job, ask him if he’s ever waited tables, worked as a caddy or valet, or had a summer job at a hotel or resort. Ask him if he earned good tips and how he did it. He might just tell you what you want to hear.