Friday, April 4, 2014

5 Ways to Get a Good Restaurant Job

I have been working at the same place for 7 years.  That does not call for applause, but rather a one-way ticket to the insane asylum.  People ask me all the time, "How do you get a job in a GOOD restaurant?  Are you guys hiring?"  After telling them that I won't recommend them to my place because I like them, I've decided to write a list of ways to ensure that you'll rise to the top when applying for a server or bartender position.

5.  FIND A GOOD HEADSHOT PHOTOGRAPHER
Welcome to Los Angeles!!!  That's right.  Not just a tool for the actor anymore.  A lot of places, like the W. Hotel, require you to send in a headshot along with your resume.  Yes, that's discriminatory and cruel, but it also explains why there are so many good looking people at these places.  And if you lack experience, your looks will help you out.  And since most of us in the industry are actors, we have access to a list of affordable photographers at our disposal.

4.  REFERRALS ARE YOUR BEST FRIEND
Literally!  The best way to get into a place is to already know somebody who works there.  And if you don't know anybody, get to know the bartenders at the place you have your eye on.  They always have their pulse on the restaurant, and might even be able to refer you to another place if their restaurant isn't hiring.  Just don't get too wasted while sitting at the bar.  Places don't hire lushes.  It's best to show your drunken side AFTER you've gone through training.

3.  TIMING IS EVERYTHING
Restaurants have a busy and a slow time.  Not just during the day, but also during the year.  Typically, the summer months are the slowest for most places.  Unless it's right on the beach or water--this doesn't apply.  Business starts to pick up again in the fall, so try to apply towards the end of the summer.  This way, you have all summer to work on your tan and get a good headshot, so you'll be looking good when your resume lands on a manager's desk.

2.  POUND THE PAVEMENT
Craigslist can tell you who's hiring, but I've like to actually hand my resume to a manager.  Just don't go during lunch!  Always go into a place between the hours of 2 to 4:30.  It's usually the change-over for the restaurant between lunch and dinner.  Unless you have nothing better to do and want to go in when it's busy and just start waiting on tables.  Who wouldn't like a volunteer waiter or bartender?

1.  TELL ME LIES, TELL ME SWEET LITTLE LIES
Not just for Fleetwood Mac fans, but also the way I got my start in this wacky industry.  16 years ago, I applied for a bartender position at The Four Seasons Hotel and Resort in Santa Barbara, got called in for an interview, lied that I had bartender experience, and the rest is history.  Most places are going to put you through a training program anyways, so if you're lacking experience, learn some basics, put your acting skills to work, and lie about having experience.  Yes, you'll have to fudge your resume a bit, but there are creative ways (and friends who'll lie) to get some experience on your resume as well.

And if you're still struggling, take the hint.  You'll be better off doing something else.

Until next time... Server's don't pay their rent with compliments.

"Bitter.  Party of 1?  Your table is ready."

The Bitter Bistro







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