Serving and Bartending – Jobs for Your Teen
Working in a restaurant was the first job for more than 25% of adults. And, almost 50% of adults have worked in the restaurant industry at least once during their life. Does a job or career in the hospitality industry make sense for your teens or young adult?
The Restaurant Industry is HUGE!
Across the country, the restaurant industry will employ more than 15.1 million people in 2018. This is about 10% of the nation’s workforce. In the state of Texas, there are 1,315,800 people in restaurant and foodservice jobs. That number is expected to grow over the next 10 years to include 216,200 additional jobs by 2028.
Although the industry is huge, there are a lot of people constantly entering and leaving their positions at restaurants and bars. Restaurant owners and operators have reported consistently that recruiting and retaining employees is a big challenge.
Why is there so much turnover? There are many reasons, but the two that seem to be most popular are:
- Many people associate hospitality work as a short-term/temporary job, ideal for gaining experience in the workforce.
- People plan to get a different job in their specific field of interest once a new opportunity is available
What’s the Truth?
The truth of the matter is that there are a lot of openings that need to be filled, so it’s easier for teens and young adults in high school and college to get into the industry! Although businesses like to favor experience, this is an ever-changing, evolving industry that isn’t afraid to take on young adults and train them for success. Although the hourly wage might not be much, the tips that are earned throughout the night usually make working in a bar or restaurant very worthwhile!
Important Skills to Have
There are a lot of different types of positions that someone might have in a bar or restaurant. The skills and responsibilities for a server or bartender is different than people who are involved in the food preparation or management of the business.
The biggest skills needed to be successful in a server or bartender position are customer service, multi-tasking, alcohol management and basic math. Luckily, all of those skills are easy to hone — even if you’ve never had a job before! And remember, even if you don’t have direct experience, you can always draw on skills that you’ve learned from school and volunteer positions such as timeliness, managing responsibilities, money management, and good people skills.
Alcohol Awareness/Training Course
In some states, sellers and servers of alcohol are required to complete a program that covers the laws associated with selling or serving alcohol. In the State of Texas, this course is known as the TABC course. It is considered optional, but many bars and restaurants require their employees to take it so that their business license will be protected. It covers the different state laws, along with how to deal with different specific situations such as how to respond to a minor that is attempting to buy alcohol, ways to identify a fake ID (and what you should do), and how to figure out when you need to stop serving alcohol to a customer. Kayla Hekimian-Williams, the Director of Education for 2Cool Server Training explains, “Taking a class like this is vital for anyone that sells or serves alcohol. For people like bartenders and waiters, there is a lot of risk involved. You can get in a lot of trouble if you don’t follow the rules. And that doesn’t just mean trouble at work. In some states, you can get in legal trouble if you serve someone who leaves the establishment and gets into a crash while they were under the influence of alcohol. So knowing the laws and how to react to different situations means that you know what is expected of you and how to protect yourself.”
Taking this type of course is also helpful with getting ahead of other potential applicants since it shows that you are eager and willing to learn. It also shows that you have familiarized yourself with a very important aspect of the position.