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The Skills You (Should) Develop in Food Service

When you know how to make the most of the time spent in your food-service job, your paycheck will pale in comparison to the value of what you’ve learned.

  • Work in a fast-paced environment: Once you’re accustomed to handling a fast pace, you will become more adaptable and ready to handle peak activity in an office environment. You will be literally “thinking on your feet” and you will become prepared for action!
    • Adaptability & Multi-tasking: You will be given more than one duty and in order to keep your job, you must become adaptable and learn to multi-task in order to keep up with the (sink or swim) fast-paced environment.
    • Remain calm: Under constant stress; you will learn to deal with tense situations!
    • Stay “upbeat”: Handle complaints and unpleasant situations tactfully—this builds maturity! This is very useful in learning how to forgive when people are rude to you (and this world is unlikely to face a shortage of rude people anytime soon). After enough time, you can also learn to avoid getting upset in the first place. A seasoned food-service employee can handle rudeness; it will roll off them like water off a duck’s back.
  • Proactive: Anticipate needs—by handling the same situations over and over, you start to realize what will happen next; can anticipate situations to not just fix, but avoid problems.
  • Take initiative: Once you’ve learned to be proactive, you will be able to take the initiative to complete tasks without being asked.
  • Get over being offended: You will be working with people of various backgrounds. Foodservice often attracts workers who could be characterized as uncouth. Rough talk is perhaps the most common way for people to “blow off steam” from working in foodservice’s fast-paced environment. In an office environment, profanity and general crudeness is usually (hopefully) more tame. However, this is no guarantee that the people in your professional future will be proper ladies and gentlemen. Some people who have never been accustomed to the ugly side of life can’t handle it and quit a lucrative position only to find that their next office environment is populated with even more crude co-workers.
  • Communication skills: As part of handling rough situations, you will be able to “read” others (Emotional Intelligence) in order to know what to say and how to say it.
    • Knowing WHAT to say is important—but knowing what NOT to say is of even greater importance.
      • Knowing HOW to say only what needs to be said yields the best results.
  • Conflict Resolution/Customer Retention: When you learn good customer service skills, you will be good at one thing employers desperately need—you will be able to KEEP customers happy. In a more professional environment, highly-valued “big ticket” customers are usually called “clients” but the principles are all the same. Knowing how to maintain a positive relationship is valuable because the work done by Marketing and Sales—the way a company GETS clients—is very expensive. Therefore, keeping a client is far more cost-effective than constantly getting new clients. When existing clients are happy, the refer others  to the business which makes the sales team more productive. Referrals are (usually) free and do the work of the marketing department.
  • Inventory: Although inventory is a task often left to a member of management, it’s a good idea to ask to do inventory as often as possible to build organizational skills, versatility, and attention to detail. Taking inventory also helps you develop accuracy and shows that you are capable and willing to take extra responsibility. When a new member of management is needed you’ll be more qualified because you’ll have experience with some of the management duties. Getting promotions is always easier when you gain experience in crucial elements of the next level’s responsibilities.

For more help with learning the skills that can help you get the most out of your personal and professional career, contact Career Prep Academy at 317-641-4677 to schedule a consultation.


Some skills you may not realize you developed (or should develop) in a food-service job.

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