Having patience and communication skills is a great way to make a positive impact on both your personal and professional lives. You might not realize that by working foodservice jobs, you can grow both these skills.

Getting a job in food service is a great way to earn extra cash. Many employers are willing to accommodate your schedule, allowing you to work around school or family obligations with ease. Often viewed as nothing more than a source of income, working in food service can teach you some valuable life lessons.

About as people-oriented as a job can get, food service is all about making the customer happy — and this is always a team effort. From clearly explaining menu items to putting orders in accurately and preparing food to customer specifications, communication skills are key. Some customers aren’t as much of a pleasure as others, so you’ll also quickly learn the art of patience.

Grow Patience and Communication Skills Through Foodservice Jobs

Selling menu items

If you’re a server, you’ll likely be required to recommend menu items to your tables. Even when it’s not mandated, patrons frequently rely on servers for advice on what to order. Effectively conveying the ingredients in the dish, the way it’s prepared and how it tastes can make all the difference in a customer’s dining experience.

Getting orders right

From a hungry customer’s standpoint, nothing is more irritating than not getting your order exactly as specified. If you’re a server, you must communicate with customers from the start —asking if they have any food allergies, what they want on their burger, etc. You’re then responsible for sharing this information with the kitchen and making sure your notes are understood. If you’re working in the kitchen, you need to be on the same page with servers on all orders, to be certain food is prepared according to customer requests.

Satisfying difficult customers

Most patrons are fun and friendly, but encountering those who are cranky, indecisive and demanding from time-to-time is inevitable. Patience is a virtue when faced with customers who insist on ordering off-menu or change their order five times. The ability to remain calm and go with the flow leads to happier customers and a lower stress level for you.

Working as part of a team

Food service is all about teamwork. It doesn’t matter if you’re a host, server, busser, dishwasher or cook, you won’t last if you can’t communicate. To keep customers happy, you’ll constantly need to both pass information along and absorb it, so everyone can do their jobs. Sharing knowledge — and fast — is the only way to keep the flow of the restaurant running smoothly.

When you have great patience and communication skills, you become someone people can talk to and rely on to keep a cool head. By working foodservice jobs, you can build on these skills to help set you up in the future.