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Pros and Cons of Waiting Tables as a Second Job

You have a job, but you are considering picking up work on the side. This may be a great way to meet financial goals, such as paying off debt or growing your savings account. Waiting tables as a second job has its own unique set of pros and cons.

You never know what the future holds. Gone are the days when graduates worked for fifty years for one company, retired, and lived off of their employer-sponsored retirement plans. No matter what career path they are on, savvy employees keep their eyes and ears open for opportunities, both in and out of the company.

Pros of Waiting Tables on the Side

1. Restaurant work for servers stays in the restaurant. You never bring your waitress or waiter job home with you.

2. If you have good people skills and are working in a busy or a fine dining restaurant (or both) you can do extremely well as a waitress.

3. The current trend in the restaurant industry is to hire more people with part-time hours, instead of fewer people with full-time hours. Now is a good time to pick up a second job as a server.

4. When you are ready to quit, you just give them notice. There will likely be no hard feelings, and you may have made some friends. Not all waiters and waitresses are career servers, and the restaurant industry expects some turnover.

5. You can save money by dropping your membership at the gym; a busy restaurant will give you all of the exercise you need.

6. Some employers include discounted or free meals as a perk or benefit; you may save some money on food.

7. It can actually be a lot of fun.

Cons of Waiting Tables on the Side

1. The uninitiated are often unaware of just how grueling and physically demanding waiting tables is. Exactly what types of labor waiters perform depends upon state law and individual restaurant policy. Any waiter may find himself running back and forth across a crowded room carrying hot plates searing into his flesh. Foot pain, excessive sweat, and chapping go with the territory.

2. Servers are good at lifting weights by default. You have to hold trays full of food and precariously balanced glasses over the head of diners with one arm while carrying the portable tray with the other arm. The impromptu choreography resembles a circus act.

3. You'd better be able to multitask. If you want to make money, you have to be able to serve multiple tables at once. That means remembering what each table wants all through the shift. This includes remembering the guy who told you he wants a drink while you danced by with the heavy tray and tray table described above. As far as this guy is concerned, he is your only customer. You can't break him of this fantasy without losing your tip.

4. You will do sidework. Servers who are great with customers lose their jobs if they don't do sidework well. Sidework in any restaurant will include polishing silverware, vacuuming the dining room, and possibly cleaning the bar. Depending upon local laws, sidework may consist of washing windows and cleaning the bathrooms.

If you are looking to pick up a second job and you think you have the strength, people skills and necessary sense of humor, you may find waiting tables for a while to be lucrative and a perfect solution.

Tell Us What You Think

Have you ever worked as a waiter or waitress? Leave us a comment or join the conversation on Twitter.

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(Photo Credit: Adikos/Flickr)


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