A lot of what happens in hospo is done behind closed doors. From the prep work to the pack down, much of the job is kept away from the public eye. Considering this, there’s no doubting that you may have encountered a few surprises (hopefully pleasant) upon entering the industry as a chef or member of the floor staff.
With all the current staff shortages across the Australian hospitality industry we’re seeing people who have never worked in hospo before behind the bar and in the kitchen. So to get them up to speed with all of the unknowns of foodservice, we’ve put together a list of “things they don’t tell you in foodservice”:
1) You’ll make loads of new friends! But maybe struggle with others.
If you have worked in hospo long enough, you’ve definitely heard someone describe it as “a great way to meet people.” And it’s true! It is a great way to meet all kinds of characters and build strong relationships with likeminded people. However, what they don’t tell you is that the long hours and sporadic rosters can make it tough to remain connected with friends outside of the hospo community. Be sure to encourage your friends to attend your venue so that they can get to know your work mates as well!
2) Aprons + washing machines = disaster.
Aprons are all the rage in foodservice, with many chefs and floor staff sporting the trendy look. But if you’re the type of person who piles up your laundry until the last clean sock has been worn twice, then you might want to reconsider your approach. Washing multiple aprons at once is a recipe for disaster, as they’ll become a tangled mess if this is your strategy.
3) “Behind” or “Backs” will become your most used (non-curse) word.
The calm and ambient restaurant front that customers are greeted with is much different to what’s actually happening behind the scenes. Being successful behind the bar or in the kitchen often requires a frantic pace and high-level communicative skills. A stern “backs” or “behind” will let others know your passing by and ensure they don’t turn into you with that hot bowl of soup. Ouch.
4) More prep, less action.
What a lot of newcomers do not understand, is that you’re likely to spend more time prepping for an evening service, than you will actually running it. Every meal, drink and dessert must be properly prepped outside of the typical ‘rush’ hours to ensure you’re ready for anything. If you’re trying to shuck oysters at 8pm, it’s going to be a long night.
5) There is an unofficial war between floor staff and the back of house.
Although it’s mostly banter, there is certainly a divide between the back and front of house staff. Sure, after work might be all fun and games, but when a plate gets sent back, you’ll want to avoid the crossfire when people start finger-pointing. If you’re the type of person who likes being there for a good argument, then the pass is the best spot to watch the action erupt. Popcorn please!
So there it is, 5 things that they don’t tell you about working in hospo! Have we missed anything? If so, we’d like to hear about it! Jump on our Facebook page or Instagram account to share your insights into the industry!