When you cook in your own home, you know where every single utensil is. When you are cooking food for your own family, there are no time pressures. And even if you have guests coming over for dinner, there’s no rush. If they get to your house at 5:30 PM and the food is not ready until 7 PM, no one cares. They are still going to eat the food, and they are still going to enjoy it. At the end of the day, whether or not you prepare a meal at home on time has no real life consequences.
It is quite another thing preparing food in a kitchen at a restaurant. As anyone who has worked in the back of the restaurant can testify, a restaurant kitchen can be a very stressful environment.
The Stress of Getting It Just Right
Restaurant cooks don’t work 40 hour weeks. They work when the restaurant is open. Every single meal must be identical, and every single meal must taste great.
The Stress of Getting Food out on Time
Restaurant owners understand their customers. They know that if their customers have to wait more than five minutes for a beverage, they are going to be annoyed. Make them wait more than 30 minutes for their meal and they may walk out while writing negative reviews about the restaurant at the same time.
The Stress of Keeping Things Organized
When you work at a restaurant, everything must be organized. All the food must be prepped and in its place. Just having one thing out of order can throw an entire night off. At the end of the day, the fryers must be cleaned, the flattop grill degreased, and every bowl, plate, cup, and piece of silverware cleaned and put back in its place. Additionally, the floors and the walls of the restaurant must be sanitized.
Cleaning a restaurant is no easy task. The frenzy that is created by working inside a restaurant leaves the back of the house looking like a place that was destroyed by a tornado.
The Stress of Making Money
Profit margins for restaurants are very slim. New appliances are rarely purchased. If there is a problem with the walk-in cooler, for example, it is better to order walk in cooler door parts than buying a new door. Financially, in restaurants there is no room for mistakes. Every dish that is made wrong is money that is not going into the pocket of the owner.
The Joy of Working at a Restaurant
Interestingly, the same stress and frustration level that makes working in a restaurant a challenge is the same thing that attracts so many people to it. For a lot of people, the excitement of working in restaurants is just in their blood.
Image courtesy of Neeta Lind via Flickr