Misconceptions of working in cafés

The differences between working, and the idea of working in café.

Charity Chan
Charity Chan

Published: 19 August 2015, 2:03 PM

After seeking nicely decorated cafés that offers great food, your pleasant dining experiences might have made you consider working as a barista, a chef, or join the service crew.

Perhaps, while sipping on your lattes, you might be inspired to start one yourself.


Don’t be deceived by what cafés in Korean dramas show you.
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However, with your brief encounters in these cafés or restaurants, how could you have possibly understood the way they operate, as well as the different tasks assigned to each employee?

From my two months’ experience working as a waitress in several restaurants and cafés, I can assure you that everything you see on the surface may not be what it seems.

Here are four misconceptions of working in cafés:

1. We have free meals from the kitchen


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This is what I have observed and heard from other café part-timers; unless it is a wrong order, most cafés do not use their resources for their own service crew members.

Simply said, there is no free food for us. A few, I repeat, only a few café managers will be kind enough to get the chefs to take your order during your breaks. This is why I am often stumped when customers ask me for recommendations.

Next time, just ask your friends who tried the food to suggest some of their favorites, or check out reviews of the café online.


2. We relax during non-peak hours


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We might have less customers during non-peak hours, but that does not mean that we can relax on the couch and use our phones.

Managers often make full use of these opportunities to get their service crewmembers to refill condiments and clean the café. From my experience working in bigger establishments, I had to keep standing until my break time starts. (So much for a break!)

3. Everything we do is a piece of cake


Sometimes the crowd magically appears before peak hours, and you will have too much to handle.
Photo credit: memecenter.com


Most customers assume that our jobs as service crewmembers only includes taking orders and serving them. That is not all.

Once we enter the kitchen, some of us might be in charge of doing the dishes as well. At the end of the day, we also have to make sure that the café is spotless and ready for the following day.

Personally, the most physically demanding task is to sweep the area. After having to stand the entire day, hunching your back to sweep just makes it more tiring.

4. We are friendly  


We may not seem nice after all.
Photo credit: weheartit.com


You might have noticed that most service crewmembers will greet you with a smile. They might appear friendly, but at least half of them do not bother smiling at others when they are off duty.

Essentially, you do not need to be an approachable human being in real life to be in the service line; you just have to smile at the right time while working.

Before you make any decisions about working in the F&B industry, please reconsider your options. Only do so if you are truly passionate about the industry, and do not mind getting your hands and feet dirty.

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