It’s hard to describe working at a popular NYC restaurant. I feel like I’m not that special, plenty of people work in the restaurant industry all around the world, but something about New York makes you feel like your in a different world sometimes.
The place I work now is very much “Rachel Ray comes here for brunch”- which she has- and my old restaurant was more “let’s take the entire soccer team of 10 year old here AFTER a tournament.” It could be any more different.
What’s the Tea?
What it’s really like working in an NYC restaurant: crazy. There are nights where you don’t have a 10 second window to drink some water or run to the bathroom. There are nights where everyone is late for their reservation and you end up running a half hour late. There are nights where you have to reset every table or clean up broken glass or get yelled at because you can’t change a party of 4 to 7 AND move it to 6:30. People, for whatever reason, always assume that we hide some mystery tables somewhere that we just don’t tell them about. I don’t get it either.
New Yorkers have the bad reputation of being very pushy and rude. Now working at a popular NYC restaurant, I can definitely confirm this. I’ve had my share of overly pushy customers on the phone or “are you suuurreee you can’t just squeeze us in,” multiple times in a row. It’s frustrating to keep repeating yourself just with different words, but people apparently don’t get it. I can also say though, the rude people are fewer than you’d expect. Most of the time they get a little upset but ultimately understand there isn’t much we can do.
I think it’s important to remember when working at a popular just how unlikely it is that you’ll ever see these customers outside of work and that you just have to be polite in the moment. You can have your moment later, bitch about it in the back, but right now you just have to deal. It sucks, but it’s a big part of working in a restaurant in general. Having a fake customer service voice is sooo common and it’s really funny to hear it turn on once you’re friends with everyone.
So. Many. People.
One of the best things about working in any restaurant, but in NYC specifically is that you meet so many different people. You make new friends from all over the city and more often than not, they’re originally from all different places. I love the people I work with. A lot of them have this really sarcastic, cynical humor, which I definitely think comes from working in hospitality. You really do become a family of sorts working in a restaurant. Everyone relies on each other when things get rough, they are the ones there for you. As cheesey as it is, it’s really nice to come into a place where so many people are friends and just kind of welcome you into their little circle of work friends.
Famous people like brunch too
The other best thing about working at a popular NYC restaurant is, of course, seeing famous people. Seeing actors/musicians/models is nothing out of the ordinary in the city, but having them stand right in front of you is something different. The first person I saw in real life was Jonathan Van Ness from the new “Queer Eye.” I freaked out a little before and while he was sitting but you can’t say anything. To us they’re just supposed to be any other normal customer. It’s honestly hard not to freak out when people you really like show up. It’s also a lot of fun to see them come in like normal humans and just hang out and talk to us. We’re supposed to keep it on the DL when these kinds of people come in, but pretty much the whole restaurant knows when it happens. Oops.
Working in a restaurant is slightly stressful at times, as you’ve probably seen if you’ve ever been in a NYC restaurant. Shit can and definitely does hit the fan sometimes, but that happens no matter where you work. I would definitely be working in other places before jumping right into a busy city restaurant, but everyone will look out for you and make sure you don’t crash and burn if you haven’t. 10/10 would recommend. You’ll make good money and get to see famous people. This is definitely one of the perks of working at a N
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I'm Aleena, I go to Pace University in Manhattan and I'm currently studying communications and journalism. I love anything fashion/beauty related, writing, cats, and raves. I'm also really into astrology and zodiac signs and I am very much a Scorpio even though I was born on the cusp. I love writing (poetry and just my thoughts) and do a lot of it even in my free time. My dream job would be writing for a big name fashion magazine like Vogue or maybe writing my own sappy poetry book.