3 Blogging Lessons from 3 Years in a Restaurant

Hi East & readers! My name is Kiersten, and usually you can find my over at She is Fierce, where I like to write about blogging, current events, feminism, and even some creative writing among other things.  Today though, Nadine was nice enough to let me come hang out with you guys and talk about what waitressing throughout college has taught me about blogging.

photo from here

Throughout college – and even now that I have a “real” job in my field – I spent my weekend nights serving cocktails and Bangers and Mash to hundreds of different people.  One could argue the point that all this got me was a deep-seated hatred for kilts and enough money to pay the bills, but I’d say I learned so much more than that.  There have been a million lessons buried underneath the tables to be bussed and $14.00-after-taxes-paychecks, and some of those lessons have helped me out in the blogging world.

 1 // It’s not as easy as it looks

As a waitress, I had a lot of people insinuate that what I was doing was easy because it was not a job which required a college education.  “Why should I tip you,” they would ask, incredulous. “All you do is bring me my food.”  Let me just be the one to tell you – it is so much more than that, and so is blogging.  When I started my first blog, a joint effort with my high-school best friend five years ago, I thought it would be as easy as write when I feel like it, hit the publish button, and be done with it.

Five years later, and I can tell you that writing it and hitting post is a lot more than 1-2-3, and after that, there’s plenty more work like sponsorships, affiliate programs, social media, e-mails, and much much more.

2 // Some people just don’t want to be happy

At least not with what you’re able to give them.  You’ll have customers come into an Irish restaurant looking for a specialty frozen margarita, who simply won’t understand why that’s not an option here but might be at the Mexican restaurant a block away.  You’ll have women who insist on remaining in the restaurant throughout a two hour black-out which is spanning a three-block radius, and who will demand that you bring them food even though the kitchen is literally pitch black.  Surely they are aware that these are illogical requests, but they will ask anyway.

As a blogger, you will get these questions as well.  Fashion bloggers will request that your food blog write more about which foundation you prefer.  Companies will ask you to advertise their product free-of-charge.  And they will be simply incredulous when you cannot fulfill their requests.  Trust me when I say, they know their requests are ridiculous, and they are not going to be happy with any of your reasonable offers to help them.

3 // It’s all worth it at the end of the day

Usually, at least.  You might have had a 6-year-old throw his cranberry juice at you because he wanted ketchup, and you might have had a table leave without tipping you.  But at the end of the night, when you’re counting your tips, it’s usually worth the last nine hours you spent running a marathon around the restaurant.

In blogging, I’ve found that despite the rude comments, and the posts that don’t seem to go over as well as you’d expected, it’s usually all worth it for the incredible community you get back, and the rewarding feeling you get to experience when you see that people are actually enjoying what you have to say.

Nadine here, and I have to add, I was once a waitress and to this day, it was the hardest job I ever had. But isn’t Kiersten awesome? Make sure you head over to She is Fierce, follow on Bloglovin, or catch up with Kiersten on Twitter.

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  • Lovely post and all three tips are so true! I was a waitress for 5 years thru college / university and goodness me it was a hard job. xx

    • Thanks, Toni! I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks waitressing was/is a difficult job!

  • Love this! I’ve worked in a few restaurants (although I was on the chef end of things) and I can’t even begin to tell you what an appreciation I gained for servers. I felt like I had it so easy because I never had to deal with grumpy customers–servers caught all of my flack if I made an error a customer didn’t like.

    I love the parallels you drew to blogging–so true, all of them. 🙂

    • Oh gosh, I don’t know if I could ever work in the kitchen though…

      Thank you – I’m glad you agree 🙂

  • Great points, Kiersten! I have to admit that I never waitressed because I actually thought it looked too difficult (sometimes just walking is enough to make me trip and spill my drink all over myself) but I had a lot of friends who did growing up. I heard a lot of their struggles, and like you said, many of them do feel similar to some of the things we struggle with as bloggers. Thanks for sharing this fun post!

    • I avoided it for so long! But when I finished my freshmen year of college my mom made me apply. And I have to admit that it usually is good money.

  • Loved your post….great way to look at it. I am new to blogging. I have only been doing it for 2-3 months.

    • Thanks, Debbie!! Good luck with your blog – I hope these ideas help you in some way 🙂

  • I super appreciated this post, especially the first point. I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to have people look down on you because you’re “just a waitress.”

    • I know – my cousin actually was just telling me how she was on a date recently with a man who told her he believed working in a restaurant was “beneath him” – after she told him that she and much of her family currently or at one time waitressed! Like what makes you think you’re better than anyone?

  • I needed this inspiration! I have written 3 revised calendars with blog post ideas and the day I’d like them to go up, but it just never happens. Now I’m just shooting for twice a week and going from there until I can get a more constant hang of it.

    • I have that problem too, Amber! I’ve been working on creating an editorial calendar, or I guess I should say sticking to one. I have two months worth of posts planned, but those never seem to be the ideas I end up writing about!

      Sometimes slowing yourself down is really the best thing though! You can’t force creativity or writing, and 5 days a week can be pretty unrealistic at times

  • Very thought provoking. I would have to say I agree with the first point so much so. It is much harder than you think it may be.

    • Exactly! So many people eat out and think a monkey could do it. If only they could have our job for a single busy Friday night and then see what they say about it!

  • Number 1 = all the truth!

  • Personally, I always thought waitressing looked way difficult – I could never carry those trays! #2 is so true – some people will never be satisfied, will always want it all, and there’s just absolutely no point in trying to had to please them.

    • I tried to avoid it, Marielle! But I have to admit, as hard as it is the money is better than what I would have made doing anything else during college.

      But you’re right – it’s definitely not just in waitressing and blogging that people are ridiculously difficult to please! It’s like if you’re going to be that difficult, stay home and do it yourself.

  • Yes yes yes I so agree, and I know so people who like to be miserable such as my sister Sue she is her own worse enemy and I swear the woman likes being in a sad place.

    • I’m sorry to hear that Jo-Ann, but you’re right – there are people who just don’t want to be happy!

  • Yes to all of these, I was a busser and hostess at a restaurant when I was in high school. They are all so true for the food industry (and really any customer service industry) and blogging.

    • You’re right – I definitely think these apply to so much more than waitressing and blogging. I’ve just found that waitressing is so high-stress it magnifies it all. But it’s really any job that these could apply to.

  • I worked in fast food all throughout high school and now in university and it’s a lot harder than people expect it to be! A friend of mine is currently a waitress and she has pre-work anxiety. It definitely takes a lot of patience and tolerance which is very similar to blogging. I really enjoyed reading this!

    • Pre-work anxiety is definitely something I dealt with in the beginning, and I can remember seeing other waitresses deal with awful anxiety in the middle of a shift. I’ve seen girls cry because of the way managers or customers treat them – it’s just so high stress and fast paced, you don’t have time to calm down because you have 6 other tables waiting for something. You’re definitely right that it’s so much harder than people imagine!

  • I like how you ended it, its all worth it, that was really cool

    • haha Thanks, Zaby 🙂 For the most part, it really is!

  • Couldn’t agree more, particularly on the second point!

  • Some people just don’t want to be happy. You nailed it, that’s so so true.

    • Thanks, Chelsea! It’s definitely something you encounter everywhere – not just in blogging and restaurant work.

  • Oh this gave me a giggle!

    I am a lawyer, and I have been for 10 years since I finished law school at 22. You know, I have always looked at waitresses and thought their job looks TERRIFYING. I could never do it! I get anxious at the mere thought of worrying about carrying plates and dropping them, forgetting orders, dealing with obnoxious people. It is seriously a job I would never be capable of doing.

    And I think that some people will never be happy is a good point. The internet seems to make these people even louder than they could ever have been before, and they are so prolific! I try to ignore them, but i have my days when I snap and respond.

    • I actually recently started working in a law firm, and sometimes the stressful situations I see the lawyers I work for dealing with rival what I dealt with as a waitress. It’s definitely a stressful field!

      I admire you for avoiding responding – my roommate is always yelling at me for “feeding the trolls,” but some of the things people say just set me off when it’s something I feel strongly about.

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