In college and married, a friend of mine suggested that I apply for a job at the Pizza Inn restaurant where he was a waiter. I did, and was hired.
My first night, a Saturday evening, the owner assigned me the task of washing glasses; I never worked as hard on a roofing crew as I did that night. The busier it got the more glasses I washed. From 5:00 p.m. until midnight, I took a couple of short breaks and at the end of my shift, I mopped the floors and washed the floor mats. It is a wonder that I returned the next night.
I was working at the Pizza Inn when Neil Armstrong took the first steps on the moon. The restaurant had a single television located in a corner of the dining room. Sunday’s were busy early in the evening but slowed around eight. Not this Sunday—excited about the lunar landing, our customers stayed late, drinking beer and eagerly watching the small television. When Armstrong took his historic step, the owner shouted “beer on the house.” When it dawned on him that he was giving away beer, he rushed to lock the door so no one else could take advantage of his generosity.
I ate pizza five nights a week. My diet varied only by the different toppings: Saturdays, pepperoni; Sundays, all vegetables, Wednesdays, hamburger and sausage and so on. I recall my disappointment having been invited by friends for a home-cooked dinner, to find they decided to order pizza. To this day, I have a hard time bringing myself to order a pizza.
Because time was in short supply, when not working I was studying. There wasn’t time to take a weekend at the beach, visit a tavern or goof off—I had to focus on my class work and job. I was surprised that I maintained a 4.0 grade average and was promoted at work. I learned staying busy is one of the best ways to manage time.
I have learning experiences from my time working in a restaurant: when someone has to wait for service, always keep them informed of progress; a fast response along with a small concession can make an unhappy customer happy; if you make the decision to give a product away, make sure you define the terms in advance; and add-on sales mean additional profits.
“I refer to the restaurant—and here I am guessing. But imagine the confidence, the civility required for people first to come to a strange table, possibly in a shady courtyard and to sit down with others whom they do not know, or only remotely know, without fear of being attacked or stabbed. An unknown chef then serves food, which they eat without fear that it may be poisoned. It’s a revolution! The restaurant opens a new era in social relationships. In those remarkable circumstances, one not only eats, one converses. And from conversation new ideas are born.”- Brian W. Aldiss, “in The Guardian”