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An Insider's Work on the Restaurant Biz

I figured I'd put up a some thoughts on what it is like to work in the restaurant biz in Manhattan since I did it for eight months. In one word: crazy. But seriously, restaurant work is really only for those people who are completely psycho. I was pulling 70-80 hours a week and most people would call that pretty weak for the restaurant biz. A lot of chefs start their careers working at 100 plus hours per week. Still, there is a culture about the restauranteurs that I met. It's not work for them and to be honest, it never really felt like work for me either. The best part of the restaurant biz is the food and beverage culture that you get immersed in. For anyone who wants to learn a lot about food and not pay to learn, but instead be paid to learn, the restaurant industry is great. Of course, the price is the hours worked.

If you want to learn the restaurant biz in Manhattan, you have to start at the bottom. Ultimately, every restaurant is going to desire managers who can honestly say they've worked every position and know how things should be done because they've already done every job. In Manhattan especially, there's the added obstacle that you really can't start to be a waiter unless you learn to bus tables and be a runner. A runner is just someone who runs food from the kitchen to the tables, but doesn't really interact with the customers.

If you're really lucky, you can find a restaurant that is opening, track down the owner and tell him you'll work for free just so you can learn the biz. You'd be surprised how open a restauranteur is to this because there are so many things to do in a restaurant opening. Most restauranteurs have a pre opening list that has hundreds of things that have to be done before an opening.

Submitted by:

Jonathan Chin

Jonathan Chin is a contributor to http://www.intensecooking.com. Check us out for more great foodie stuff.



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