I’ve been working in food service for about 4 years on and off now. Mostly because it’s one of the easiest and most profitable jobs to get into to make some extra on the side. Yes, I have to clean up after people’s nasty eating habits (seriously, have you never learned to eat? Or to color within the lines? Eating on a plate is kind of the same thing). And I’ve learned that there are a few personalities I always encounter in the business.
Personally, this person pisses me off a lot. I don’t know if these people play manager in the same way I used to pretend I was a boy because they think they have seniority, because they lack control in other aspects of their sad lives, or because they just like going on power trips, but they always piss people off. Especially if their pretend-manager status actually lands them the actual manager status. Known for their casually, almost-politely phrased sentence that actually means “do this, bitch.” If you feel like you’re being watched, you probably are because this ass is constantly watching you so that when you mess up, they can pounce and prove their superiority (this goes double if you guys are within 5 feet of a manager/owner).
- Lazy Ass
For some reason you cannot comprehend, these people are still employed not only by the restaurant but in general. They do absolutely nothing except the bare minimum. The word “teamwork” is completely lost on them unless they need a favor (“Hey, can you help me clean up this massive shit I took on the floor? I’m busy running food to my one customer at my only table. Thanks so much!”). Usually the last one to clock in, first one to clock out—leaving you and your other coworkers with all the work they claimed to have done for closing but actually just put on their sheet so they could leave. You receive texts from the Lazy Ass saying “OMG, I feel really sick today! Can anyone take my shift 30 minutes from now?” so often that the millisecond before you check your phone, you feel like you’re actually popular.
- The Overachiever
If this person wasn’t so busy covering for the Lazy Ass, you’d hate them for making you look bad all the time. The status quo existence of the Overachiever and the Lazy Ass makes every restaurant running like a well oiled… kitchen. The Overachievers think they’re just doing their job when really they’re raising the standards for all of the other employees. What the fuck?! No matter though, thankfully because they think this, their work usually goes unnoticed by upper management—perfect time for you to swoop in and take all the credit!
- Old Person
There’s always this one person significantly older that’s slumming it with the rest of the regular staff. And no, they aren’t a manager. Either their going through a major mid-life crisis in which the past 40 years of life experience now count for absolutely nothing or that this restaurant is just yet another stop in a long resume of restaurants—for some reason they’ve relocated cities. The first kind I usually question because the ones I’ve met have all been huge pathological liars (“Oh, this is just something I’m doing on the side on top of my Ph.D dissertation and the business that I own”). The second kind are generally pretty chill and are also a recognized overachiever. But for them, that’s just normal achieving because this is their profession, bro.
- Newly Promoted
These people are newly promoted and are in that awkward transition phase from being “one of the guys” to “I can fire you if you look me wrong—but wait, I kind of want to be the cool manager too… Don’t leave me out of social activities please.” Like the new teachers you sometimes experienced in junior high, these people can be freakishly bipolar. They’ll be ridiculously strict one moment and then uncomfortably lax the next. No idea whether it’d be better for them to act as everyone’s friend or actually do their job right, they yo-yo (like my college weight) for an ungodly amount of time before settling into normal manager status.
- The couple
There is always a couple—or two incestuously close people—that work every shift together. And, with the universe’s blessing, they also work every single shift with you! Now, on top of the rude customers and whiny babies, you get to be slapped repeatedly in the face with the reminder that you are, and will forever be, alone. Who cares if seeing them touch reminds you of the last time another human being touched you willingly (grabbing a stranger’s hands in desperation does not count)? You’re famous at your local movie theater—known as the lady who brings her cats with her because she doesn’t even have friends. Beat that, soul mates.
Of course, the food service industry is extremely large and to cover all the typical people who work in it would be suicidal. But these are the most common types that I’ve encountered.
Are there any typical personalities you keep encountering in your profession? What are some of the best (and worst) kinds?