Working in a restaurant is always challenging. If you created a poll online asking which jobs are the most demanding, the chance is restaurant waiter and waitress should stand on top 5!
Nonetheless, it is very likely to be one of the most common jobs. More than many people are working in restaurants.
Are you working in a restaurant? Perhaps, yes.
Do you know how to stay safe in a restaurant? Don’t you want to know?
After years being a waiter, I can share with you the top 5 safety tips! They are what I am very proud of (after learning them the hard way).
Alright, let’s just dive right in and make yourself an employable wait-person!
1. Operate equipment properly
You may find that, although your main job is to serve, you will more than often have to use or operate equipment in the restaurant. These may include air-conditioners, light systems, electrical doors, alarms and many more that I cannot name them all.
Safely tip for them is to READ THE INSTRUCTIONS carefully before using. The instructions should demonstrate how to use the equipment properly step by step (hopefully with pictures or diagrams). Also, they must contain a very clear section: Safety, as required by laws in almost any countries.
Follow the operating steps and wear all protective gears as mentioned in the safety guideline closely. They are made for a pure purpose: keeping you safe!
2. Prepare for emergencies (usually unexpected)
“Any emergencies may happen, usually unexpectedly, at any time. Be always prepared.” Said my friend who is a veteran lifeguard.
It is 100% true for restaurants, too!
There are uncountable forms of emergencies. From small abrupt events like someone cut themselves, a child screams for no reason or power failure to some you-may-never-think-of things such as disasters, fires, violation, anything can happen. They all are considered emergencies in a restaurant.
You may have gone through a dozen action plans for emergencies made by your employer. Great!
If not, you should definitely ask for them. Furthermore, learn how to treat the situations well from your colleagues, they might have been in similar ones. You can also learn them on the Internet. There are lots of people sharing their own experiences. Their stories might be funny or awkward or scary but you will certainly learn something for you.
I do not encourage you to watch out in every second, but make sure that you know how to do when bad things happen!
3. Wear non-slip footwear
This might be a bit too specific but I personally believe this tip should be one of the most important.
What is the biggest enemy of everyone in the restaurant? I can answer: The floor. The slippery floor. Many restaurants are built with a polished and smooth floor. They make the place look nice and clean. However, they are slippery, especially when they are wet.
You will surely walk back and forth quite a lot when working in a restaurant. And, who can tell that you will only move around in the main rooms? You may have to go to and from the kitchen quite often, and the bathroom, and sometimes outside. Chances are you will be on many surfaces. Your footwear will get wet or exposed to oil or any slippery ingredients easily.
With those conditions, in addition to the floor, you can fall over anytime. I don’t tell lies. Look up on YouTube and you can find many waiters and waitresses falling in any circumstances.
So, my safety tip. No, let me make it more important.
PRO TIP: WEAR NON-
SLIP FOOTWEAR. They can save you when you least expect!
Hint: Check out my reviews on
- Top 10 Most Comfortable Server Shoes for Men & Women (Updated 2018!)
- Top 10 Best Slip Resistant Shoes for Restaurant Workers (UPDATED 2018)
- Top 10 Most Comfortable Chef Shoes for Men & Women (Updated 2018!)
They will certainly help you out.
4. Wash your hand “excessively”
I’m not joking. Most people underestimate the importance of washing their hands.
Let’s do a simple math. I assume you have 3 meals a day and 8 times going to the toilet if you are not suffering from any heal problems. And, it is strongly recommended (by expert scientists) that you should wash your hands before and after meals, and after going to the toilet. That means you should wash their hands at least 10 times per day. Hence, if you wash your hands less than 10 times per day, congratulations, you are failing “basic hygiene”.
I did not even mention that you are working in a restaurant. You may have to touch many things, be exposed to any type of customers and environments and do lots of other tiny inessential jobs. Your hands are, mind you, “not very clean.”
The thing is: our immunity system is designed to fight against common viruses (with a great help from vaccines, indeed), but who knows what you will get? Especially when you are touching many things strange.
So, my advice is: Wash your hands anytime you can. With anti-bacterial soaps (if possible). In at least 20 seconds. And in the right way (check it right below).
Have 1-minute waiting for a new dish to serve? Wash your hands.
Before lunch? Wash your hands.
After fixing your hair in the restroom? Wash your hands.
Anytime you can remember that you should wash your hands? Wash your hands.
This is the easiest way to protect you and your served customers.
5. Be cautious in the kitchen
Kitchen is always a fun place.
In the restaurants that I used to work, kitchens seem like home. People could chit-chat, I could stand or sit, you I could take a nap somewhere and all the place smelled food!
But, the kitchen is sometimes kinda dangerous! More than once I was hurt in the restaurant kitchens.
Once I cut my right foot. I was rushing and dropped a knife from the table on my foot. And once I caught a burn. I accidentally touched a pressure cooker because it looked curious!
So, I strongly suggest that you should raise your carefulness whenever you come to the kitchens.
The most common risks that may harm you are sharp edges or equipment and the heat (like they hurt me).
Be super focused when working with sharp items like knives, scissors or skewers. Don’t try multitasking when using them. After using, put them back in their safe places as they were.
Keep a safe distance from cooking equipment. They are usually hot. Ask for instructions from your colleagues if you need to use them. And, use them with care. Don’t just play with something because it looks playable!
These are the top 5 tips that I always find useful when working in a restaurant. They should have been printed and frame on every restaurant’s wall. I wonder why they have not.
Apart from them, you may find some other safety guidelines or requirements depending on where you work. Some restaurants have several different ways to keep people safe. Follow them and ask if you do not understand.
Among the tips, I highly emphasise #3. You must pay a huge load of attention to your biggest enemy: SLIP.
You can see that, in many situations in tips #1, 2, 4, 5, you can do something to prevent them from happening. You are the active.
But, conversely, slips are 90% the active in all cases. They may come suddenly and “finish you” in the most unexpected ways. So, raise your awareness!