July 7, 2024

What I learned in the restaurant industry

Tristan Pereida-Rice

Years ago, I worked in the restaurant industry and loved it. Now, I work in tech. And it turns out there are lessons I learned working in the restaurant industry that have helped me thrive in tech.

Tech folks can learn a lot from restaurant folks.

There are a few key aspects of the restaurant industry that can help tech folks learn how to provide better user experiences, build products with higher quality and design them to be more flexible.

User experience design. Restaurants are all about the user experience. They want people to come back again and again, so they need to ensure that each food order is correct, every drink comes out at the right temperature and every service request is fulfilled without fail. The tech industry is also all about serving users—but often doesn’t consider what happens after they click submit or download an app: how do we know if our product works? How do we test it? How do we make sure that people get what they need when they use our product? These questions become even more important as companies scale because then there are more users, which means more room for error—and no one likes an error-filled experience!

Deliverables matter.

Deliverables are the end result of your project. They're what you deliver to your client, and they're also the things that your client delivers to you. Deliverables are the things that help your client achieve their goals and make them happy—and if they're not happy, then neither are you!

From one industry to another.

The lessons I learned at the restaurant don’t necessarily map perfectly to my new career. But the most valuable takeaway is that it is possible to apply lessons learned in one industry to another.

For example, I learned a lot about how restaurants work from working as a server. When it comes to startups and technology startups in particular, there are many parallels between a restaurant and a tech company: both have multiple departments that need to work together; both have employees who need guidance; both experience high turnover rates (which means employees come and go on an almost daily basis). But most notably, the guest (user) should always be the focus.

I also learned what it takes for teams within companies like Google or Facebook or Microsoft—who have huge budgets—to succeed: they hire people with diverse backgrounds who challenge each other with differing opinions while remaining respectful of each other's perspectives thus creating healthy debate among themselves which ultimately leads them down paths they never would've thought were possible before coming aboard said team(s). What's more? These same companies encourage their employees not just learn from their own mistakes but also from those made by others within their organization—and even outside of it!

I learned a lot about myself, and the world through my time in restaurants. I learned how to deal with people from all walks of life, and how important it is to truly listen to what someone is saying (or not saying) when they talk to you. I also learned that having a good attitude is so important; this skill will help me out in every aspect of my life.

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