15 Things I Have Learnt From Being a Full-Time Waitress.

Since moving to Melbourne I have  basically been a full time waitress.

Sure, I’d love to do something fascinating and exciting, but when you are a backpacker, you use what experience you have to get a job.

My experience? Being a waitress.

So here are 15 things I have learnt from being a full time waitress.

1.  Your feet will hurt more than you ever thought possible.

I think full time waitresses must have the worst feet, or the most tough.

All that running round, being on your feet all day and night, it leaves your feet a little worse for wear.

There has been days my feet have ached and I thought ‘they can’t feel any worse’.

Oh, they can.

2. Social life? What social life?

Being a waitress comes with unsociable hours. We all know this.

A waitress is working when everyone else is out enjoying themselves remember. 

Doing 35 hours a week as a waitress you begin to notice this, and the lack of life.

You do however gain the ‘fuck it’ mentality.

Your only night off is Sunday? ‘Fuck it’ I am going to get smashed.

3. Smile mode.

You may be knackered from said Sunday night out, you may feel down, but as soon as a customer walks through that door your smile mode turns on.

‘Hi guys, how are you? Take a seat’ *smiles throughout*

That is now my default.

waitress smile.jpg

4. Polite mode. 

Just like smile mode polite mode is automatic.

If you have been waitressing for a few years like I have you automatically react to basically every situation politely.

The words ‘thank you’ fall out of my mouth. I found myself thanking my boyfriend when I passed him something the other day for fuck sake.

serve probs.jpg

5. Music gets me through life.

The right music can really help a shift go quicker and be more enjoyable.

6. Hard work does go unnoticed. 

I think waiters, waitresses and bar staff are some of the most hard working people you will ever meet.

But try telling that to some managers or the customers you are slaving away for.

I have learnt that you can bend over backwards for people, and they still won’t thank you.


7. There is no need for a workout.

If I was to actually wear a pedometer and count my daily steps I assume there would be a lot.

As a waitress you really never sit down, and are always running around.

A bonus, no need to feel bad for not going for a run before work.

8. There are some lovely people.

Often you hear horror stories of customers being rude and angry.

I have had my fair share.

But I have also learnt that there are a lot of nice and kind people, not everyone thinks they are above you, or is rude. Often a lot of people are so nice they won’t tell you if they don’t like the food, or the order is wrong, just so they don’t bother you.

Some customers do recognize when you’ve done all you can for them, and I appreciate that.

I like meeting customers who are genuinely interested in me, and want to have a conversation.

9. Your work mates are your best mates

It may be the same in most jobs but I feel especially as a waitress or as part of hospitality everyone sticks together.

Everyone helps each other out.

You become close with your work mates, probably due to the amount of time spent around them. But they are the people who keep you sane, and I have been lucky to have amazing work friends.

10. ‘Is your kitchen still open?’

Those agonizing words.

The words no one wants to hear, as you all know you will be there for an extra hour.

One hour further away from a beer..


11. Melbourne employers are accepting.

One thing I especially love about Melbourne is I have never been made to feel by the owners or managers of my work to change how I look in order to work there.

Melbourne is very diverse, fashionable and accepting mainly. My employers have told me to dress how I want, keep my piercings, dye my hair more colours and get more tattoos.

Which is something I have always wanted in the UK, but always got told to completely change how I look in order to wait on others.

12. You know who the tippers will be.

Everyone who has worked or works in hospitality knows how vital tipping is. It can make all the difference.

I have learnt that those who tip are usually in hospitality or have worked in hospitality.

They know the struggle.

Those who don’t are usually those with more money, who decided tipping you isn’t worth it.


13. Throwing away shit loads of food is soul destroying.

It still blows my mind how people can go out for food, and leave over half of it, or more than that.

I then have to physically throw it away, when really all I want to do is eat it myself, or give it to a homeless person.

Why are you doing this people?! 

Who can afford to do this?!

As you can tell, it’s a real issue to me.

So sort it out people, eat your damn food!

food meme.jpg

14. A daily reminder.

Being a full time waitress is almost a daily reminder that I don’t want to be doing this my whole life.

My feet wouldn’t take it for one.

I’m not demeaning being a waitress as a full – time job, I respect everyone who does it. But for me it’s just not my passion.

But is has inspired me, when people have been rude, or I am so tired, that I won’t be doing this my whole life.

It has made me rethink doing my masters.

15. It isn’t that bad.

The final thing I have learnt is that if you are in a nice working environment, with people you get on with, you are getting paid to save for your travels, well, it isn’t that bad.

It may be that daily reminder to aspire to more, but for a short term way to make money whilst travelling it has it’s pros and cons, but mainly it’s a means to an end.

In my opinion after a long day as a waitress at least you can go home, go for a drink, for a swim and forget about your day.

There is no after work stress.

So, for the most part I am enjoying it.


‘Til next time. ??✈

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1 Comment

  • So many parallels with my time waitressing. No.1 especially. I’d never experienced that throbbing feeling until my first shift (on Xmas day when I was 14 – yes thanks Mum and Dad – they own a hotel).

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