Give That Service Person Some Extra Love Today

Written by Audra Weigand



My first paid job when I was in high school was working at my local Bruegger’s Bagels chain. After reflecting on the experience years afterward, I have been reminded of a few important lessons that I learned from my work there.  I thought I would share them with you today.


1.  Working in customer service or the food industry is not necessarily a simple job. Before I started working at Bruegger’s I thought that working in fast food was an easy task. However, I soon learned everything that went into putting out an amazing product and the work necessary to ensure things ran smoothly. I think people are sometimes too quick to judge those who work minimum-wage jobs. Some days, my job was just as difficult or stressful as any other occupation. After work most days, I would come home completely exhausted from my shift.


2. Service workers don’t want to inconvenience you or make your life more difficult. I sometimes think customers fail to realize that service workers do their best to get people their order as fast as possible and ensure that the order is correct. However, some days this goal simply isn’t achievable. One of my least favorite things to do at my Bruegger’s job was telling a customer that we had run out of their favorite menu item or that the wait for their food would be longer than 10 minutes.


3. Respect is a two-way street. Any service worker will tell you that they will work 5 times harder and be 10 times happier if the customer they are working for is understanding and respectful toward them. I know from personal experience that when a customer was grateful and appreciative of my work, it encouraged me to go the extra mile to make them happy.


4. Service workers are human too and part of being human means making mistakes. Have I made mistakes at work? Definitely. Do I wish they wouldn’t have happened? Of course. I guess what I am trying to say with this point is to remember to think of the big picture. Is the wrong cream cheese on a bagel really enough for you to yell at a teenage girl?  A little compassion goes a long way.


5. Many of these positions are filled by first time workers (AKA young teenagers). Don’t be surprised if you have to repeat your order to your server one or two times or if they don’t know that lox is another word for salmon. They are just doing the best they can.


6. Please and thank you go a long way. Remember that as a customer your appreciation doesn’t go unnoticed. One of my favorite things when I worked at Bruegger’s was when a customer genuinely thanked me for the service I provided. It reminded me that my work, even though it was small in the grand scheme of things, was having a positive effect on others.


These are just a few things that have been running through my mind lately. I suppose my main takeaway is that a little kindness toward workers can go a long way. So next time you order that 5 dollar footlong or your favorite burrito bowl, remember that service workers deserve respect and understanding, just like everyone else.