You are here

Throughout my school years, I had a handful of friends who worked in restaurants and fast-food joints across my neighbourhood. For many, it's the first job, pay-my-way-to-college route. But what others might not realize is that a job in the quick service industry can offer growth and long-term working skills to take in future careers.
Creating the foundation
I'll even clean the bathrooms! were the words 16-year-old John Haynes III used in a job interview to win him his first gig at a subs and pizza shop. Yes, he did start by cleaning bathrooms, but eventually found his way to become assistant manager in his college years.
Now, 27 years later, as the vice-president of human resources for an energy management company, Haynes III reflects back on his time in quick service. The most valuable lesson that I gained from my start in quick service was understanding the heart, mind, hands, and feet of a small business owner, he explains, adding that he eventually understood the responsibilities that came with being a business owner, from employees to customers to profitability.
Through realizing this, he believes the industry is an exceptional starting point for young careers. The work is fast-paced. There is immediate and almost expected opportunity to cross-train and learn multiple aspects of the business.
Amongst other skills Haynes III has taken with him to his job today was teamwork, management, the ability to sharpen problem-solving capabilities, and mastering the art of working quickly and accurately.
When you focus on results, you're able to communicate the actual difference you made while working in quick service, he adds. It shows that you didn't just take it as a first job or a summer job or a job to pass the time, and that attitude makes you an investment employee and future hire.
Growing with the industry
With its upcoming entrance to the Canadian food-lovers market this fall, b.good is a fast-casual restaurant chain that Todd Brooks, president of b.good Canada, refers to as a growth company.
You may ask what this means. It lets employees have as broad and as diverse of an experience as they want and can handle, explains Brooks, resulting in growth within the company and industry. For example, he shares how the company's current head of operations started on the line grounding beef for hamburgers.
It's one of those things that if you come and work hard, learn the brand, and learn the operations, then you can get to that breadth of opportunities that a growth company will have in front of it, he says. When you're young, you have more of the ability to take a shot at something new that you believe in and I would encourage people to find something you're passionate about, follow that path versus the path that you think is more lucrative.
In addition to the crucial customer service skills that'll be acquired in quick service, Brooks says dealing with negative experiences is a contributor to personal and professional growth as well. You'll see what happens when there's a bad experience, when an order gets messed up, and how critical the steps are dealing with unsatisfied customers.
Photos: monkey business images/Thinkstock