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Waiter’s dilemma: Bar, Pub, Restaurant or Hotel?

Published on: 11 Jul 2023


Hospitality is a diverse sector, with operators creating different offerings, settings, themes and styles. From bustling restaurants to cosy pubs, lively bars, and luxurious hotels, each setting offers its own unique charm. Here we explore the pros and cons of working in a bar, pub, restaurant, and hotel. Let's dive in.

1, The buzzing bar:


  • Vibrant atmosphere: Bars are known for for their lively ambience, with music and laughter, and good times all round. If you thrive in energetic environments, a bar could be the perfect place for you.
  • Social interactions: Bars attract a diverse crowd, providing ample opportunities for meeting new people and striking up conversations. It can be an excellent way to build your network and make new friends - a huge bonus if you are new to your area of work. You will become part of the community and a familiar face. 
  • Varied shifts: Bars often operate late into the night, allowing you to have flexible working hours and then the possibility of daytime pursuits. 


  • Hectic pace: Working in a bar can be fast-paced and demanding, especially during peak hours. You need to be quick on your feet, multi-tasking and handling high volumes of orders. You need to be patient and calm as with late night cocktails, can come some 'spirited' customers. 
  • Late nights: The nature of bar work means you'll likely have late-night shifts, which can disrupt your sleep patterns and social life. 

2, The charming pub:


  • Cosy, quaint atmosphere: Pubs exude a warm and inviting vibe, making customers feel right at home. They are a place where customers come to wind down after a busy day, catch up with family and friends and generally have some leisure, down time. If you enjoy a relaxed ambience and friendly conversations, (even getting to know the locals!), a pub can be a great choice.
  • Regular customers: Pubs often have a loyal customer base, which means you'll get to know regulars and build strong relationships with them.
  • Traditional fare: Pubs are renowned for their hearty comfort food and traditional beverages, providing opportunities to learn about and serve classic favourites. 


  • Limited scope: Unlike restaurants or hotels, pubs typically offer a smaller menu and may have fewer opportunities for culinary exploration. The staffing hierarchy is also often flatter in a pub compared to a hotel or big bar with various departments and functions, hence could offer less potential for promotion. 
  • Peak hours: Similar to bars, pubs can get busy during certain hours, requiring you to manage multiple tables and handle customer demands efficiently. 

3, The dynamic restaurant: 


  • Culinary adventure: Restaurants offer a diverse range of cuisines and culinary experiences. If you have a passion for food and enjoy learning about different flavours, waitressing in a restaurant can be an enriching journey.
  • Civilised experience: Working in a high end restaurant will bring  guests who are there to experience nice food, in a civilised atmosphere. And whilst on your feet as much as in a bar and pub, you will be managing your set tables in a more calmer, sophisticated fashion than that of a rowdy bar. 
  • Upselling opportunities: Restaurants often have higher-priced items and speciality dishes, which can present opportunities for upselling and increasing your well earned (and appreciated) tips. 
  • Professional growth: Restaurants are known for their focus on customer service and attention to detail. Working in a restaurant can help you develop strong hospitality skills that can be valuable for future career prospects. 


  • High expectations: Restaurants (especially if pricey) can have demanding customers with high expectations. Dealing with difficult guests and managing their requests gracefully could be challenging. 
  • Stressful rushes: During peak dining hours, restaurants can become hectic, and managing multiple tables, co-ordinating with the kitchen, and ensuring timely service can be stressful. As the customer facing one serving the tables, you are in the firing line, even if the fault lies with the kitchen team. 

4, The luxury hotel:


  • Elegance and opulence: Sounds tempting.. hotels offer a sophisticated and luxurious setting, catering to guests' needs with finesse. If you appreciate upscale environments and enjoy providing top-notch service, a hotel can be an excellent fit.
  • Diverse clientele: Hotels attract guests from various backgrounds, including tourists, business travellers and event attendees. This allows you to interact with a range of people and gain exposure to different cultures. 
  • Additional perks: Some hotels provide additional benefits like discounted stays, access to recreational or leisure facilities and training opportunities to enhance your skill-set. 


  • Formality: Working in a hotel often requires adhering to strict dress codes and maintaining a polished appearance. If you prefer a more relaxed work environment, this may not be your cup of tea!
  • Demanding guests: High-end hotels cater to discerning customers who have spent a lot of money and hand in hand with that they expect a very good standard of service. Ensuring they are satisfied at all times, can be challenging and tiring. 

So in conclusion, there is quite a lot to think about. As a Waiter, choosing where to work among bars, pubs, restaurants and hotels ultimately depends on your personality, preferences and career goals. Each setting offers its own unique advantages and challenges. So, consider the atmosphere, clientele, opportunities for growth and your own strengths and interests to make the best decision. Whatever path you chose, may it be filled with delightful interactions, memorable experiences, and an abundance of tips. Happy hospitality...

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