A job in fine dining means making people happy

Jon Fischer says careers in fine dining require a genuine desire to make people happy.
Jon Fischer says careers in fine dining require a genuine desire to make people happy.

John W. Fischer is a professor of hospitality and service management at The Culinary Institute of America — New York. Over nearly 30 years, he has worked as a captain, manager, wine director, and front waiter at some of the most famous fine dining locations in New York City.

What skills are required for waiting tables in fine dining? 

You have to want to serve people. That sounds easier than it is. If — on a really fundamental level — you don’t get satisfaction from making other people happy, it’s wrong for you to try it as a career. Secondly, you’ve got to have a laser-like focus. You have to switch from task to task very quickly.

How do you spot a good restaurant to work for? 

Of course, the reputation on the street is good to know. But take it with several pounds of salt, because hell hath no fury like a waiter scorned. Is it one person saying negative things, or several? Once you meet the people hiring you, take notice of how you feel around them. Do you get a creepy feeling? Do you enjoy talking to them? Working with people under stressful situations can be taxing and it’s better if you actually like each other. Also, if they offer you a ton of money that’s out of line with other restaurants like them, that probably means they’re a pain to work for.

So how do you break in? 

A good strategy is to identify the fine dining companies that also own more casual establishments. You can start in the casual location and move up to fine dining. But I think that if you’re smart and nice and hardworking, you can go to many great restaurants and say, “I will do whatever you need me to do, so I can work here and get better.” If you’re prepared to start by washing dishes, that kind of desire is very attractive to people in this business.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

10 green ideas for New York City this…

This Earth Day, pundits share their ideas to better green New York City.

Local

Carriage horse activists picket Liam Neeson's UWS home

Several dozen picketers lined the sidewalk outside of Liam Neeson's Upper West Side apartment building on Saturday to protest the actor's support of the New…

Local

Former cop shoots wife in front of children…

Former cop Kevin Canty, 43, was arrested over the weekend after police say he shot and killed his wife in their Ozone Park home.

Local

Two young children killed in deadly Queens fire

Two 4-year-old children died after a blaze at their Far Rockaway home on Saturday night. The Queens fire injured three others, including a third sibling.

Television

'Orphan Black' recap: Episode 1, ‘Nature Under Constraint…

Welcome to your first Season 2 “Orphan Black” recap! Hopefully Tatiana Maslany can help Tatiana Maslany get through this, with the help of Tatiana Maslany,…

Books

Poems from prison: 'How to Survive a Bullet…

Celebrate National Poetry Month with, "'How to Survive a Bullet to the Heart."

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

NHL

Rangers blow two-goal lead in Game 2 loss…

The Rangers got out to an early 2-0 lead in Game 2 and the Garden was rocking. But it went downhill quickly from there.

NBA

Deron Williams leads Nets over Raptors in Game…

The Nets traveled to a raucous Air Canada Centre but came out with an important Game 1 victory over the Raptors.

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

Travel

Packing: The one thing you need in your…

A new survey that looks at the travel habits of 50,000 people around the world has revealed that Western and Asian globetrotters have different priorities…

Home

Is your chair making it hard to talk?

Ever wished there was an office chair that could make impromptu meetings and discussions more private? The Cristiana Wing Chair is an asymmetrical armchair which…

Travel

Live large at these luxury hotels

From Thai boxing lessons and macabre Dracula tours to the Australian Outback, the Four Seasons hotel chain launched a series of new travel packages this…

Parenting

4 things that every summer camp should have

Alan Saltz, director of the 92nd street Y program lists things that every summer camp should have.