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

Mayor announces public housing improvements

Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke at the Lincoln Houses in East Harlem on Wednesday, calling for the scaffolding to come down at NYCHA complexes across…

National

Peter Theo Curtis: American released by Syrian militants…

An American writer freed this week from two years in the captivity of insurgents in Syria spoke briefly outside his family's Cambridge home Wednesday of…

Local

Bratton defends 'broken windows' work as NYPD support…

Sixty percent of those polled said they support the "broken windows" theory approach popularized by Commissioner Bratton since his first term in the 1990s.

Local

Transit changes for Labor Day weekend

The MTA is adding additional service Friday for New Yorkers getting out of the city for the long weekend. On Friday, Aug. 29, 27 additional…

Television

'So You Think You Can Dance' recap: Season…

Season 11’s top four dancers gave their final performances before America’s Favorite Dancers are announced next week.

Going Out

Labor Day in NYC: Make the last weekend…

Soon, it’ll be time for wool accessories and knee-high boots. Even the Pumpkin Spice Latte has already arrived — but we still have one last…

Going Out

Things to do this week in NYC, Aug.…

MUSIC The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees…

Going Out

5 things to do this weekend in NYC

The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees expected. David Guetta,…

NFL

Mario Manningham on the bubble as Giants play…

Former Super Bowl hero Mario Manningham hopes his second go-around with Big Blue doesn’t end with Saturday’s final cut day.

NFL

Source: Stephen Hill 'faces a battle' to make…

A team source says Stephen Hill, who has battled injuries and poor performances during his first two years, is no lock to make the Jets’ final roster.

Sports

Serena Williams leaving legacy of talented American women…

It seems only a matter of when, not if, Serena Williams will win her 18th career grand slam championship.

College

When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…

Sex

The 10 types of people you meet online

Does it ever seem like online dating profiles tend to get a little repetitive? It turns out you are not the only one to have…

Home

Labor Day essentials

Whether you’re soaking up the sun on the beach or barbecuing in the park here are some must-haves for your end-of-summer bash.