A publication by the students, about the students, and for the students of White Station High School

White Station Scroll

A publication by the students, about the students, and for the students of White Station High School

White Station Scroll

Advertisement

Hosting and servicing customers as students

One+of+Lena+Zeng+%2812%29%E2%80%99s+coworkers+Jack+Webster+prepares+to+check+in+customers+at+Wang%E2%80%99s+Mandarin+House.+Hosts+and+hostesses+such+as+Zeng+and+Webster+often+have+other+duties+beyond+hosting.+%0A
SHIVANI MENON//USED WITH PERMISSION
One of Lena Zeng (12)’s coworkers Jack Webster prepares to check in customers at Wang’s Mandarin House. Hosts and hostesses such as Zeng and Webster often have other duties beyond hosting.

It’s time. You drive over, clock in, put on your uniform and get to work greeting customers or running their food. Many students at White Station High experience a similar cycle for many hours over several days of their week as part of their hosting or servicing jobs in the restaurant industry. Naomi Hurst (10) works at Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen as a food runner and a hostess, Breanna Whirley (12) works at Perkins Restaurant and Bakery as a hostess and Taylor Martin (12) works at Folk’s Folly also as a hostess. 

“I do food running, which is [being] the person who brings out the food,” Hurst said. “But I also host there.”

Interacting with customers is, of course, a fundamental part of any hosting or servicing job. While many people may believe interacting with customers in such a setting for hours on end would be exhausting, some workers often have positive interactions with their patrons.

“For me, I mainly deal with older people,” Whirley said. “Most people are nice. There’s this lady who lives across the street from the school in an apartment, and every time she comes in, she always talks to me because she knows I go to White Station. She likes to interact with me. She’s [an] elderly lady, and for Christmas, she gave me $10, and it was just really sweet of her.” 

Story continues below advertisement

However, despite frequent positive interactions, there are some customers that result in experiences that are negative, surprising, confusing or all of the above. Such encounters often turn into fun stories to tell to friends rather than turning into a real disturbance in one’s career. 

“There was this lady; I was running her food, and she was sitting at the bar top,” Hurst said. “I dropped off her food, and I turned around, and then I hear like all these [tables and chairs] fall to the ground. I turn around and she’s face down on the floor. I go back and I tell the kitchen that she passed out, and they are like, ‘Oh, that’s the local crackhead.’” 

Despite their jobs, these students still have other roles they need to maintain, like students who need to dedicate sufficient time to their academics, athletes who need to go to practice or siblings who need to take care of their relatives. These other obligations beyond the job must be managed well by the students; otherwise, they could easily get overwhelmed. 

“I, [for the] majority of the time, work weekdays around my [softball] games,” Martin said. “[If] we have more than four games a week, I work on my weekends. But I would say I manage it pretty well, other than softball.” 

Another element of hosting jobs is the worker’s relationship with their boss and manager. As hosting/servicing jobs are taken up quite often by high school students, some bosses show leniency toward their schedules and work habits. 

“If you have an understanding boss, then it’s fine [to manage the schedule],” Whirley said. “I like [my boss]. She has kids herself, so she’s very understanding about my schedule, and if I’m ever between work and softball, she makes me pick softball. She doesn’t give me a choice, so she’s very understanding about it.” 

As with any job, some work days can be stressful. Work can just be particularly frenetic that day, or maybe one has a mountain of other assignments or chores waiting for them when they get home. Some students even work into the night on weekends or school nights, both of which can lead to a potentially stressful four-plus hours of working. 

“I would say [my job] is stressful just because you are working — you are trying to manage so many different things when it comes to dealing with customers and then also dealing with servers and to-go orders and DoorDashes — so I think that it is a lot, and it falls on you most of the time, but I think the people I work with make it less stressful,” Whirley said.

Ultimately, the reason most people take up a job is for the money. The median hostess income across the U.S. is just $10.97 an hour, though this number varies from restaurant to restaurant. Even beyond getting paid, some workers find fulfillment in their jobs through the people they meet and work with. 

“I don’t have the highest-paying job, but I do make pretty decent money,” Martin said. “But also the people I work around are pretty great people.” 

Donate to White Station Scroll
$550
$500
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of White Station High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to White Station Scroll
$550
$500
Contributed
Our Goal