A Day’s Work: Waitress

kasey HZT

(Photo by Ali Zacker Gale)

Kacey Burch has been a waitress for 15 years. She is currently the manager and a waitress at Main Street Restaurant in Saugerties. She has a son, Greyson. She’s usually the first friendly face you encounter upon entering Main Street Restaurant.

Describe your work.

I have been at Main Street for four years now. I work on average 25 to 30 hours a week, which include nights, holidays and weekends.

How did you become a waitress?

I started waitressing when I was 15 years old. I worked at a tennis resort for a few summers bussing tables and serving food. When I went away to college I continued to waitress; it was about the only thing I was able to do with a full-time school schedule. It was a job that gave me cash in hand after every shift I worked, and that was a great thing for a broke college student. After college I continued to waitress around the area. I worked in both fine and casual dining. Even after I got a job working in a real estate office, I continued to waitress. After four years of working in an office setting, I decided it wasn’t for me. I wasn’t a nine-to-five person. I loved working the night hours and only having to work three or four days a week. So I left my office job and solely worked in the restaurant business. Four years later I couldn’t be happier.


What’s the biggest misconception about being a waitress?

I think people think it’s an easy job.

What kind of skills or training is necessary for this type of work?

There are many skills that you need in order to do this job. The first is time management; from the time you take a customer’s order to the time you hand them their check the clock is ticking. You are in control of when their food and drinks come out. The second, you have to be able to multitask; this is the majority of the job. You have to be able to go back and forth between all your tables taking care of all their wants and needs. Third, you have to be a great salesperson. Any restaurant you work at expects you to sell dinner specials or cocktails. The more you sell, the higher your tip. Fifth, you have to have a friendly and pleasant attitude. We are in the business of hospitality, so why not be hospitable?

What’s the best thing about your job?

Waitressing has its upside and its downside. The upside is you have a constant cash flow. You only have to work three or four days a week if you choose and it’s a fun environment.

What’s the hardest part of the job?

The downside is that it is a very physical job that takes a toll on your body. You’re on your feet all the time and lifting heavy trays. You also have to deal with not-so-nice customers who feel it’s necessary to speak down to you because you are a food server. It’s also hard working nights and weekends, especially now that I have a child.

What would you like your customers to know?

There are people out there who feel they don’t have to tip. I hear customers say, “Why do I have to leave a tip when all she did was take an order and put it in the computer and bring us some drinks?” Yes, I do that but I also refilled your drinks, made sure your meal was right and came out in the proper time, got you extra napkins, made sure your child was content with crayons and paper so you could have a quiet dinner; all the while trying to make sure my other tables were happy.

I also love most of the people I serve. I appreciate their kindness and generosity. Those people make my job enjoyable. Without their patronage I wouldn’t be able to thrive and we wouldn’t be able to grow as a business.

How’s the money?

I make great money. I have my regular customers who treat me very well.