Restaurants put a great deal of trust in the hands of their dishwashers. It is the responsibility of the dishwasher to maintain the efficiency of the kitchen. A good dishwasher is rare, but a great dishwasher is indispensible. In the best case scenario great things can happen. Ali Sonko, a dishwasher described as the “heart and soul” of the world-class Danish restaurant Noma was named a co-owner of the establishment he has worked in for 14 years.
Here are a few ways you can standout at your restaurant as a great dishwasher:
1. Punctuality is Key.
Be professional and make a strong impression on your employer by arriving 15 minutes early. If you travel by public transit, arriving early is even more important.
If you are running late call your employer. If they are not able to be reached, then it is acceptable to alert them via text, but phone calls are preferred. Grant your employer the courtesy of an update.
2. Do not text/talk on the phone while working
Distractions in the kitchen can be fatal. Your full attention is required in a kitchen full of hot pots and pans, knives, glassware, and other potential hazards. Your eyes and ears must be on alert at all times, especially when a cook warns, “Hot plate!”
3. Clean the kitchen at the end of your shift
Yes, in addition to keeping the kitchen clean throughout your shift you are also expected to clean the kitchen at the end of your shift. It is easy for newcomers to overlook this responsibility, but for restaurant veterans it is the sign of a true professional.
Sweeping the floor, mopping, and clearing clutter in the kitchen after your shift is completed is always appreciated by the staff that works after you. Forming good habits, such as this will build your reputation as a valued member of the dishwashing staff.
4. No bossing other staff around/polite
After working with the same group of people, it is easy to see the weakest link, but your job is dishwashing. Try your best to focus on your area of expertise for the moment. Although your opinion/feedback may be intelligent, it may not be requested by the higher ups.
To avoid unnecessary clashes of personality, we recommend dishwashers focus on just what they have been hired to do—wash dishes.
5. Wear professional attire
Although you are in the back, you are still a representation of the restaurant. Give your employer a sense of confidence in your ability by arriving in the proper attire.
The proper attire also honors food safety and health codes. Having a clean professional appearance, along with the proper accessories to assist you with your job deeply conveys professionalism. Having your own set of rubber gloves, an apron, and no slip shoes are simple choices that help make the job easier.
6. Come to work with a great attitude
Everyone in the restaurant industry knows that dishwashing is a tough job, but employers still search for that one person with a great attitude.
At work you will spends hours working alongside one another, and it is vital that those hours together are a pleasant experience for everyone. Showing up to the shift tired, hung-over, or unmotivated is the quickest way to be fired. Everyone knows when a worker appreciates their job and when they are secretly resentful towards their coworkers.
Restaurants owners and caterers are busy people, and the last thing they want to deal with is an angry person on payroll. Do not let your attitude be the reason you are unemployed.
7. Be hygienic
Food workers are required to obey the laws of Food Health and Hygiene. Be sure to also take care of your personal hygiene. Arrive to work clean, and always wash your hands after leaving the bathroom.
The health and safety of patrons relies on your cleanliness, as well as the trust and reputation of the business.
8. Be Safe
Use proper technique when working with sharp objects. After you mop post signs indicating to staff and patrons that the floor is wet.
9 & 10 Be reliable. Go the extra mile.
You are on the couch relaxing, and you receive a phone call from the restaurant that they need you to come in. What do you do? We say go!
Always go the extra mile. Every shift is an opportunity, and reliability is always rewarded. The most signing example of being rewarded is the story of Ali Sonko named as a co-owner of the establishment he has worked in for 14 years. Other stories of restaurants nurturing their relationships with their dishwashers includes one restaurants practice of offering free language instruction for any of his Washington employees, an idea he first executed in Boston.
It’s obvious, but it goes without saying. Hard work pays off.