While writing this article I have made Vancouver my home for more than 10 months. I came to Canada with Working Holiday Visa in May 2018 with a plan to work as a server for the first month and then to look for a job in my area of interest – in tourism. However, after the first month at my new job as a server I decided to stay and not to look for anything else. Why? How a life of a server can look like in Canada? How is it possible I have been so happy with my job of a server when I used to work as a manager, teacher, guide or event coordinator? Read further and you will find out why my job of a server makes me so happy …
Firstly I will mention that finding a job of a server may be pretty easy in Vancouver. At least it was in my case. I simply printed my CVs and went in person from one restaurant to another spreading my CVs to managers and staff. And they called me after few days.
I decided to work for a nice seafood restaurant located in Yale Town which is a popular part of Vancouver for its gastronomy and luxurious restaurants.
Moreover, I don´t have to commute to my work by public transportation. It is a 15 minute walk from the place where I live. By everyday walking to my job I avoid heavy traffic jam and stress. 😉
SALARY OF A SERVER IN VANCOUVER
Minimal wage of servers on British Columbia of Canada is gross $11,40 per hour (March 2018). And that´s nothing compared to expenses people have living in expensive Vancouver. However, servers here are lucky to get an extra income from the gratuities. Most Canadians are used to give at least 15% from the whole bill. If they are super happy with the service, they might give you 20 or 25%. And that may be nice income if you work in an expensive restaurant.
Let´s just say that my salary is sometimes higher than of my friends working in the office. 😉
PS: Gratuities are matter of tax, therefore, you shouldn´t take them for your net income as by the end of April of following year you are obliged to claim your tax from them.
MY WORKING HOURS
Most servers complain about their busy schedule, long working hours, long nights and overworked weekends. However, I have been very lucky with my managers and restaurant where I work and I got amazing schedule that let me have “a normal life”. From the day one I asked my managers for day shifts explaining them I am not a night person. Most serves usually ask for nights as income and gratuities are higher, however, I didn´t care. After my crazy travels through Central America I needed some peace and relax. Therefore, I also asked for free weekends which again are the busiest and best for money.
Besides that I am lucky to take as much vacation as my travel soul needs, of course, after discussing it with my lovely managers. 🙂
So I got an amazing deal to work from Monday till Friday with mostly morning shifts with one or two evening shifts and with free weekends. And I work around 30 hours per week. Great working schedule for being a server, right?
PEOPLE IN MY RESTAURANT
In my pretty short life I got an opportunity to work in various companies with various managers and various teams. And after all those years working in different parts of the world I must admit that here in Canada and in the restaurant where I work I got super lucky with the BEST PEOPLE. From kind owners through thoughtful managers to always willing to help colleagues. My managers know how to manage people, how to motivate and inspire us. They help us as much as they can and are always thoughtful of our needs as serves. It is a pleasure to work with such managers.
The owners of the restaurant where I work and of others that belong to the same chain always show up and make themselves visible. They come, say hi, ask how we are. They know our names and care about their employees.
And colleagues? I couldn´t be luckier with them. Most of them are Canadians, English or Australians and although sometimes they make fun of my Slovak accents, I still love them. We always help each other, try to be fair and work in team. Because a teamwork is a dream work. 😉
And to work in such team with such managers is a gift which I truly appreciate.
RESPONSIBILITIES OF A SERVER
After my previous experience with work of a server on river cruise ships I was worried how I am going to survive another living hell of serving job. However, my working conditions in Vancouver are very different and incomparably better. I don´t work seven days a week, 12 hours a day. I don´t come home exhausted or overworked.
Besides great working schedule explained above, I as a server have a great help of so called busser. It´s a person that helps servers with their tables. They help them keep tables clean, they reset up them, prepare cutlery, refill water glasses. Sometimes it happens I don´t even touch a plate throughout the whole night because of help of my busser. It is a super easy job compared to my job on cruise ships where I had to do everything by myself.
So what are my main responsibilities of server? To welcome my guests with a big smile (after they are seated by our hostess), offer them drinks and cocktails, explain them our menu with all the features, take the order, make sure they like to food and make their dining experience pleasant with a help of my lovely personality. At the end I am responsible for preparing a bill and paying. Thanks to my language skills and travel experiences I get to practise various languages every day and talk to very interesting people from various parts of the world. Some of our guests became my friends and follow my MiliMundo adventures.
Simply said, my job of a server in Vancouver makes me incredibly happy. I know it is not a job I would like to do my whole life but for a year with my Working Holiday visa it is exactly what I needed.
So what do you think about it? Do you have your own previous experience with work of a server? Was it different from mine in Canada?
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