Being the lone waitress in a cafe is often, well… lonely. There’s no one to socialize with, share the daily frustrations of your shift with, or to ask for help when you start to get overwhelmed. It can be a great, rewarding job, but you may struggle with the fact that you’re alone in your specific job throughout the day. If you’re feeling a little lonely, these tips can help make it easier.

1. Look for tasks that will help you keep busy. There are plenty of things to be done throughout your shift, from rolling silverware to wiping down tables. When you have things to keep you busy, you’ll have less time to dwell on the fact that you’re feeling a little lonely. Going above and beyond won’t just keep you busy; it will also make you stand out as an amazing employee.

2. Consider the freedom that’s available to you. Talk with your bosses about what you’re expected to do when there are no further tasks to take care of. Are you allowed to have a seat and pull out your phone if there are no customers needing your attention? Can you engage in other hobbies as long as you don’t need to actively take care of a customer? Make sure you’re familiar with the policies of your workplace and know how you’re expected to behave when there’s not work to be done, but you still have to be on the job.

3. Perfect your small talk skills. Interacting with customers, especially the good ones, is a great way to decrease loneliness and help you feel less isolated during your shift. Take the time to chat with regulars and get to know them, from memorizing their drink orders to knowing a little bit about their lives. Chat with customers as they come into the restaurant. Make sure, however, that you’re prepared to respond to social cues. Some customers come to a restaurant to spend time with each other–couples on a date, friends, and coworkers. Others come for a quiet meal. Others, however–especially those who come in alone and don’t seem to be glued to their phone, a book, or some other activity–will welcome the chance to interact just as much as you will.

4. Focus on the benefits. After a long, lonely day at work–especially when there have been few customers and the kitchen staff hasn’t been interesting in socializing–it can be hard to look on the bright side. Fortunately, there are a number of benefits to being the only waitress on the scene. Focus on them to help your day stay bright!

  • You’re in full control of the floor, so you don’t have to worry about another server upsetting your pattern or forgetting important items.
  • You get to keep all of your tips instead of putting them in a communal pool to share with other servers.
  • You’re able to maintain a great deal more freedom throughout the work day. In many cases, you’ll be able to choose your own activities when you aren’t busy with customers.
  • You can be sure that every table in the building receives the best possible service from you.

From busy shifts when it seems as though everyone in town is flocking to your normally quiet little restaurant to long, lonely shifts when no one comes through the door, being the “lone wolf” waitress or waiter at your restaurant or cafe can be tough. By utilizing these strategies, however, you’ll be able to make the most out of your shift and maximize your job satisfaction. Sure, there’s no one to roll your eyes with over the difficult customers; but there’s not a whole lot of server drama, either!

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