The Power Of Empathy In Hospitality

An insight into what's going on behind the welcoming smile.

How often do you pause and try to walk in the shoes of others? 

Hospitality is an industry that almost every 20-or-so-year-old has worked in at some point in their life. It’s natural to ask a young barista about their studies or summer plans. But it’s not just a first job for young adults; it can also be an exclusive club to join in major cities like London.

We want to take an inclusive look at what goes on behind the scenes for those working in the industry. What motivates young people to go work in hospitality in the first place? And what challenges or joys do they experience every day?

The appeal of working in hospitality is undeniable. Representation and familiarity can play a significant role in attracting people to the industry. If you notice a lot of people similar to your age working in a certain position, then you might well consider doing it yourself!

As teenagers, we often draw inspiration from television and movies, like Disney’s Princess and the Frog or High School Musical, where characters work in hospitality and go on to achieve their dreams. We tend to experience what we’ve been exposed to. That exposure shapes our perception of what’s possible and influences our first job search.

However, it’s definitely a challenging transition. If the media was a source of inspiration for working in hospitality, the reality can be challenging! So, let’s show empathy to young servers.

Nothing prepares you however for the hectic schedule, the extra responsibilities to juggle with, and the rude customers or managers.

Those who work in hospitality manage a lot of responsibilities to carry out the best possible experience for those they are serving. Immediately becoming a stakeholder in the business, they take on the pressure sometimes as young as 15 years old.

One difficult customer can be the thorn in their day. They have to put on a brave and welcoming face for every new person who walks through the door. More and more, we’re seeing signs put up by businesses signaling that they do not tolerate any sort of abusive behavior towards their employees.

Interactions with regular customers, however, become the best of experiences over time. Creating connections and providing a sense of familiarity for them is fulfilling. In a similar fashion, the best teams can make anyone’s day! Getting along with coworkers and forming a sense of camaraderie is essential to making hospitality a positive experience.

For some, hospitality is simply a transition into the working world, but taking the step to move on can be harder than it seems.

For some, breaking away from the industry seems hard to imagine. First of all, they have to overcome the challenge of finding time to think about the next step. The simplicity of staying put can be an attractive choice. But the challenges of a packed work schedule, unpleasant customers, and less time to improve one’s mental health is a costly payoff.

With pressure to advance in their career journeys, hospitality can be a brutal environment for young people who want to kick off their independence.


Final Thoughts: No matter what their path is, there should be a little more empathy toward those working in hospitality.

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