How working in a restaurant can help pay for college.
When I was in high school, I learned there were various ways to help pay for college. During my years as an undergraduate, I worked at T.G.I. Friday’s as a server, and they helped pay for most of my tuition. Today, there are many different ways to help pay for college, but for this article, we’ll focus on how the food-service industry can help meet your education and workforce goals.
Who moves the needle today?
Guild Education, one of the largest companies pioneering tuition assistance with workforce benefits helps students pay for their college degrees through various university partnerships. Also, many of their programs are a phenomenal fit for working adults who want to go back to school and stay out of debt.
According to their site they state, “We have a goal to maintain maximum flexibility for employers and maximum support for employees. Our deep integrations with innovative universities mean we can help you build customized degree programs for a diverse employee population, and offer end-to-end support along the way.
Guild offers companies one of the single most scalable solutions to help prepare the workforce today for the jobs of tomorrow.”
You can see a list of Guild’s university partnerships on their site. According to The 74, companies currently working with Guild include Chipotle, Walmart, Taco Bell, Lowe’s, Discover, Lyft, and Disney.
If you’re a college student, regardless of age or life-stage, and you’re looking for different strategies to help pay for college, don’t underestimate the benefits of creating your path through work.
There are always other choices—you can think outside of the college box and usual path—regardless of what your high school says.
The traditional college path is not the same as it was even ten years ago. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone, do something different than your peers, and consider ways to get ahead financially while staying out of debt.
Here are six reasons you should consider working in the food industry during college.
Help avoid student debt
One critical concern most college students have is the fact that they will most likely get into debt when they go to college. Although you may still need to take out some student loans, you can minimize and even eliminate the financial burden you are about to stack through restaurant work.
Also, although you might not make a great deal of money working as a server or cashier, you can make some extra pocket money while going to school. If you choose to work at a restaurant such as Chipotle, you’ll be on a unique path to help cover college expenses as well.
With technology moving faster than any other time in history, our lives have changed to provide more flexibility. Since many places of dining are open for various shifts, there are often multiple opportunities to work that fit college life.
For example, when you work in a restaurant, you don’t have to stick to a 9-5 schedule or worry about time restrictions that typically come along with daily employment. Although times are changing, and more people are working remotely, it is still essential to get out there, have face-to-face interactions, and learn how the business world works. You can also find networking opportunities through the people you work with or even via your customers. For college students, this type of working arrangement and the flexibility it offers can be an ideal match.
You can eat
Although this may sound like an odd statement, nothing is further from the truth. College students are facing hunger and many live in food deserts. In fact, as of September 2018, over 650 colleges reported having a food pantry on campus that provides free food to college students in need, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office. Various students find themselves short of money for food—especially healthy food.
Students whose brains are still growing should not have to live off of a diet of ramen noodles, soda, and cold, leftover pizza at 2:00 am. If you work in a restaurant, you might get a significant discount on food as well, while some restaurants offer free food to their employees.
Female student studying and listening to music at home
Meet more people and build your network
Meeting people outside of school is not always easy when you’re a college student—and this applies for those who stay at home or go away to school. Finding your new group of friends in a new town or staying home while others go away can come with its own set of new challenges. Working in a restaurant can help you socialize with other employees, make new friends, and even create relationships with customers that can lead to future work.
Down the road, some of the relationships you build now in a restaurant can even turn into business opportunities in the future. You may not see these benefits at the moment, but you never know the path your life might take and who you might run into again in the future.
You’ll learn how to multitask
Many jobs require multitasking, which can be tough to master. When you work in the restaurant industry, you’ll learn how to juggle different tasks all at one time. For example, when I worked as a server, I was not only waiting tables, I was also a host, menu planner, bartender, food runner, and expo. Learning how to use critical multitasking skills can benefit your job today in a restaurant, while bringing newly developed skills to your future career.
There is no question that communication has changed over the past ten years. Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, stated in Quartz at Work in 2018, “What most employers want are written communication, oral communication, team-building, and leadership skills.”
Many college students are used to communicating with their friends, family members, and teachers via technology—through texting, Snapchat, and other apps. Getting used to interacting with other adults in a social setting or within the business world can offer a multitude of benefits that can lead to collaboration, effective communication, and leadership skills.
Learning communication skills and feeling comfortable talking to different people daily outside of mobile devices can be tremendously helpful while practicing the best ways to communicate and collaborate.
Finding a job in the restaurant industry can be highly beneficial for you while you’re in school. Whether you choose a restaurant chain that provides help with college tuition or not, you can still gain invaluable skills for your future, such as communication, collaboration, customer service, multi-tasking, and learning how to lead or run a business.
Consider checking out some of the different restaurant program offerings, and you might be surprised at the many opportunities that await you.
Photo by Viktor Forgacs via Unsplash
And yes, those red and white stripes had a significant impact on my life—it even gave me a some flare to remember.