Is working in the food industry hard?

Food service jobs are among the most abundant and easiest to get because they generally don't require skills of any kind, except for following orders. Unfortunately, the industry offers some of the worst jobs in a so-called civilized society. Yesterday, protests were organized around the world, including in Miami, because of the industry's low wages. I just want people to understand a few things.

If you see someone working in a restaurant right now, it's because they love it or because they're committed to them. They are doing everything they can to the best of their ability. Working in the kitchen is a skill, so we need people who have those skills and who are motivated and dedicated to working in a difficult environment. It can be difficult to understand the stress of having someone constantly look over their shoulder if they haven't had or never had to work in a job like this.

By definition, they are almost everyone who has power in this country. If it were true that food service is just a paycheck for those who are waiting for their “real career” to appear, then presumably no one would care one way or another about the work itself. It's clear that serving food and preparing drinks isn't the revolving door it's intended to be. At McDonald's, I asked the manager who wrote to me about losing his temper at Mustard Lady if anyone had ever thrown food at him, and, if so, how he had kept it together.

Tina Vasquez is a senior writer at The Counter focusing on immigration, gender and food systems. If you want to start a career in the food business, here's what you need to know about this job. In pop culture, it's after-school work for teens, though only about 30 percent of fast-food workers are teenagers. They will package and inspect food products that go down the conveyor belt in accordance with strict company standards and quotas.

That includes loading the products into the machine, checking the quality of the finished products, and ensuring that the machines are clean and disinfected so that they do not contaminate food. Since food production tends to operate 24 hours a day, there are many shifts available that can adapt to your schedule. I have friends who lost their jobs in the service industry or had their hours reduced; now they do jobs that have nothing to do with food. Cathey, who started working at her mother's restaurant when she was a teenager, says she wanted to sacrifice her shifts for her co-workers because the food industry has always felt like home to her.

Everyone I spoke to at my McDonald's, along with the many other fast food workers I interviewed, had food thrown at them. The cereal you ate this morning, the vegetables frozen in the freezer, the meat you throw on the grill, all of those food products wouldn't be available to you if it weren't for food production workers. The scheduling systems used for staff at most major retail and fast-food chains have become extremely good at using past sales data to extrapolate how much business to expect every hour of the next week.

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Claire Ence
Claire Ence

Avid coffee geek. Lifelong rock climbing maven. Hardcore foodie & travel junkie!