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What's the Difference?

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July 24th, 2006
Comparison/Contrast Essay
Freshman English I  (ENGL100)

     Since my mom became a catering server, people have asked me about her job.  These questions became more prevalent when I, too, became a catering server.  Many people confuse the term catering server with the term waiter/waitress.  Although there are many similarities, there may be more differences between these two jobs.

     Probably the most obvious similarity—the customers get a bill and the employees are paid.  Employees make money—both through their wages and through tips they receive.  Both jobs are in the food business and, as with any food business, the customers are given a menu from which to make their choices.

     The qualifications, skills, and knowledge that are helpful in one job are also helpful in the other.  In both jobs, it is expected that you show up to work on time, have good hygiene, and are neat in appearance.  Not only being able to speak, but also being able to actively listen is a very beneficial trait to have in any job.  In both of these jobs, it is important to understand people’s reactions, look for ways to help them, and then help them.

     The similarities of the job of a catering server and that of a waiter/waitress are apparent to most; what most people don’t understand is what the differences are.

     Location, location, location—this is one difference.  A waiter/waitress works in a restaurant, but a catering server works in various places, such as homes and businesses.  There is a difference in what each job pays.  As a catering server, the wages are higher while the tips are lower.  As a waiter/waitress, this is just the opposite.

Although in both of these jobs, the customer receives a menu, there are a couple of differences that are presented with this.  In a restaurant, every customer is shown a menu, and they choose what they want from it.  At a catered party, the guests are not given a menu.  Before the party, the host picks out one—sometimes more—choice off of a menu and that is what is given to the guests during the party.

     The conditions in which each employee works are quite different.  Catering servers work long, fast-paced hours.  They are on their feet most of the day and have little or no breaks.  Waiters/waitresses have shifts, which results in shorter hours for them.  They have more breaks, and their time at work is a little more slow-paced.

     In most restaurants, the customers are generally middle-class people, while there are generally upper-class business people at catered parties.

     Many people confuse the term catering server with the term waiter/waitress.  Although they are both in the food business and are similar in some ways, the jobs of these employees are quite different.

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