Education in America is taken very seriously in the professional world, but not in all professions. In fact at certain levels in the service industry it can sometimes be looked down upon. Beer lifestyle brand, Beer Kulture, posted a tweet recently challenging why that's the case.
Maybe I’m missing something here. But when “education” is scoffed at & made fun of what does that say about the industry?— Beer Kulture™️ (@beerkulture) November 12, 2018
Of course, they were talking about in the beer industry, but it got me to thinking about not just the beer industry but the service industry as a whole. It says exactly what American society has been saying for years about the industry, it isn't respected as it should be. When people speak of the service industry, many speak with a sense of disdain about it, even some people within the restaurant industry. There's a double edged sword of how far can the restaurant service industry can progress without actually progressing. We see this just about every other day in the long debates of the act of tipping, but that's another horse for another race.
No one feels this disdain more than the "career workers" in the front of house staff. The front of house staff are those you see the most when dining at a restaurant; your servers, hosts, and bartenders. People tend to think that these workers are doing this as a "last resort" or due to the lack of or no "institutional" education. A lot of people don't even consider those as "real jobs" due to thinking anyone down on their luck could the do them if needed. But, what about the people who take these jobs very serious and actually seek education in the industry? No, I'm not talking a restaurant management degree, I'm talking ServSafe, Cicerone, Food Allergen, and many more service certifications. They get viewed as the ones who can't perform their jobs effectively because they wanted to further their knowledge by taking courses. These jobs are considered for people who don't want to go to school and don't to further themselves however, but when a person wants to get said education via certifications for restaurant tasks it is laughed upon. I, myself have been in numerous debates about bartending schools and getting certifications, and it has came to the same conclusion that a person is deemed unqualified to do their job correctly because they don't learn how to "really"work. Since when did schools or courses teach you how to work? "Oh that cert not gonna teach you how to crush the rush." Neither is college going to teach you how to move up the ladder of success, but people pay thousands of dollars to go every year. They just give you tools to make life a little easier, however not considered "proper" forms of education, because you can learn on the job? What makes getting further education in these fields so comical and looked down upon? On average a person dines out about no less than three times a week, and many look for that food safety grade to determine where they eat. Plenty of people go to bars and breweries but they wouldn't be open without proper licensing. Wouldn't the experience be so much better if the people you actually talk to at these places were certified to talk to you about these things? What about a bartender who didn't have to go through as many trial and error with certain drinks to give the customer what they wanted? Some arguments have been that why waste money on school and risk not getting hired due to lack of experience, like you can't do these courses WHlLE working. Seriously in the year 2018 if there is one thing this generation can do better than anyone, that is multitasking. It all comes down to my first point, this field isn't respected the way it should be.
Honestly does American society want to respect the industry though? If this server or bartender has these credentials they are worth a little more, hints you can't pay them the normal $2.75/hour or $5/hour wages. That, my dear reader, is scary for the service industry. "Wait, so you mean we're going to have to start treating AND paying these people like actual people?" YES! That is if more people took education in the service industry as serious as it should be taken. But, as long as we have people in the industry who feel that they can get through by just working off just experience alone and shunning those who push to learn more via certifications no we don't. College doesn't teach you how to do your job in your preferred professional field, but you're deemed a professional because of that degree. Why can't those certifications and courses be viewed the same way? The service industry isn't seemed "professional", so why should your schooling in the industry be looked at as such, that's why. Granted I haven't been in the industry as long as many people so I don't know about a time when education was looked at in a better light, if it ever was. I just know about what I'm living through now. When I fell in love with the service industry, and decided that I wanted to bartend and brew beer I became obsessed with it. I wanted to learn everything I could, of course trial and error plays a part but also does studying your craft. I tried to get as many certifications as I could and while currently overseas I still am getting certifications, because this is my passion. Just about everyday I hear of or see someone complaining about people in the service industry like every industry doesn't have people go in it for the wrong reasons. However, the people in it for the right reasons get chastised for taking the job too serious to think that further education will help us in it. Now this is not a piece to say that in order to work in the service industry that you need a number of certifications and that you should go to this or that school. I'm simply stating to in so many words, respect the people who wanted to go a little further in learning their craft! Let people spend money on what they want, especially if it's to better themselves whether you think it is or not. Nothing is constant but change and eventually more people will see the hard work. Education in the industry may be laughable to some now, but there's nothing like a good underdog story.
Airie *A Certified Food handler/Bartender/Certified Beer Server*