Café, restaurant and bar work

How to start

Go into places near you and ask whether they have any vacancies. Make an effort
with your appearance if you want to be considered for a job serving customers; look smart, together and professional.  Take a simple CV with your contact details and any relevant experience; you can then leave this for the manager to consider.

Most places like you to be 16+ if you’re dealing with customers, though might offer younger people “backroom” jobs such as washing up or cleaning.

How much pay?

  • If you’re over 16 you’re entitled to the national minimum wage.  Many places will pay more than this. Generally you’ll get more if you’re serving customers than in a backroom role

Things to remember

  • You can work in a bar or serving alcohol if you’re under 18, but there are restrictions (your employer is responsible for checking that these are followed)
  • If you’re working late, make sure you can get home safely. If you need to use taxis, don’t forget that this will eat into the amount of money you earn
  • Check how many shifts you are expected to work, and when. Late nights during the week will interfere with your schoolwork. Late nights at the weekend will interfere with your social life.
  • Make sure you know your basic job and how your place of work operates (orders, payments, who does what) before you are thrown into the deep end. You probably won’t have any formal training but your employer does need to explain the basics.
  • Make sure you know who can help you when you get stuck or have to deal with difficult or unreasonable customers (there will always be some)
  • Make sure you understand the arrangements for tips, to avoid any arguments

If you like this sort of work, you might think about doing it full-time. Have a look at relevant job profiles on the National Careers Service website to see if something inspires you.

Have a look at our other ideas for part-time jobs:

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Ideas for part-time jobs