By: Sushania Pryce, Work and Travel Ambassador Scholar

Federal Jacks just before opening on a typical workday.

Federal Jacks just before opening on a typical workday.

Federal Jacks Restaurant and Brewpub is located in a town called Kennebunk in the state of Maine. It is a large restaurant that has the best view of the water in Kennebunk. The restaurant has an interior dining room and an open deck; it also features two bars. Federal Jacks is famous for its beers, which are all brewed in the brewery located on the ground floor of the restaurant.

Last summer was my first time working at Federal Jacks. I had such a wonderful time that I had to go back a second time around. Last year I was a hostess/busser, however this year I have begun training to become a server as well. I am very excited and looking forward to acquiring this new skill in customer service and the restaurant industry.

Being a hostess/busser/server means that you are essentially working at the front of the house of the restaurant. As a hostess/busser, I am responsible for greeting and seating guests as well as clearing and setting tables.

Federal Jacks upon arriving to work on a typical workday. One of duties is to take down the chairs, wipe and set the tables.

Federal Jacks upon arriving to work on a typical workday. One of duties is to take down the chairs, wipe and set the tables.

Restocking chowder cups in the prep room.

Restocking chowder cups in the prep room.

A typical workday begins with me arriving to work and clocking in. After that, I then begin to clean and set the tables and prepare the restaurant for opening which is at 11 o’ clock. Both sides of the restaurant, that is both the deck and main dining room, has to be set. There is often a lead host who does most of the greeting and her ‘co-hosts’, who do most of the seating, clearing of plates and resetting of tables. Federal Jacks is very busy during the summer and there is often a wait, especially for the outside deck. As a host I have to be very proactive and work as fast and efficiently as I can. I also have to do a lot of pre-bussing, which entails taking away guests plates as soon as they have completed their meals. This not only benefits the servers, but also me as the host/busser a great deal, especially when the guests leave. At the beginning and end of my host/busser shift, there are a number of side work duties that I must carry out. These include changing the water in the sani-buckets, restocking the silverware, checking the restrooms periodically, and checking with each server to ensure that they are not overwhelmed.

Taking food out to guests.

Taking food out to guests.

Making a cup of chowder for guests with my co-worker Jess.

Making a cup of chowder for guests with my co-worker Jess.

In order to become a server at Federal Jacks you have to have had serving experience or have been a host/busser/food runner. As a server I am responsible for taking the guests food and drink orders and ensuring that they have an enjoyable experience. However, a server has other duties that he/she has to carry out. On a typical workday I arrive at work and begin doing my ‘side work’. These vary and may include brewing the coffee in the morning, refilling the salt and pepper shakers, topping off the condiments and filling the ice containers. At the end of the shift closing duties may include but not be limited to leaving the coffee pots to soak overnight, washing the salt and pepper shakers, emptying the trash, restocking bottled soda, washing serving trays and restocking glasses.

At the end of the shift, having fun at Federal Jacks with my co-workers Liz, Neil and Brit.

At the end of the shift, having fun at Federal Jacks with my co-workers Liz, Neil and Brit.

At the end of my shift I would stay after work and have a drink or get dessert with my co-workers. We would talk about random issues, and it is always a good way for me to learn about the American culture as well as share my own culture. I enjoy working at Federal Jacks, but most of all I enjoy interacting with the diverse group of individuals I encounter each day!

This year, Sushania is an Ambassador Scholar with CCI Greenheart’s Ambassador Scholars program. Follow her and the rest of the scholars as they create videos, blog posts and volunteer in their local American communities!