8 Things Everybody Should Know Before Getting A Job In Canada's Fast Food Industry
Working at a fast-food restaurant has its pros... and cons.
This Opinion article is part of a Narcity Media series. The views expressed are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.
A common first job for many people in Canada is working at a fast food restaurant, and it makes sense why. Many fast food joints need to have a lot of employees on hand and often will hire workers without any major experience (or any experience at all).
While this type of work certainly has its pros, like discounted food and the ability to hone tons of soft skills, it definitely has its drawbacks and may not be for everyone.
If you're thinking of working in fast food, there are certain things you should be aware of, like what the demands of this kind of work really are. And, who better to give you the low-down than someone whose first job was at Burger King?
Here are eight things you'll want to keep in mind before applying for a job at your local fast-food restaurant.
Be prepared to work odd hours
Many fast-food places are open earlier and later than other establishments, meaning you'll likely be working odd hours, either starting your days very early, ending them quite late, or doing a combination of both (thanks, shift work).
In my case, the Burger King restaurant I worked at had a drive-thru that was open 24 hours, meaning in addition to working early mornings and late nights, I also had to work overnight shifts.
You'll always smell like food
Plans after work? Not without a shower first, unless you love the smell of French fries.
Working at a fast food joint meant always smelling like oil, salt and greasy food afterwards, so keep in mind that your after-work routine will likely need to involve some way to freshen up.
You'll probably end up eating a lot of the restaurant's food
You might think that being behind the scenes and seeing how the restaurant actually prepares its food would put you off eating there, but from my experience (and that of friends who have worked similar jobs), this isn't usually the case.
Maybe it was constantly being surrounded by crispy fries, golden onion rings and juicy burgers, or the fact that I'd usually be working 8 to 9-hour shifts with only 30 minutes to eat, but I found myself eating a lot of Burger King while working there.
I will say it's super convenient to work in a restaurant when you've forgotten to bring your lunch!
You'll be on your feet all day
This shouldn't really be surprising, but in fast food jobs you're usually going to be standing on your feet all day, whether you're working the cash register or on the line preparing the food.
If you're starting a job at a fast food restaurant, invest in some comfortable shoes (you'll likely need to get new non-slip shoes anyway, so use the opportunity to get a pair that will be extra kind on your feet).
The good thing about this, if you're a glass-half-full kind of person, is that sitting for prolonged periods of time has been linked to a number of health concerns, so at least that isn't too much of a worry in a role like this!
You'll be in an environment where safety is paramount
You'll probably be surrounded by a lot of hot things at this job — hot oils, possibly gravies, piping hot food and hot grease.
Burns, as you can imagine, can be easy to come by (I was burned by the fry oil at Burger King by a coworker, extremely minimally, mind you, but that sh*t hurts like hell).
This is why it's extra important to follow the workplace's safety protocols. Ever seen that commercial of the woman in a restaurant carrying a pot of boiling water across the room? Yeah, don't do that.
It could take a toll on your skin
As someone who's prone to breakouts, my skin probably never looked worse than when I worked at Burger King.
According to my dermatologist at the time, a probable reason for this was all the oil in the air in my work environment. It's something to take into consideration if you're considering a job in fast food and are prone to any skin complications.
The environment will be super fast-tempo
It's called fast food for a reason! These kinds of restaurants are all about super quick service, which some might find overwhelming at times.
Oftentimes, you'll be doing multiple things at once while on the job, like taking orders while making a drink, for example, especially if the restaurant you're working at has a drive-thru (if it doesn't, pray it doesn't get one).
You'll likely get a lot of free food!
If you're into free stuff, one big perk about the job is that you'll probably end up getting a lot of food for free or heavily discounted.
While working at Burger King, managers would regularly give us meals for free during our shifts (another contribution to why I ended up eating there so often), but we also had coupons and an employee discount to use when we were off the clock.
Overall, a job in fast food definitely has its benefits.
If you're someone with little or no work experience, it's a great way to gain valuable skills that could make you qualified for higher level roles in the future. Not bad for a first-time gig!