Moving from Restaurants to the Tech Industry? You Have a Valuable Skill Set

Are you moving from the service industry to tech? That can be an incredibly daunting task with a lot of uncertainty. The world of restaurants is a common way of paying your bills today. It’s dynamic, fast-paced, can be very fun, and teaches you some excellent life skills. While some people love it and stay in the industry for years, others look toward tech as a way to branch out. While restaurant work has its benefits, there are many reasons people may wish to change course. Those could include a more consistent paycheck, less physically-demanding work, or the desire to build a new skill set and a career.

Whatever it is, the jump can seem intimidating at first. I come with some good news for those who just got a job, are looking for a job, or even are simply thinking about a career change toward tech. The skill set you have been developing is very useful. And, if you know how to apply those skills, they can translate incredibly effectively to tech! These skills can go on your resume and help you gain confidence in your new job. They can even help you reframe what you have learned in the past and use it in the future.

Communication Skills

Knowing how to parse what people want is a critical skill in all aspects of almost any job. This takes a long time to develop as you must learn to pay attention to subtle details. This applies to speaking with clients, talking with your boss, or discussing game plans with your teammates. When working with your guests in a restaurant, you often have to have an “invisible hand” guiding them, a way to get the best results while the guest barely notices what is going on behind the scenes.

Some people want to be in charge of the interaction and want others to agree with them. Others may want to have you call the shots so they don’t have to stress about decision-making. Finding out what people want and being able to adjust accordingly is an incredibly tricky balance but one that the service industry builds consistently.

When working with any team it’s important to maintain this high level of communication. That includes being able to work as a team, keeping each other in the loop on what you are working on, giving regular updates, and, most importantly, asking for help when you need it. When working with clients in tech, understanding what kind of working structure they have or what style of communication they prefer is similar to figuring out what type of experience a guest would like to have for a night out. Being able to effortlessly switch gears to adjust to each client’s unique needs will prove to be a crucial skill.

Time Management

When working in a restaurant on a busy Friday night, seconds can make a big difference in the quality of your work. While working in tech is much less fast-paced, it’s similarly important to manage your time and organize your tasks efficiently. Similar to managing the flow of good table service, you have to make sure that the features of your app flow into the next. If one feature depends on another, you need to make sure you’ve prioritized it correctly.

One important thing you should consider is that, when working in a restaurant, the work comes to you. When a group of people sits down, you have two minutes to talk to them and introduce yourself. When you have six tables or more, it seems you never have downtime. You’re dealing with drink orders, food orders, cleaning out plates, and greeting new guests. It eventually gets to a point where you are in a flow with a constant stream of time-sensitive tasks.

When you work in tech you need to manage your own time. If you don’t get started on something, sometimes no one will be there to check in on the status of it. This will be on your to make sure that instead of your tasks coming to you, you need to be proactive in approaching those tasks. You will typically have stand-ups once a day to give updates. However, even with those, learning to stay engaged and keep a good pace takes practice and focus. No one wants to be crunching at the end of a sprint.
Some people benefit from apps like Todoist or using the Pomodoro Technique . But, try your own methods and see what’s best for your working style!


When working in restaurants, whether it’s front or back of house, if you aren’t organized you will drown quickly. Mentally being on top of everything around you takes a long time to develop and is a critical skill in any line of work. If you work back of house, mise en place is a commonly used concept. That’s the idea of everything being in its place. The skill set developed from this teaches the importance of having everything prepared and predictable so that, when it comes time to need a tool, you know exactly what and where it is.

The same is very necessary for a tech position. You have to be on top of your tickets, what they need to complete, how they work with each other, where your team is at, and many other factors. Having a mental understanding of what tools and assistance you have at your disposal will go a long way in keeping on top of your work.

Complex Problem Solving and Critical Thinking

This one may seem basic but it is anything but. A lot of jobs will have problems you can solve the same way. Reference a manual, repeat a sequence of events, and every time you have the same result. This is far from the case for both restaurants and tech. When moving to a tech position, you might be surprised at how much thinking on your feet to find a solution is a universally useful skill.

In both industries, the problems you face will be dynamic, constantly changing, and varying wildly based on who is involved, what this issue may affect, and how you need to approach it. Sometimes you will need help, sometimes you will need to find creative resources, but always you will need to think on your feet and produce dependable solutions. The ability to never get discouraged when faced with a problem is a skill set that is incredibly hard to come by!

Knowing the Value of Your Skill Set

Regardless if this is your first job in tech, or you are just in the beginning of your journey in switching careers, it’s important to remember that these soft skills are often times just as important as anything else when working in tech. The hard skills will naturally come with time and practice. The passion, the desire to learn, and all the mental fortitude you’ve gained from working in restaurants can be massively beneficial if you know how to properly apply them.