Similar to other jobs in the market, dishwasher jobs, too, require applicants to present themselves in the most professional manner. This is due to the highly demanding nature of the job which, as you might be aware, has little margin for error, especially when working for busy restaurants. As you look to secure a job as a dishwasher, there are several factors that you should keep in mind. Luckily, as you read on, you will find out everything you need to know about dishwashing jobs, and how to strategically position yourself to land a job and boost your income.
In this guide, we will look to discuss some of the tips and skills needed to work as a dishwasher. However, before discussing individual skills, it is important to have a rich understanding of the job and what it entails. Having such knowledge is crucial, especially if you look to build a successful career in the restaurant industry. An important point that you should always keep in mind is that most restaurant jobs have a high potential for career growth. That is, although you might start as a dishwasher, you can gradually rise in rank provided you remain consistent, result-oriented and committed to your job.
What does a dishwasher job position and responsibilities entail?
Also referred to as kitchen helpers, dishwashers are important restaurant employees who work in the kitchen area. As a kitchen helper, your main tasks will be to clean utensils, dishes and a host of other kitchen appliances. Therefore, this implies that you must be hands-on and up to the task, more so when working at a busy restaurant.
On many occasions, dishwashers perform the role of mopping floors and other kitchen areas that need regular cleaning. Therefore, to perform their roles successfully, dishwashers are required to observe high levels of hygiene.
Unlike performing the basic dishwashing chores at home, dishwashing at a restaurant relies on specialized machinery to increase efficiency. This means that your work as a dishwasher will be to offload cutlery brought by bussers and load them carefully in the trays of the commercial washers. However, since some large pans and pots cannot fit in the commercial washers, you will be occasionally required to clean such cutlery the old fashioned way.
Dishwashers are usually among the last people to leave since, prior to leaving the restaurant, the kitchen should be spick and span to allow for other activities such as meal preparation. As such, you must be psychologically prepared to work late in the night is scheduled to work on the night shift.
It goes without saying that hygiene is a highly sensitive area in the restaurant business. Therefore, your role as a dishwasher is highly crucial to the success of a restaurant. As such, you should always be ready to meet deadlines and maintain the highest level of hygiene at work.
Your main duties and tasks as a dishwasher
As you look to land a job in the dishwashing department, it is crucial to note that the role of a dishwasher may vary depending on a restaurant`s size and performance. For busy restaurants, it is not unusual for a dishwasher to take up more roles but at higher pay. Therefore, it is important to remain flexible enough to perform the various tasks as per the specifications of your employer. That said, below are some of the basic duties and tasks will be expected of you like a dishwasher.
- Cleaning and washing
If you want to be successful in a dishwashing job, then you must be prepared to clean kitchen utensils thoroughly. Your role will be to wash and clean glassware, dishes, pots, utensils, pans, and silverware. Basically, you will be required to collect dirty items and place them in the required cleaning areas.
As a kitchen hygiene expert, you will need to have an understanding of using the available cleaning equipment. For most restaurants, dishwashers must know how to use pressure hoses, steam cleaners, disinfecting chemicals, and dishwasher machines. Although you can always learn how to use complex equipment while at work, it is advisable to have a basic understanding of how cleaning devices work for you to stand a chance of landing a job.
In addition to cleaning and using equipment, it is the dishwasher`s role to dry and place all utensils in the appropriate areas. Storage is an important part of the dishwashing process since the utensils must be easily accessible for a smooth flow of activities.
- Cleaning kitchen floors and other sensitive areas
As mentioned earlier, the dishwasher position is not limited to cleaning utensils only. On the contrary, as a dishwasher, you will be required to keep several kitchen areas clean. As such, your work will be to mop, sweep and even scrub floors. In the event of spillage in the kitchen area, it is your responsibility to tidy up the mess before the entire kitchen area becomes untidy.
Moreover, a dishwasher is also responsible for cleaning sensitive surfaces such as stoves, kitchen windows and even cutting boards. For you to be successful as a dishwasher, you will have to be hands-on to detect sensitive areas that need cleaning.
- Sorting waste
It is the role of a dishwasher to sort garbage and ensure that litter cans are in the designated areas. Since the kitchen is usually full of waste from peelings and foodstuffs, it is important to maintain a high level of hygiene to prevent waste from accumulating. As such, dishwashers must be on the lookout to ensure that all garbage is properly disposed of.
Also, it is the role of a dishwasher to ensure that garbage cans are regularly disinfected and cleaned in a bid to comply with health regulations. Although some restaurants hire cleaners to focus on the garbage disposal, kitchen trash is mostly handled by dishwashers.
- Unloading supplies and helping out
A dishwasher is usually viewed as a handyman in the kitchen environment. With chefs looking to beat meal preparation deadlines, they rely heavily on dishwashers to unload supplies from the kitchen storage to the required working areas. Although dishwashers are not required to manage the food storage area, they can be requested to assist in loading and unloading. Similarly, dishwashers can also be required to help out in cleaning other areas, especially during peak hours.
- Restocking cook stations and dining areas
As a dishwasher, you will be required to restock kitchen and dining areas after cleaning. Once appointed, a dishwasher is usually oriented on how to tackle specific jobs, and the designated areas to store cutlery and other equipment. This ensures that there are no delays when chefs or waiters want access to specific items.
- Reporting irregularities
Unfortunately, losing your dishwashing job can be easy, especially if you fail to communicate irregularities in time. Whenever damages occur or cleaning supplies are short, it is your role to notify the manager or your supervisor. While failing to report an incident might not directly lead to job termination, it can lower your chances of promotion since you may appear incompetent. As such, it is your role as a dishwasher to take charge of your work area and make timely reports in the event of irregularities.
The basic skills and attributes required of dishwashers
To tackle all the dishwasher responsibilities, you will need to have the following skills and attributes.
Good listening skills
Put simply, a dishwasher must be a good listener. Due to the demanding nature of the restaurant environment, you must be willing to learn and listen. The key to succeeding as a dishwasher is to always follow instructions. If you follow your supervisor`s specific guidelines, then chances are you will be a great success in your post. However, you have to be keen enough to remember important, work-related information as a simple mistake can ruin your reputation as a reliable employee.
Since time is a rare commodity in almost every job, you will be required to maintain the highest level of punctuality in a dishwashing post. The chefs and waiters cannot function without the presence of a dishwasher. Due to this, it is critical to respect your time and that of your colleagues to ensure that no delays occur at work. While you can be forgiven for delaying once, making a habit of arriving late to work will only increase your chances of being fired.
As a good dishwasher, it is your responsibility to act as a link between all other kitchen staff. To explain further, dishwashers have to ensure that chefs receive their cooking utensils upon request. Moreover, busser deliveries must also be received in time to prevent the accumulation of dirty utensils. When it comes to garbage disposal, a dishwasher must coordinate with the relevant parties to ensure that garbage is always kept in the designated area for collection, and disposed of well in time.
As mentioned earlier, a dishwasher must report irregularities whenever they occur. Since as a dishwasher you will handle almost all the cleaning, cooking and serving equipment, it is your responsibility to notify your supervisor when you detect something wrong. For instance, if the equipment is damaged, or a glass breaks during delivery, then you must report to the relevant authority even if you had nothing to do with the damage.
Control and operation
Contrary to popular belief, the dishwashing job can be technical, especially when it comes to handling complex equipment. As a dishwasher, you must be mentally prepared to use equipment you’ve never seen or used before. Once you have been oriented by your supervisor on how things are done at work, it is your responsibility to ensure that all equipment, from the simplest to the most complicated, function as required.
Anyone looking to work in the restaurant business must be prepared to collaborate with colleagues. Unlike most office jobs where employees can easily spend the entire day locked up in their respective cubes, the dishwasher job is highly interactive as it will require you to communicate and cooperate with your colleagues. You must be willing to help out when called out to assist. As a dishwasher, it is your role to be on standby and go out of your way to help colleagues achieve their respective tasks when in need.
Since the kitchen environment is ever busy, you will need to come up with immediate solutions to problems. This means that, as a dishwasher, you must learn to prioritize your tasks. For instance, you should be smart enough to start with emergency tasks such as wiping spills, washing dishes then finish up with the less demanding tasks. If you are a slow thinker, then working as a dishwasher might overwhelm you, especially during the peak periods where everyone is expected to be fast.
Decision making and proper judgment
You must check to ensure that all kitchen and cleaning equipment functions well before being put to use. Furthermore, since you will be informed on how to use various kitchen and restaurant equipment, you will be required to be efficient, and avoid overusing or wasting available resources. As such you will need to know when to use electronic devices and how to use them effectively. To succeed as a dishwasher, it is important to be open-minded enough to know which areas need more attention than others.
The greatest challenge when working as a dishwasher is managing your personal schedule. Dishwashers need to be on standby depending on the needs of the restaurant. On busy days you might be required to put in more hours to help manage the workload. On the other hand, you can be switched from day to night duty if your supervisor chooses to do so. Therefore, flexibility is a compulsory attribute when it comes to working as a dishwasher.
Working in the kitchen area requires a lot of patience since the high-pressure environment increases tension in the workplace. As such, you should get used to criticism from the chef, supervisor and even your colleagues, especially when you are starting out. To survive the intense restaurant environment, it is advisable to practice patience while working on self-improvement.
Attention to detail
Most dishwashers lose their jobs due to complacency. To avoid such outcomes, we recommend taking extra caution when performing your tasks. In the restaurant business, fine details can make a lot of difference. Therefore, be sure to take your time when performing your duties. It is your work to ensure that every item is clean and ready for use.
If you have ever gone through a job advertisement for dishwashers, then you will agree that restaurants prefer hiring people who require little to no supervision in order to perform. This implies that for you to thrive in the high-pressure restaurant environment, then you will need to be independent in your activities and decision making. Always ensure that you know what to do, how to do it and when to do it.
In the food business, integrity is compulsory for any organization to succeed. Therefore, as an employee working in the cleaning department, you must be fully committed to performing your work to the best of your ability. Remember, failing to wash the utensils well enough can lead to health issues which, in severe cases, can lead to the closure of the business. Due to this, it is important to be professional enough when performing your duties to avoid putting the entire team in compromising situations.
A positive attitude can take you far, more so in the highly demanding restaurant business. For people working as dishwashers, it is normal to feel fatigued every once now and then. However, you have to cultivate a positive attitude that will allow you to perform to the best of your ability regardless of personal or work-related issues. Employees with poor attitudes tend to have strained relationships with both their bosses and colleagues.
Since the dishwasher position requires a mastery of different skills, having the ability to perform several tasks is an added advantage. A dishwasher is a team player who is expected to help out when needed; therefore, you have to be prepared to fill in for colleagues such as waiters and other cleaners when the need arises. Versatility is a positive trait that can help expose you to several opportunities since, by performing other tasks, you will have the chance to prove that you can actually excel in other departments.
What employers look for in applicants for a dishwashing job
While landing a job as a dishwasher does not require a college degree, you will still need to prove that you are competent enough to secure the job. Here are some of the basic requirements your employer will look for before giving you the job.
- High school diploma or it’s equivalent
If you have a high school diploma, then you qualify to work as a dishwasher provided you submit a compelling resume. Graduating from high school implies that you are learned enough to grasp basic concepts, and understand institutional laws as well as legal regulations. Since compliance with regulations is a highly sensitive issue in the restaurant business, a high school diploma will prove to employers that you have the capacity to understand regulations and observe laws.
- Work experience
Luckily, work experience is not a mandatory requirement when looking to work as a dishwasher. As such, avoid lying about work experience since it can end up costing you the job once the employers notice you are inexperienced. If you have never worked in such a capacity before, be sure to indicate that you are a fast learner who is always keen to learn in your resume. Provided the recruiters are impressed with your presentation, you can be employed and trained while at work.
Put simply, the strength of your resume goes a long way in determining whether you land the job. Since the dishwasher position has little academic requirements, you should expect intense competition, especially if you are looking to land a job in big restaurants. Due to this, you must be prepared to write a compelling resume that lists all your strengths. If you have previous experience, be sure to indicate it in your resume.
Tips on securing a job as a dishwasher
Dress well for the interview
If you receive a call back after dropping your resume, then chances of employment are high provided you nail the interview phase. However, since the job requires high levels of hygiene, it is advisable to dress neatly for the interview. For the dishwasher position, you don’t need to put on a designer suit to stand out; in fact, you can appeal to the interviewers by appearing neat, simple and well organized.
Write a powerful resume
Although academic qualifications do not play a huge role in determining recruits in the dishwashing department, having a well-written CV can help you stand out from other applicants. Since we have already listed the desirable skills and attributes required for a dishwasher, you can select the ones that you feel reflect your personality most. A good resume will make you appear professional and committed enough to perform well in the advertised role.
Unfortunately, some people tend to wait for TV advertisements, flyers or posters to offer alerts on job vacancies. Restaurants tend to replace employees immediately to avoid causing unnecessary delays or inconveniences to clients. Thus, to take advantage of potential openings, it is advisable to use the internet and other available resources to find out more about vacancies in your neighborhood. You can even make physical visits to restaurants and inquire about vacancies. If the restaurant isn’t hiring, worry not, though, since you will be up for consideration when a vacancy arises.
You don’t have to work at a five-star hotel or restaurant for your career to pick. It is better to start small and learn the basics about the business as you build your CV. If you lack enough dishwashing experience, working in a busy kitchen environment can be daunting, especially during peak hours when everyone is on the move. Due to this, it is advisable to start in low-pressure environments that can allow you to grow.
As can be seen, securing a dishwasher position at a restaurant is not as easy as most people perceive. However, with the right strategies, it is possible to land the job and excel at it. A dishwasher is a vital employee whose contributions can directly influence the performance of a restaurant. However, as you look to secure the position, you must be prepared to work in a demanding, high-pressure environment.
With the supervisor, chefs, and other colleagues constantly on your back, it is very easy to get discouraged and develop a negative attitude. This explains the importance to have most, if not all the skills and attributes mentioned in the earlier section. To succeed as a dishwasher, you must be willing to work as part of a larger team and remain committed to your job regardless of the circumstances.
Now that we have discussed all the tips, skills and attributes required to succeed as a dishwasher, it is now your turn to take the final step and apply for the job. Do not hesitate to reach out to several restaurants and inquire about dishwashing vacancies. Remember, by making several applications for the position, you increase your chances of successfully landing the job.