“In the Service”: New Podcast About the Service Industry

Working in the service industry isn’t easy! As someone who has worked as a waitress, hostess, coat-check gal throughout my 20s, I definitely have my own host of horror stories. But then there’s also the dynamic of the restaurant culture where I meet some of the most incredible people, all presented in a complex situations; to keep people feed and happy. While I’ve moved on, I still feel connected to that past life where I love reading material or seeing movies related to the service industry. So I was thrilled when I learned more about In the Service, a new podcast about the restaurant industry from the front of house perspective. Hosted by Kath and Jan, two women in New York City with a combined 20 years of service experience, the podcast includes the good, the bad and the ugly of working in restaurants. The hosts invite a special guest each week who is currently or has previously been in the industry so they can share their experience. Show topics range from bad Yelp reviews, tipping culture, and sexism in the industry, to dating in the workplace and dealing with drunk diners. Guests range from sommeliers, industry professionals, entrepreneurs, comedians, and business owners.  Check out our recent interview with the duo to learn more about them and their new podcast.

In the Service Podcast Interview

In the Service Podcast Interview

Wellness Patterns: How did the idea of In the Service come about?

In the Service Podcast Hosts: The idea for In The Service came about as we were rehashing the horrors of a particularly difficult night after work. Per usual, we went to our after work bar and vented over cheap tequila and beer. I posed the idea to ‘Jan’ as a way for us to share our experiences with people who we know would appreciate them most, our friends and other people in the industry. We decided to use the aliases, Kath and Jan so we could share true stories with listeners. In The Service has evolved to incorporate guests on the show who are either currently or have previously been in the service industry to share their experiences. Our goal was to make In The Service a podcast that everyone could enjoy- people who have been in the service (who can laugh and commiserate with us) people who haven’t been in the service (who may be shocked about what happens behind the scenes) and for people who love food and going out to eat.

Wellness Patterns: How do you plan out which topics to cover?

In the Service Podcast Hosts: We have a running list of issues we are particularly interested in, and we adjust each topic to the guest we welcome on our show. For example, in Episode 12, we welcomed Zahra Tangorra, former restaurant owner of Brucie turned consultant. We focused the topic around her experience opening and operating a restaurant with no experience and showcasing how difficult it can be. We also have organically picked topics based on ideas, situations, or strange encounters that have happened to us when we have been bartending or serving.

in the service podcast

Wellness Patterns: What has been the reaction so far?

In the Service Podcast Hosts: The reaction has been great so far! We have found that people are interested in what we have to say, both industry professionals and people who have never worked in the industry which is awesome. We are excited that we have been attracting a range of listeners so we can shine a light on the service industry which does not always get the recognition it deserves. We also received positive feedback about our approach to the show in that even though we do share difficult stories, we are still focused on the positive aspects of the industry. Despite our bad shifts, we are still passionate and committed to the industry.

Wellness Patterns: Why do you think it’s important to cover restaurant culture from the POV of the service workers?

In the Service Podcast Hosts: We think it’s important to remind listeners that we are people first, not just servers and bartenders. Guests can have an Oz like mentality about restaurants, they see the smoke, mirrors and magic that happens but often forget that there are people behind the curtain running the show. We also think it’s important to talk about issues that do not get discussed frequently or at all. We want to inform listeners about the darker side of what we experience ranging from difficult guests and managers to tipping culture, undocumented workers and other issues that have plagued the industry for so long.

Wellness Patterns: In ep.5 you discuss tipping and gender inequality, why was that important to tackle?

In the Service Podcast Hosts: As women in the industry, we felt that it was extremely important to shine a light on the gender inequality that unfortunately still exists in the service industry. As female servers and bartenders, we have noticed discrepancies in how we are treated in comparison with our male coworkers from guests and even management. As women, we are expected to smile, wear makeup and and be personable almost to the point of flirty with guests – things which are not expected of our male counterparts. In episode 5, we were joined by, ‘Charlie’ a female Sommelier at a fine dining restaurant in midtown Manhattan. Charlie shared that in her experience, guests were more likely to question her wine background, something that never happened to her male colleagues or assume that she was not in fact the Sommelier. We are frustrated by the expectation that we need to be flirty to get a normal 20% tip. We want to dispel the idea that we are interested in hanging out with you and your bachelor party after we finish work. Most of all, we want people to consider the thing they are about to say to a woman (i.e. smile more), ask themselves if they would say it to a man, and if the answer is no, then to keep their mouth closed. Ultimately, we want the guest to have the best experience possible and that will not happen if you are making us uncomfortable.

Wellness Patterns: What’s next for the In the Service?

In the Service Podcast Hosts: We have our first live show, In The Service Live and on the Floor at the People’s Improv Theater on July 17 at 9:30PM! We will be chatting with Keith Malley (Keith and The Girl) and welcoming back guests, Zahra Tangorra (High Five Girl), Jay Neal (Chef de Cuisine at Riviera Catering) and more! We can’t wait to record in front of a live audience and get them involved. We are really excited about all the podcast festivals happening and would love to be able to attend and eventually present! We are also working on some In The Service merch so hopefully you can expect to see that on our site later this summer. We are excited to continue recording and chatting about the industry with our great guests!

Recent “In the Service” Podcasts

Episode 1: “So you’re a real waitress?” – Welcome to In The Service, a podcast about the service industry from the front of house perspective. Meet your hosts, “Kath” and “Jan” who are two rad chicks living and serving in New York City. They’ll tell you everything, except their real names.Episode 4: “Waitress Was Mean” – Our favorite Yelp reviews about ourselves and our co-servers feat. Jen Neal. Everyone thinks that they’re a restaurant critic and reviewer on Yelp and Open Table. Kath and Jan discuss how they think these public reviews have affected the restaurant industry and their jobs as servers. Yelp is also the reason that they’ll never use their real names during service. Here to chat is special guest, Jen Neal about her experience in the industry pre and post Yelp!

Episode 5: ‘Women in the Industry’ ft. Charlie. – Despite the fact that it’s 2017, Bey is queen and the #FutureIsFemale, there is still a lot of gender inequality in the workplace – especially in the service industry. In celebration of Women’s History Month, Kath & Jan discuss there is still a big difference in how guests treat, tip and act towards female servers, bartenders and sommeliers versus their behavior towards men in the industry. Kath & Jan are joined by guest, Charlie, a sommelier in midtown manhattan who shares her experience.

And if you happen to be in NYC, you can see them live at the People’s Improv Theater! Check out the full details here: http://thepit-nyc.com/event/2017-07-17-in-the-service-podcast-live-on-the-floor

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