10 Lessons from a Hot Dog Joint

10 Lessons from a Hot Dog Joint

My first part-time job in high school was working at a burger and hot dog joint called Clixes. It was the hangout spot where everyone went after the high school basketball games. I get nostalgic every time I think about the good times I had working there, and the life lessons I learned along the way:

1. Smile and be positive. The easiest way to please your customers and earn a nice tip is to put a smile on your face and be friendly and engaging. Money made easy!

2. Multitask when you can, focus when you must. Sure, I could make a pot of coffee, chat with a customer at the counter, and hand off a to-go package simultaneously. But, put me on the register to return the proper change to a paying customer, and I needed all pistons firing to get it right. Know when to give all your attention to the job at hand to make it right.

3. Be loyal and dependable. I saw other employees come and go; some were consistently late, undependable, or dishonest. Give your employer or client the courtesy of what you would expect from them: to be treated fairly.

4. Ask, or it may never happen. Part of my hourly wage was attributed to the tips I earned, but when it came time to ask for a raise from my boss, I got it. If I didn’t ask, I wouldn’t have.

5. Hard work fosters independence. Once I started bringing home a few bucks, I was off my parents’ payroll. It was the end of my free ride, but spending and saving my own money was gratifying and satisfying!

6. Hustle, Hustle. During the dinner rush time goes fast and money is made. Make hay while the sun shines and grasp every opportunity to build your business.

7. Know who your friends are. I have friendships that have lasted over 35 years from my job at Clixes, including a former co-worker who is now a client! Thanks, Ron Pruiksma!

8. Be kind. We had customers from all walks of life, from C-suite executives to people who were barely scratching a living together. Treat them all the same.

9. Be shrewd. If you create a special promotion, understand the value of what you are giving away. Know when you can bend the rules and when you need to stick to your guns. If you make an exception for someone, let them know that you are doing it because you value them as a customer.

10. Be like Clix. My fond memories stemmed from a first job in which I was regarded as a valuable team member by the owner, Clix. Respect and fairness came from the top. Build a solid team by being a solid leader. Like Clix.