Tips getting a summer job in a restaurant?

Joined Jul 27, 2010
So I'll be headed off to college this fall (not culinary school, I'm sorry to say), and I need a summer job (perhaps for a month in the winter as well). Since I started getting into cooking a few years ago I have thought it would be cool to work in a restaurant, with the ultimate goal of being a cook somewhere. Is this wishful thinking, or do kids actually get cooking jobs for just the summer?

There aren't a lot of great restaurants within walking distance of where I live, and I probably won't have a car this summer. The Ninety-Nine used to be at the top of my list of places to work, but I don't think working there would really open my mind to how good food is produced... But now I found out there's going to be a fine-dining restaurant opening in my home town some time in the spring (here's their website if you're interested)... Looks so awesome! I would be stoked to eat there this summer, let alone work there. Needless to say, I would be overjoyed to work there even as a dishwasher or something like that. It seems like a great opportunity because it's opening and I suspect they'll want some extra help. I'll send an email to their careers address some time soon, but is there anything specific I should include/not include? Is there a certain way I should present myself in this email?

FYI, my credentials are pretty nonexistant... What I have going for me:
  • I love to cook and I would be extremely enthusiastic even in a non-cooking job. I would be especially happy working at place like 80 Thoreau because I've always been curious about French-American cuisine, and fine dining in general. I also love their philosophy of casual hospitality (sounds like BS I know haha).
  • The owners grew up in my home town and probably have a personal connection to this community. As a soon-to-graduate student at the high school, they might like me as I'm pretty connected to this community myself.
  • I tend to be pretty focused at what I do. I'm pretty smart (well at least I have decent grades although it probably doesn't matter) and could contribute ideas to help the restaurant get started. I can be a good communicator but I'm not very outgoing so I don't think I would make a good server (at least at first).
  • I play guitar in a band and could provide some very classy jazz music.
If I mentioned the last two bullet points I might seem a little pompous or presumptuous but from their website it seems like the people behind this joint are really cool. I dunno. What do you think?

Thanks for reading and if you have any tips for getting a summer job at any restaurant (not just one that's opening), I'd love to hear them.

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Joined Jan 12, 2010
Most restaurants, from what I understand, want someone they can rely on for a long period of time as a cook.  If they hire someone temporarily, they probably want experience as to them it means less training.  Students unfortunately aren't optimal candidates for working in the back of the house.  My advice is try to find a server position.  You get work better hours and make more per hour (although it is less hours) and is great part-time work during school and they usually have a high turnover rate so it's just easier to score a job. 


Joined Feb 18, 2011
I work in the town you're looking at, I would try to look at country clubs for the work you're looking for, they are always looking for help.
Joined Jul 27, 2010
Landed a job as a busser in case anybody cares... Booyah!
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Joined Apr 18, 2011
Congrats man! Maybe you'll gain more knowledge and respect for the whole operation doing that. Who knows? Maybe you'll look into starting your own after college.

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