Safety Tips For Women Working In The Hospitality Or Service Industry
If you are a woman, then you likely spend a lot of your day avoiding unwanted advances from men, telling guys to back off, and giving the death stare to men who tell you that you should “smile more”. But if you’re a woman who works in hospitality, as a bartender, server, concierge, or cocktail waitress, you can’t do those things. It’s a part of your job to laugh when you don’t think a joke is funny, to give a warm greeting to everyone (whether or not you want to see them), and to smile when you don’t feel like it. And, as you know, if you give a man an inch he’ll take a mile, so you’re constantly put in positions where men think you’re interested in them, all because you were doing your job. The hospitality and service industry can be a scary place for women. Here are tips you need to know if you’re a woman who works in hospitality or the service industry.
Don’t close up alone
If it’s your turn to close up, ask another staff member you trust to stay with you. Or, petition the manager to pass a rule stating no less than two people can close up. You do not want to be left all alone in a bar or restaurant after closing, when there would be no witnesses if something happened.
Be a b*tch instead of a target
If you have to choose between being a b*tch and a target (an unfortunate choice women have to make all of the time), choose to be a bitch. Set boundaries between you and your coworkers and you and the patrons early. If someone makes a comment that borders on inappropriate, tell them not to talk to you like that. So what if they think you’re a b*tch? Do you really want to be that person’s friend anyways?
Draw the line, even if it means a smaller tip
You might feel like giving this patron your phone number when he asks for it could result in a larger tip for you. But is getting an extra $20 today really worth weeks or even months of phone harassment?
Don’t take all the drinks you’re offered
If you work in a bar, the patrons will often want to buy you drinks. Taking those drinks is a part of the game—the game of getting bigger tips. But don’t take all the drinks you’re offered or else you’ll be hammered by the end of the night, and a target for predators.
Or, use the Coyote Ugly trick
If you really want to accept the shots to make the patrons happy, try the trick from the movie “Coyote Ugly.” Keep an empty beer on hand and pretend that beer is your chaser. Every time you go to “drink” your beer, you’ll actually spit the shot into the bottle or can.
Befriend the bouncers
Befriend the bouncers. If they have a good relationship with you, they’ll keep a closer eye on you. They’ll be faster to kick somebody out who is harassing you when they feel personally protective of you.
Redirect creeps to another section
If there is a creepy patron who always requests to sit in your section, just tell the hostess to tell him your section is full when he comes in. And don’t hesitate to tell your manager if a patron crosses the line. You can also just go on your break when that patron comes in.
Don’t deliver items to guest’s rooms
If you work at a hotel as a concierge, never personally deliver items to rooms. Someone can easily grab you and drag you into the room. Even if the other staff that would normally deliver things is on their break, and a guest is pressuring you to bring up a towel, don’t do it. Tell the guest they’ll have to wait because you cannot leave the front desk.
Avoid the places with the tiny outfits
Avoid the bars that make you wear tiny outfits. You can make just as many tips at the popular bars that don’t require you to show cleavage, and you won’t be the victim of tons of sexual harassment.
Limit what you tell the patrons
Remember you don’t have to tell patrons things about yourself. You can deflect, give them a vague answer, or simply change the subject. You can pretend you’re being asked to rush back to the kitchen. Telling patrons things like where you live or your last name is not part of your job description.
Request a parking pass or parking spot
If you work at night, you should make all efforts to park close to the venue. If parking spots for staff in the lot are limited, make a plea to your manager to give the female staff the parking spots. Or, ask your manager to issue parking permits that let you park on the street in front of the restaurant. If this isn’t possible, always arrive at work very early, so you can try to find a spot near the venue.
Lock the doors at night
If you work at a hotel that is open for new guests all night, lock the doors after 10 pm. You can still open the door for any legitimate guests who need to come inside. But this limits dangerous people from wandering in.
Take the earlier shifts when you can
Try to work the earlier shifts if you can. It’s better not to be at the bar at 3 am when everybody is absolutely hammered and forgetting about your personal boundaries.
Wear a wedding ring
Wearing a wedding ring can deter a lot of male patrons. Men don’t seem to respect it if you tell them you have a boyfriend—they think they still have a shot—but they’ll often leave you alone if they believe you’re married.
Don’t hang with the patrons
Do not hang out with the patrons. No matter how nice and polite a customer seems when he comes in, you don’t know anything about him. Don’t go somewhere for an after-hours drink with a patron.