Food is an easy thing to come by at Walt Disney World. With three hundred and fifty-five different places to stop and curb your appetite, one can only imagine how many cast members it takes to run each place. From quick stop kiosks to upscale table service dining, the food and beverage cast members are made up of a certain mix of requirements and these five are imperative.
5. Be Nice
At first glance this seems like an easy task, but we all know that Walt Disney World has the chance to push even the most joyous of families to its limits, add in extreme hunger and it’s a recipe for disaster. Cast members have to be ready to tackle any and every type of attitude. From the “high on pixie dust” family to the “Why did I think this was a good idea” family, food and beverage cast members must stay smiling, welcoming, and nice. This requirement is one that can turn a dreaded moment into a pleasant one for a family at their wits end. A cast member bringing something to the table for the toddler that clearly has had enough for the day is a frazzled parent’s dream. (I have firsthand receiving experience of this blessing.) Be sure to thank these cast members for taking the time to be nice, although they are required to be, it’s not always reciprocated.
4. Be a Worker
There are over sixty-five thousand cast members currently employed at Walt Disney World, with a large chunk of those maintaining the food and beverage branch of operations. Of all of the jobs of a cast member, there is none harder than working food and beverage. This is why to work in food, you have got to be ready to work. There is never a dull moment within a dining experience. I always see someone cleaning, stocking, straightening tables, asking families if they need help finding seats, and chefs doing tableside consults, to name a few. Food service is not for the worker that just wants to reap the benefits of working at Disney, these jobs are for the true hard workers. These individuals always have to be on the lookout of what needs to be done and also anticipate what will need to be done, all while still doing their current task.
3. Be Ready
Food Services at Walt Disney World is a very busy world with a lot happening at once. This is why these cast members need to be ready. They need to be ready for anything and everything. I am not just talking about the attitudes or the complaints, but also the emergencies. Where there is food, there are choking hazards or even chances for mild to serious allergic reactions. Knowing how to perform the Heimlich maneuver or how to administer an epi pen are great tools of knowledge to bring to this area of work. Another surprise that might take place would be the Code V. We all know that the possibility to get nauseous only increases when food is involved. Having a plan in place and not freaking out or returning the favor to a guest who has just gotten sick is crucial. We experienced the Disney protocol with the Code V situation and were pleasantly surprised at how seamless it was. The incident had happened and in under ten minutes there was no trace that anything had gone awry. The way a cast member handles these types of situations is a chance to instill trust in the Disney Company and must not be taken lightly.
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2. Be Knowledgeable About Everything
It is pretty obvious that a food and beverage cast member should be knowledgeable about food and beverage, but what about everything else. With food cast members coming into contact with a majority of the guests from the day, it helps to be knowledgeable about not just their area, but also the rest of the park. A cast member who can make the meal enjoyable with their attitude and also provide coveted information about the parks is one that will definitely make a family’s favorite cast member list. We were enjoying lunch on property in Hollywood Studios and our waiter let us know that it was the busiest day of the week for them and that we should hop to Epcot as the crowd would be low. This information was spot on and very welcomed! This is one of those things that really can set a cast member apart and create a more magical experience for the guest.
1. Be a Foodie
To be knowledgeable about the food in your restaurant is one thing, but to be a foodie on a whole different playing field. We all know how it feels to be out at a restaurant and ask for a waiter suggestion and to get, in return, a generic answer. Sometimes we even get answers for what they have heard is good. Although this gives us an idea of what others are saying, if we can connect with someone who has firsthand experience on what something is like on the menu, it affects not only our meal but also our connection with the dining experience. A food cast member has to be all about the food. At Disney there is not a time, or they are few and far in between, when a cast member is generic with their answer. Disney is not a generic place but, instead, one that continually is reflecting on ways to improve its services. They have to view everything as an experience that can truly make or break someone’s day, even when it comes down to a meal. I love to talk to a cast member that loves food, because when they start explaining their suggestion their eyes light up with excitement and that’s when you know it’s going to be a great meal.
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