Working in F & B (food and beverage) is not for the faint of heart or body, but being married to someone who works in F & B is not a piece of cake either.[When I say food and beverage I mean chefs, cooks, servers, managers, anybody really who works in a restaurant, hotel, or food establishment.]
An article appeared recently in the Huffington Post called, Five Things Nobody Tells You About Marrying a Chef, and the article had some good points, but there are much more relevant things you should know if you are already madly in love and are planning to get married to someone in the industry. Here is my version.
You will struggle financially. Unless your husband/wife is already a celebrity chef or a high payed hotel manager, you will struggle. Most jobs in f & b are not well paid, so it is definitely not a life of luxury, especially if you have children.
There is no such thing as work-life balance. Work always comes first, except in matters of life or death, but otherwise your significant other will be going to work on holidays, weekends, whether they are sick or your son has a soccer game or your daughter has a dance recital. Which means, your spouse will inevitably miss out on almost everything, weddings, births, funerals, first words, first steps, and family gatherings. This can be especially hard on your relationship and your children. Days can go by without the children seeing the parent who works in the industry. If your spouse works the night shift he/she will be asleep when the kids go to school and when he/she gets home the kids will have already been asleep for several hours. It is hard for children to understand that the parent can’t simply take the time to be with them. However, there are some employers more flexible than others, so your spouse might make it to a thing a or two.
Expect to be on the move. If you want to be successful in the industry you will need to find the best job, even if it means moving across the country more than once. This may not always be the case, but it is a likely possibility.
You will be in charge of the household, and I mean everything. You will be taking care of the children, doctor’s appointments, home repairs, paying bills, cleaning, meal making, etc. When your partner in crime works 12 – 14 hr days the last thing they want to do is cook, clean, fix, or worry about anything other than sleep.
Communication with your spouse will need to be short and sweet. Do not try to communicate anything important to your spouse after their shift. It’s not that they don’t care what you have to say, but after a long day of work and dealing with a thousand things at the same time, the time after work is for decompressing. If you do need to inform them of something make it short, ” I need ….., I want….., give me ….., this happened….” It is even better if you do it by text message, that way there’s evidence that you did indeed asked them to do something, or informed them about something that happened at home.
Every couple and every job is different, but these are only some of the realities of a very demanding business. Is it worth it? It will only be worth it if your spouse has real passion for food and beverage, if this is what he/she loves to do, otherwise the sacrifices you and your family will have to make will be pointless. Is it possible to have a long lasting marriage? I don’t know, ask me in about 20 years! However, when I asked my mom, who has been married to restauranteur for 36 years, she emphasized that it was very important that you know that IT IS POSSIBLE, but that it will require two things: sacrifice and genuine love for your spouse.