Ever since I was a little girl (9 years old to be exact) I have helped out in my family’s local Japanese restaurant. The restaurant is called Matsukaze, it was started by my dad, his three brothers, and their mom and has been around for 33 years. Which is crazy.
Of course, when I became of working age, my “helping out” turned into clocking into my professional job like any average Joe.
I grew up in our restaurant; answering phone calls, clearing dishes, putting together to-gos… all while I was able to spend quality time with both of my parents and my uncle who works as a chef in the back. I know some people really despise working for their family because it can be stressful at times or it can just become too much of a conflict of interest. Not me though. I can honestly say that I loved every moment I spent in the restaurant, even though I did experience many ups and downs. I knew the menu like the back of my hand, and could tell you practically every ingredient that went into each dish on our large(ish) menu. I came to know the regular customers, and my coworkers of course. After working there for seven whole years, from the age of nine to my current age, 16, I felt as if I I belonged there like the ancient oriental artwork that hung on the walls.
All of that changed about two weeks ago when I landed a job at a locally owned coffee drive thru that was started in my small town, but has now grown to over 200 locations in seven different states. It’s called Dutch Bros. Now, there is something comical about my large transition from working in my family’s restaurant to working somewhere different for the first time, and that is the fact that the particular drive thru that I got hired at is within about 100 yards of Matsukaze. Yes, it’s just across the street.
To any outsider, my change in jobs may not seem like a big deal (I am just moving across the street, right?). But for me, it is a major stepping stone in my life and something that marks the end of a large part of my childhood; because I spent my youth growing up in the restaurant. However, it’s also the beginning of my next life chapter and to me, it symbolizes moving on, having the opportunity to expand my experiences, and overall growing into myself as a young adult.
With any new transition in my life comes a time of reminiscing and compiling a mental list of what I’ve learned, my triumphs, failures and what I’m thankful for.
While working at Matsukaze, I learned what hard work is, I learned how to work in customer service- i.e. how to work with people and how to serve them to my best ability. Working in the restaurant taught me that I’m stronger than a rude comment from an unhappy customer. It taught me maturity and how to hold an intelligent conversation. It taught me that when things get hectic, family can say and do things they don’t really mean, but that you should always forgive them because you love each other.
Working for my family’s restaurant has been by far the best learning experience of my young life, and I am forever thankful that I can say it was my first job. And I’m sure I’ll be back again someday. Plus, I’m only across the street.
I had my first real day of working in the coffee stand today, and at first it was a bit rocky, but by the end of my shift I felt right at home. My coworkers are some of the best people you will ever meet; genuine, kind and hilarious. My favorite thing about Dutch Bros as a company is that it was built off of pure love and kindness, and the baristas make every customer feel truly loved and cared for. The potential for brightening someone’s day is so big when you are given the opportunity to serve up coffee and experiences for hundreds of cars per day.
I can’t wait to grow in the company and hopefully become more like my coworkers, who inspire me so tremendously. I am beyond excited for my new adventure.
Do you have any new or scary adventures planned for the new year? I’d love to hear about them below! xoxo
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