A big factor when deciding where you want to gain experience is the style/type of restaurant you choose to work at. Try to work at a restaurant that fits your lifestyle and personality. For example, I have 3 non-school age(super-cute!!) children, there is no way I would survive the family getting off of work at 2:30 a.m. Even if one chooses to work at a bar because it works with their schedule, you should also take into account the atmosphere and crowd of people you will be serving. To work at a bar I suggest an extremely outgoing personality.
Right after my oldest was born I did work at a bar it was fast, loud, and you have to remember guests, in a different way in which you do in full service dining restaurants, but the fun atmosphere made time fly by and I made great money. If a bar doesn’t sound interesting or your style, you have other options. According to Wikipedia, there are 78 different types of restaurants, this can be a bit overwhelming when trying to decide which will fit you best. If you are looking for a career in restaurants in the Seattle area I do a have a few suggestions. The 3 most popular types of restaurants are, of course #1 Seafood, #2 Farm-to-Table/Market-to-Table, and Café/Bistro.
Seafood restaurants are a great place to get you feet wet in the restaurant industry (Yes, pun, intended!!). You can find seafood restaurants at the fast food level. Fast food, yes, I know most people laugh, cringe or say nooo way that is not me, but hey it is still a restaurant and it is a start. Remember, no one is above an opportunity. It is fast paced with little customer interaction, You mainly prepare food and bus. If you stick around long enough you also can pick up some management skills. A lot of large chain restaurants offer great benefits packages, which is something to think about when you are a full-time college student. Many of them have scholarship programs, grants, and offer continuing education classes for employees that want to get retrained to move up in the company.
Family dining/family style such as local favorite The Crab Pot Restaurant and Bar in Seattle is another entry-level option. Family dining is any restaurant that serves families and is accommodating of kids. The atmosphere and menu items are usually casual, and the prices are often low to moderately priced. These styles of restaurants are great for people with little to no restaurant experience. This is the type of restaurant I started in, I was hired as a host, then worked as a lead host, busser, expo, and then server.
Many seafood places can easily be found in the fine dining category, seafood is expensive and in some cases rare. Many people love to indulge in this type of food, and since we are surrounded by some amazing seafood, I think it is a requirement we know how to serve it up well. Getting a job at a fine dining restaurant takes some time, it is very rare that anyone would get a job at this level without 3-5 years in the position that they are applying for. Sometimes it can be discouraging but take it from me, YOU can get there.
If you are more Avant Garde like me, then you may want to check out Market-to-Table/Farm-to-Table style, which are progressive and on the rise. Market-to-Table/Farm-to-Table has been around for a long time, but it has never been offered commercially except for when it began to gain popularity about 10 years ago, when obesity was also on a fast rise. People started paying more attention to what was in their food, and Avant Garde chefs started creating these amazing dishes that came from fresh local farms and markets. Most of these restaurants are fine dining, since the food is an excludable commodity, so it will take sometime to get a job at one of these fun and exciting places.
Coffee capital of the world Seattle is known for its café and bistros. I put these two together because they are similar in that, they are small to moderately sized restaurants. They offer casual menus and both have a casual atmosphere. Some Seattle-Metro best reviewed cafés are Café Juanita and Café Happy,both located in Kirkland and Café Presse in Seattle.
I definitely suggest doing some research and dine at as many different restaurants as you can before deciding, there are, 78 types to choose from.