Fresh Stack is a burger restaurant located in Kildeer, Illinois. Its menu features a variety of classic options including burgers, fries, chicken sandwiches, milkshakes, and ice cream, among other selections.
Fresh Stack is a burger restaurant located in Kildeer, Illinois. Its menu features a variety of classic options including burgers, fries, chicken sandwiches, milkshakes, and ice cream, among other selections.
Photo by Grace Sun

Making bucks for burgers

The experience of a first job

“You should spend your summer doing more important things,” and, “Do you really need to get a job?” My dad was certainly not an avid supporter of my decision to get a job in the beginning, often asking me these questions when I brought the topic up. While I agree it is tempting to just spend my summer catching up on fun and relaxation, I have discovered that working a job has its own sort of appeal.


On the hunt: 

The main reason I wanted to work a job this year was because I wanted to make money. That way, I could buy whatever I wanted and not have to bother my parents with everything. I also knew I wanted to work in the food industry because I love food and thought it would be an exciting way to stay productive.

I began the job hunt by applying to several places around town, including Target, Panera Bread, and Egg Harbor Cafe; however, Fresh Stack Burger in Kildeer was the first to respond to me. 

Fresh Stack was one of the locations where my older sister worked part-time during her high school years, and seeing as she liked their work environment, I accepted the interview offer. I was so nervous about the interview and ended up doing a lot of research online about Fresh Stack’s company values and ways to respond to questions. However, when I got there, the interview was nothing like how I expected it to be. It lasted about 10 minutes and we only discussed things such as my job description, pay, and available times. I had gotten the job!  


Gaining experience: 

At Fresh Stack, I spend part of my time working at the ice cream bar, called Gigi’s, and also do cashier work and organize orders, meaning collaboration and customer service are a big part of my daily job. It is not too difficult, but I am always worried that I will get someone’s order wrong, or will not know how to handle the situation if someone complains. When I first started, it took me a couple of shifts to get comfortable using the register, answering people’s questions, and handling cash. It is definitely important to have customer service skills like adaptability, patience, confidence, and good communication for a job in food service.

Usually, I start my shift in the late afternoon on a Friday or Saturday, and it usually starts slow because a lot of people are not having meals yet. Later in the day, around 6-7:30 p.m., the rush hour starts, and many people are coming in to have dinner. We get a lot of in-store orders and also online and phone orders, so it is kind of stressful to keep track of and make sure all the food is being prepared in a timely manner. Rush hour is fun though, in a way, because it keeps us busy and the bustling restaurant is filled with the sound of conversation and laughter. As people settle down to eat and eventually shuffle out the door, the summer heat ebbs away. I go to close Gigi’s at 8 p.m. and anticipate going home after a long day.

I would say that I like working at Fresh Stack, even though it is exhausting sometimes. My coworkers are all very friendly and good people to work with. I like interacting with customers and helping them to have a satisfactory time at Fresh Stack. I love making over-the-top milkshakes at Gigi’s and watching peoples’ eyes widen at the amount of toppings stacked on top of the whipped cream.


Finding the value: 

When starting a new job, do not be afraid to ask for help. No one is there to hurt you, especially working in retail jobs like Fresh Stack. Most of the employees are students and have more-or-less experienced the same learning curve of working a new job just like you are. And if nothing else, you are helping them out by lessening the workload and contributing to positive customer experiences, so they are likely more than happy to help you out.

Working a job is also quite an unique experience since the people and situations vary day by day. Even now, I am sometimes nervous about going to work because I am not sure what to expect. But I do think that working a real job, especially one involving customer service, is a valuable experience. It has helped me to push the bounds of my comfort zone and build up my resume. 

Although I have been to many different retail stores in my life, it is entirely different working on the other side of the register. You get to see what goes on behind the scenes in the kitchen, what it takes to manage a restaurant and keep things stocked, and most of all, meet a diverse array of customers. I am very grateful for the time I have spent working at Fresh Stack this summer, and I would happily work there again whenever I have the time.

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