WORKING IN YELLOWSTONE – DREAM OR TROUBLE?

As we mentioned already in previous posts, Josip and I were working in Yellowstone National Park. Throughout our stay there we worked at few different jobs, dealt with different situations, and since many people are considering going to Yellowstone and working there, we decided to write a post to help you decide.

You can choose from several options that you can choose from in the park. We are going to tell you something about the places where we worked at, so here we go!

KITCHEN CREW

My first year in Yellowstone I decided to work in Kitchen Crew (just because I didn’t want to clean rooms). The name is kind of vague as there are several positions that are considered as kitchen crew and to be honest you don’t really know what you will be doing until you actually get to the park and someone tells you.

Kitchen crew uniform

Dish pit

Usually, when people arrive and are assigned kitchen crew, they are working in the dish pit. Yes, I know how it sounds, but, hey! Nobody said it will be easy (or that you will enjoy every little bit of it necessarily). Besides, it is not that bad. Your job is, as the name says, to clean the dishes for few hours a day and make sure that cooks have clean plates to send to the restaurant. Simple and easy. It gets busy, sometimes you really need to speed up to be ready with everything but if you have the right people with you, everything is so much easier and so much fun. Even when you’re working on the floor in the restaurant, you will occasionally have a shift or two scheduled in the dish pit.

EDR – Employee Dining Room crew

That was my second job after 10 days of working on the dish pit. While working in the EDR you are responsible for preparing breakfast, lunch and dinner for employees (depending on your shift), preparing ingredients so they can be easily used later and correctly storing them in the fridge. It really all depends on the supervisor. In 2016 I had the best time ever working there – we were making pancakes with chocolate chips at breakfast, waffles or some other treats, our boss was baking a cake or cupcakes from time to time, and we were trying to make other employees’ life better with food. In 2018, unfortunately, the food quality worsened as people working there looked like they didn’t want to be there at all.

Prep crew

I called it like that but I’m not sure if it was actually what it was called. Here you prepare food that later servers take out to the restaurant and that cooks use during their meal preparations. You cut vegetables, fruits, make sauces etc. Easy and pleasant job.

Line

Here you prepare salads, sandwiches and desserts. During the morning shift, first you need to take all the ingredients from the fridge or kitchen so you have them in the right place. Depending on the day and time, you can be either bored and have nothing to do, or you can have so many orders that you will cry for help. Just kidding! It can get very busy but after few days of learning what, where and how you will be able to do everything with peace and calm face.

Buffet

Inside the restaurant, a buffet is run by two people. The deal here is to keep the food stacked until particular meal is done. Everyday there are the same things on the buffet, you just need to make sure everything is full and there are enough plates so people can take whatever they want to. During dinner there a special meal – prime rib. One person is responsible for cutting slices of it for the customers. All in all, pretty boring job, sometimes some guests talk to you a bit but in general, there is not much to do.

That’s how buffet looks like.

RESTAURANT

There are two positions that you can apply for in the restaurant: server and server assistant (SA). I worked as an SA last year and I would recommend it but only if you are able to deal with many stressful situations. The general idea is that you bus the tables, pour water for the guests and take dirty plates and glasses back to the kitchen. That’s what they write on the leaflet you get or in the job description on the website.

The truth is just a little bit different – yes, you are doing all of that but you also need to stack plates, glasses, silverware etc. during your shifts which sometimes is worse than hell. Busing tables, taking everything to the kitchen and stacking your own things while four of your tables leave is…well. Just try to imagine it. But despite all of that, I liked this job. Mostly because you get to actually talk to the customers so polish the language is not a problem here. It also depends on who you work with – you are helping servers and, unfortunately, some of them do not really appreciate your work enough.

Server assistant uniform – much better than the one for kitchen crew

Being a server sounds easier, as you just need to take an order and bring it to the guests, right? Well, yes, but from what Josip told me (as he worked as a server) and from what I saw last year, it is much more. You will most likely deal with unsatisfied customers which is never pleasant, sometimes you need to bring out A LOT OF FOOD at the same time, which for me was the biggest issue (I am small!) and that’s why I decided not to try it (hey, it’s better to break an empty glass on the way back to the kitchen than to drop your guests’ food, right?).

Being a server pays most, server assistant is a bit worse in terms of payments but is still very good in my opinion. If you are ready for running whole day, dealing with guests and swearing as hell in your mind – that’s the job for you 😉

HOUSEKEEPING

As the name suggests – you are cleaning rooms. I was never interested in this job so I only know how it looks like from my friend’s point of view. If you are the kind of person who doesn’t like talking much too people or having any contact with guests, have some time for yourself, that’s the job you’re looking for. For first few days you are cleaning rooms with someone who already knows what’s going on there so you can learn. After that, you are mostly alone. It sounds easy, but you need to be pretty fast – there is a number of rooms that you need to clean during your shift and if you are way behind the schedule, they will most likely switch you to some other position (usually dish pit, which for me is an irony because there you need to be even fast…).

GIFT SHOP

Josip was working in the gift shop during his first trip to the USA. He didn’t say anything bad about the job although there is stuff to do as well. First of all, you have a constant contact with customers. Second of all, you need to take out bunch of items to the shop floor, like jackets, shirts, souvenirs and so on from the storage room to the shelves, as I heard, sometimes things are heavy, you need to be fast, and the rate per hour for that is not much.

From all the jobs I strongly recommend being a server or server assistant as you get to earn more, gain some experience and definitely practice your English. If you don’t want to take that responsibility on you, try kitchen crew, and if you don’t like working in a team, choose housekeeping. But why go to the USA and not talk to people if you can do exactly the opposite and meet so many amazing new friends for life?

So, working with people?

If you are working in a restaurant or any other place in Yellowstone, be ready for dealing with people, as I said earlier. It’s always fun to be asked to get coffee to the table that’s not yours, hot water, and some pretty ridiculous questions. Some of my favorites are:

  • When are you turning on Old Faithful geyser?
  • Can I press the button for the geyser to go off?
  • Where do you keep all the bears/bison/wildlife?
  • Do you drink the water from the geysers?
  • Can I have gluten-free water?
  • Can I sit next to the buffet so my kid doesn’t have to walk?

And so many, many more. But, it’s a part of the job, and that’s what makes it fun!

Stay tuned and follow our footprints!