Juan García García, recently retired, has spent his entire life working in the world of hospitality. Born in Sepulcro-Hilario (Salamanca), but from Zarca by adoption, he is married and the father of two children. At 66 years old, he hopes to now enjoy everything that for work reasons he has not been able to before.
How long have you been working in the hospitality industry?
I have been working in the hospitality industry practically all my life, approximately 50 years. Half of them in the kitchen and the other half as a waiter.
Before becoming a waiter, what other jobs or professions have you held?
Well, I started very young working as a bellman in a hotel. Later, I went on to work in the kitchen in various places and now in La Zarza I have dedicated myself to the hospitality industry, without forgetting some seasons in agriculture.
In which towns or cities have you worked before working here in La Zarza?
At the age of 17 I emigrated from my town to Switzerland, specifically to the city of Lucerne where I stayed for eight years. Then I moved to Tossa de Mar, where I stayed for five years working in the kitchen during the summer. In winter, I went to Candanchú (Huesca), also to the stoves. I also worked for a year in the kitchen of the Carlton hotel in Madrid (5 stars). From there, I returned to the Costa Brava, this time to Blanes, where I stayed for 14 years, until I decided to come to La Zarza in 2000. Since then, until today.
What is the most enjoyable part of a waiter’s job?
In my opinion, the most beautiful part is the one that refers to dealing with clients, with many of whom, over time, I have ended up making friends.
And the other side of the coin, the least pleasant?
Well, those moments when you have to be patient, keep quiet and put up with some unwanted behavior or comments.
What qualities, in your opinion, should a good waiter have?
In my opinion, I believe that a person who works in front of the public, in a bar or a restaurant, must have kindness, education, empathy, respect and, above all, a lot of tact when dealing with customers. Let’s not forget that each person is different and you have to know or, at least try, connect with everyone.
Why do you think it is difficult to find people who want to work in the hospitality sector today?
Well basically because it is a very sacrificial profession. You have to like it a lot and be aware that you have to give up certain things. It’s hard to work when others are partying. Furthermore, in the family sphere, conciliation is also complicated, since you do not spend as much time with your loved ones as you would like.
What advice would you give to a person who decided to work in a bar or restaurant?
Let’s see, I’m not a big fan of giving advice, but for that matter, I would tell you that the first thing is to have a minimum of vocation, you have to like it. And from there, have a lot of patience with the clientele and please, smile, whenever possible.
Throughout your entire career, what memories would you keep?
Well, I would mainly say how nice it has been to meet so many people, although, it must be said, I have also had some negative experiences, from which, of course, I have learned.
At the moment of farewell, would you like to dedicate a few words to your colleagues and clients?
I would like to thank colleagues and clients for the good behavior they have shown me and, something that I value a lot, the love received from everyone.
I would like to especially thank Patro and Alberto for all these years shared, both at the Municipal Pool and at the Aderezo restaurant. Working together has helped me enrich myself both personally and professionally. In the end, they have almost become my family.
And finally, the million dollar question, what are you going to do now?
Well, to everything that I have not been able to do during these years: enjoy family, walk with the dog and take a little trip from time to time. As simple as that.