14 Pros and Cons of Working for First Watch

First Watch is a US food chain that prides itself on serving quality breakfast, brunch, and lunch.

The enterprise has almost 500 locations across the United States and can be found in 29 states.

As an employer, First Watch offers its employees a diverse, safe, and inclusive workplace culture.

The organization puts its employees’ needs first and ensures each individual has a voice.

When you combine this voice with a team of support, you build an empowered workforce that can conquer any challenge thrown their way.

Are you considering applying for a position with First Watch?

If so, you’ll want to consider the position, as well as the company, from every angle.

Current and former employee reviews are an excellent resource and can help you determine if a career with First Watch is right for you.

Read on to find out why this restaurant chain consistently wins awards, including the Top 100 Most Loved Workplaces and the Culture at Work Award. 

Pros of Working at First Watch

1. Workplace Culture

Studies indicate that workplace culture has a direct impact on productivity and organizational success.

In fact, a recent study revealed that 60% of the US workforce would accept half of their current salary to work in a positive workplace culture.

Almost half of today’s employees admit that company culture is a top consideration when applying for a job.

The First Watch management team has found a way to create a productive and caring work environment. 

2. Company Benefits

First Watch prides itself as an enterprise that takes care of its employees.

In addition to competitive pay, most employees are eligible for company benefits. 

While the specifics vary depending on a number of factors, including location, position, performance, and hours worked, First Watch employees receive:

  • PTO is based on hours worked, time with the organization, and position
  • Educational opportunities, including free high school diploma program, discounted tuition for online certifications and education, and tuition assistance through their EGGS program
  • Discount on food at company-owned restaurants
  • 401(k) retirement savings plan
  • Pet insurance and discounted pet medication and products
  • Medical, dental, and vision insurance 
  • 24/7 employee support and advice for personal and professional challenges

3. Advancement Opportunities

The First Watch management team embraces the concept that kindness breeds kindness and smiles are infectious.

The organization works hard to instill this positivity in everything they do.

As a result, many FW employees find that they would like to build a career with the company. 

Employees who work hard and whose core values align with the company can enjoy a long and happy career with First Watch.

The restaurant chain has multiple offices across the country.

So, when you’re ready to leave the hustle and bustle of the restaurant, there will be ample opportunities available at one of the corporate offices.       

4. Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

As we mentioned earlier, First Watch’s management team works hard to maintain a positive and inclusive workplace culture.

One of the most important elements of this positive atmosphere is the importance it places on teamwork. 

Lots of employers claim to value teamwork, but few actually enforce it.

First Watch carefully selects every new hire, using the interview process as an opportunity to get to know its candidates.

They only select individuals who believe in hard work, a positive attitude, and doing what it takes to get the job done.

No man should ever be left behind.  

5. Schedule Ensures Work-Life Balance  

First Watch is uniquely different from other restaurants because it is a daytime café.

Most locations are open from 7:30 to 2:30, serving breakfast, brunch, and lunch options. 

While this schedule isn’t ideal for folks who like to sleep late, it has its benefits.

You can easily work a 40-hour week and still have evenings to yourself.

These hours are perfect for employees with additional responsibilities such as school, children, or a second job. 

6. Earning Opportunity

If you’ve ever driven past a First Watch, you’ve probably noticed that its parking lots are always full.

The organization has a positive reputation, both for customer service and food quality.

As an employee, this equates to higher earnings. 

Current and former First Watch employees claim they are very happy with the pay structure and feel the tip-out process is fair.

The company will even help pay your way through school while you work there!

7. Excellent Experience for Future Endeavors

If you’ve ever spoken with someone who has worked in the service industry, you know that there are pros and cons to it.

One of the best things about it is that you can go almost anywhere, find a restaurant job, and earn a good living. 

You also understand that your earnings directly correlate with the quality of service you offer.

The experience gained working for First Watch will prove invaluable.

It will help solidify your industry skills and set a higher level of standards in everything you do. 

Cons of Working at First Watch

1. Work Can Be Challenging

Some days working at First Watch are very challenging, while others are a breeze.

You’ll spend the majority of your shifts on your feet and moving.

You will be required to work most weekends.

When the restaurant is busy, there’s no time to take a break.

This can leave you feeling depleted by the end of your shift.

If you take issue with any of these factors, you may want to consider a career outside the service industry. 

2. Limited Hours

While most employees enjoy the fact that First Watch isn’t open for a dinner shift, others feel this limits their earning potential.

Some current and former employees claim they were required to clear their morning schedules, only to receive one or two shifts.

These individuals also state that their work schedules suffered after having to call out or leave early due to a family emergency.  

3. Ineffective Management 

Despite the organization’s efforts to staff their teams with quality employees, they strike out on occasion.

This has led to some complaints about the management style. 

Feedback regarding management is mostly positive.

However, some employees feel their GMs are unsupportive and question whether or not these managers have worked in a restaurant before.   

4. Schedules Aren’t What They Were Promised

Like many organizations today, First Watch offers flexible scheduling.

While this flexibility works for most employees, it does not work for everyone.

Employees with families and busy lives may do best working for a company that provides more permanent schedules.

Having the same schedule from week to week makes it easier to map out the rest of your personal and professional plans.

5. Challenging Customers 

As the name implies, service industry jobs are customer-centric.

This means that the customer’s needs come first and it is your job to ensure they have a positive experience. 

Depending upon the positive you’re hired for, you may be required to interact with customers throughout your entire shift.

You will, undoubtedly, run across an angry customer or two throughout your time as a server.

Nothing you do will appease them, and you will be yelled at, often for something that is out of your control. 

It’s important to be aware of this before accepting the job.

Service industry providers must have a thick skin.

They must also possess the ability to smile, do everything possible to turn the customer’s day around and know that it isn’t personal.  

6. No Follow-Through on Disciplinary Issues

Restaurant work is fast-paced.

You must be able to pivot quickly and will often need to juggle multiple tasks at a time.

This goes for most positions in both front and back-of-house, as well as management. 

Unfortunately, this sometimes means issues are swept under the rug or put off for another day.

A few past employees felt that disciplinary issues weren’t addressed as often as they should be.

This can affect morale across the entire restaurant, causing some employees to feel that management plays favorites. 

7. Micromanaged

While some employee feedback indicates that management isn’t as present or effective as it should be, others have just the opposite to say.

Some state that they felt their GMs didn’t trust them to do their work and micromanaged everything they did. 

A supervisor who micromanages their staff can negatively impact morale.

Use your time during an interview to ask questions.

Try to get a feel for how that particular location is run and the management style of the supervising team.

If something feels off, listen to your gut and seek out other opportunities.   

14 Pros and Cons of Working for First Watch – Summary Table

Pros of Working at First WatchCons of Working at First Watch
1. Workplace Culture1. Work Can Be Challenging
2. Company Benefits2. Limited Hours
3. Advancement Opportunities3. Ineffective Management
4. Teamwork Makes the Dream Work4. Schedules Aren’t What They Were Promised
5. Schedule Ensures Work-Life Balance5. Challenging Customers
6. Earning Opportunity6. No Follow-Through on Disciplinary Issues
7. Excellent Experience for Future Endeavors7. Micromanaged

Should You Work at First Watch?

If you’ve ever considered a career in the restaurant industry, First Watch is an excellent place to start.

The enterprise has a positive reputation among both customers and employees.

Its mission is to create a positive work environment and to support its employees in their personal and professional lives. 

When asked how they would rate their experience working for First Watch, 75% stated they would recommend working for the company.

First Watch received a 4 out of 5-star rating from current and former employees. 

Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

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