Two weeks ago I wrote about how I came to the idea of working at the Wiesn (Oktoberfest) and how I applied for this position. Today I want to share with you my experience working there.
16th September – 3rd October 2017: 18 days long working at the Oktoberfest!!!
On my first day at the Wiesn I was very nervous and scared, thinking that I can´t make it. I was trying to analyze the best way to optimize this job if they order too many beers at the same time. How can I carry all of this? What would the others think of me if I can´t manage to carry it like they do? Ohhh…I was thinking too much. When the big first order came, our friend Gisela, who has more experience, went with my partner Sophia and me to control and show us again how to do it and YES! We did it… From this moment I just continued working without thinking too much and from minute to minute I realized I was actually having lot of fun by carrying the beers. Amazing!
Everything happened faster than I expected. From minute to minute I was able to carry more and more beers.
When you work in a team you normally either carry drinks or food. I told my partner Sophia that I don´t think I´m able to carry this meal tray that was almost as tall as me, haha. So we decided that I do the drinks and she does the food as she is taller than me. Yet while working, sometimes I got an order of food and she was busy so I had to help her and then she had to help me too with the drinks when she had no food order. I mean… it´s not only about selling more and earning more money, but also about giving good service to the guests. I couldn´t make the guests wait longer until Sophia was free to take the food order if I had nothing to do, so I took our second meal tray and carried all this food from the kitchen all the way to the table praying that no food would fall off, haha. On the 3rd day a colleague saw me carrying the small tray in a wrong way. He corrected me and encouraged me to take the big one. I feel like everyday I was learning something new and challenging myself. I thanked him for his help.
After a few days working we were very confident, we spent more time talking to our guests, building a waitress-guest relationship that actually also helped us to get more tips from them. We had guests from so many diferent countries like Australia, Austria, Italy, Spain, USA, Switzerland, Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, UK, France, South Africa, Cameroon, Korea and even a guy with a Burundian background. They all loved it when I told them the places I have visited in their countries. All the tips given were for my next trip though, haha.
After a while we could see that many of the waitress were a little bit sick. We all got a cold resulting of working outside when it was raining and working so long everyday (we rotated every 2 days from working inside and outside). But we all continued working with the same smile in our faces like the first day. I had pain and blisters on my feet from walking so much everyday. I had a headache, pain in my hands and mostly in my joints from carrying so many beers. I was sore everywhere on my body, but I was still happy everyday waking up and going to work. On a normal day we started at 9am with the daily security check of our bags at the main entrance of the Wiesn. Then we walked to our tent, cleaned and prepared the tables to be ready at 10am when the first guests arrived and the musicians started playing. Then we worked all day carrying beers and food and taking a break for lunch. Finally we were cleaning everything at night again when we closed at 10pm and counting the money… being happy if we got good tips and sad if not (haha, check the face pictures that Sophia took of me representing this moments). And only then we could go home to sleep a few hours until the next day… and this 18 days long!
I’m very, VERY happy and thankful to have had the opportunity to work at the Wiesn and above all to work at the Tradition Festzelt. What an experience! I heard that the waitresses at the other tents were always under stress. In our case we had very stressfull days too but also a few relaxing days depending on the area and tables we were assigned to work each day. It was a good balance and it was a fair system for all waitresses.
I was also very happy when my friends visited me. I got visits from friends almost every day. Friends from the salsa dance school and the university in Munich, former colleagues from the tax company where I used to work before and even friends from other cities. One day when I finished earlier and I went to celebrate in another tent I met a couple from Pennsylvania. They were in Munich only for 2 days and they came to visit me the day after in my tent because they said that I´m a very nice waitress 😜 Another day a girl that I have met only on Instagram because of my travel pictures also came to visit me from another city with her husband that was Cuban like me. How amazing is that!
Do I want to work there again? Yessss, yesss and yess! I loved it and I really want to do it again.
What will I do with the money? Hmmm…it´s good money though for only 18 days of work and of course I´ll go on a trip around the world. Next stop: Caribbean and Central America starting soon!!! Follow me on my trips!!!
Few facts to the 184th Oktoberfest this year 2017:
– There were 6.2 million guests this year including 480.000 at the Oide Wiesn
– 7.5 million liters of beer were sold
– I read that the Oktoberfest Lost & Found office reported 1.300 passports found, 600 wallets, 520 cellphones, 360 keys, 100 bags and 15 cameras among other things. Woww!
- The Oide Wiesn (where I worked) is a Tradition Festzelt little bit different that the other tents. Here you can listen to traditional brass music and you can see traditional dancing folk groups (Trachtenverein). There is a dance floor as people are not allowed to dance on the benches like they do on the other tents.
- There are ca. 5000 seats inside and ca. 3000 seats outside
What I learnt from working at Oktoberfest?
- Team: the most important thing you need to have while working at Oktoberfest is a good team that you can trust. I´m very lucky to have met Sophia. We were, like she always said to our guests, the Bavarian-Cuban-Dream-Team. We both worked for the first time but we understood each other very well from the first second. And yes, we are a perfect team, she is a singer and I´m a dancer. How cool is that!!! She even sang at our farewell party on the last night
After 15 years living in Munich I decided to apply for working at Oktoberfest and here we are, my partner Sophia and I. We already survived 3 days of madness. Another 15 days to go. Yeahhhh. It's actually lot of fun. You can visit us in the Tradition Festzelt Oide Wiesn. PM me for reservation. #cubanbavarianteam #wemadeit #wearestrong #oktoberfest #theresienwiese #oktoberfest2017 #itravelanddance #maß #beer #craziness #lotoffun #howmanyliterbeercanyoucarry #traditionfestzelt #ilovemylife #mypartnerandiarethebest #followus
- Language: if you can speak German but you can´t speak Bavarian don´t worry, the Bavarian guests are happy to teach you, haha. I have learnt more Bavarian words in the past 18 days than in my 15 years living here in Munich. I just hope that I don´t forget them for next year 😉
- Difficulties: this is not an easy job to do at all and not an easy job to get accepted either (especially when you apply without any friend connection) but nothing is impossible if you really want it.
- Skills: you will need lots of skills like good coordination, memorizing skills, strength and determination to carry a lot, to walk many kilometers and to work many hours daily
- Patience and respect: you have to be very patient not only with all guests even if they are not so nice to you, but also with your work colleagues. While working with between 200+ waitresses it´s obvious that you won´t have the best relationship with everyone and when people are under stress they can be very mean. Just keep it simple and try to relax. Even if you are in stress, you can always smile and treat people with respect
- Balance: there are tents where you can earn even more money than what I earned, but you will have double the stress than what I had. It´s up to you: more money with more stress or less money (but still good money) with half of the stress. I´ll put it in a balance and think about it for next year, haha
- Involuntary diet: you can lose lot of weight in few days, haha. My partner Sophia lost 3kgs. I don’t even want to know how much I lost, haha.
- Good service: the more you interact with your guests, the more fun they will have, the happier they will be with your service and the more they will tip you. It works!!! It´s not only about selling more and earning more money as I already mentioned somewhere above, but also about giving a good service to all guests.
- Tipping: some foreign guests don´t know that a big part of the salary of a waitress is made of tips. Don´t be upset if they don´t tip you, but you can nicely explain to them how it works with the tips. It took me few days until I found a very good method to explain them about the tips but from the moment that I started using my own method, I realized that my tips had increased from 8 to more than 10% and I had even more fun than before. It was funny because the guests actually were happy to tip me. They said I was very nice. Yupi!!!
- Dealing with drunk people: it´s so much fun to meet new people everyday. Of course some of them are rude when they are drunk but some are very funny (check the video I posted: https://www.facebook.com/itravelanddance/videos/481569245557130/ )
- Lost and found: you better not take any valuables to the Wiesn. Have you read the figures of found passports, wallets, phones and camera I just mentioned above? Even I don´t drink beer and of course I can´t be drunk while working and yet I still didn´t take my camera or passport to Oktoberfest. All pictures I´m posting here were taken with my iPhone.
On our last working day we had a farewell party only for the workers. Free food and drinks all night for us. We danced, we sang, we hung out together and it felt so nice because we have spent the past 18 days together. Even if we all didn´t know each other because we were so many workers, we all shared a big sucess and we were all proud of ourselves. We celebrated together like a big family.
When the party was over and I was walking alone home late night I saw how they were starting to take off all the tents. It was a weird feeling. I felt like my last day in Shanghai and my last day in New York City when I turned my back to have a last look at the landscapes at The Bund and at Manhattan and I thought: „I know it will take a while until I see you again, but I do love you… and I´m already missing you“. Then the lights turned off and I walked home to sleep and recover for 2 full days before heading to the biggest Salsa Congress in Berlin to dance 3 days nonstop.
What else I can tell you about it? Well… put Oktoberfest on your world-traveling bucket list and experience it by yourself, not only the crazyness of the other tents but also the Tradition Festzelt to see more about the Bavarian culture.
Come to visit the Bavarian-Cuban-Dream-Team next year at Oktoberfest and… don´t forget to tip your waitress!!! Haha
We had definitely lot of fun working together
Enjoy it and stay tuned!