High Stakes Pancakes: Ren Power’s Summer Job


Lindsay Kupka

This summer, Mendham High School junior Ren Powers decided to beat summer boredom by getting a job as a server at the Cedar Knolls IHOP. Although it was not his first job, Ren said it was different because “at a restaurant, they treat [employees] like adults”. Ren’s obligations as a Server at IHOP included taking orders, carrying plates and what he describes as “the whole 9 yards’ when it comes to waiting tables. As Ren worked, he learned that even if you can’t carry plates, it’s still possible to be a good server and receive good tips. Ren says his skills were aided by the fact that he is “a pretty charismatic kid” and even on one occasion received a $24.00 tip on a $16.00 bill. The people Ren met during this job made the experience even more different than any other job Ren has had. He began the job without any knowledge of anyone else who was going to work with him throughout the entire summer. Through the job, Ren would make friends with a ton of different people he otherwise probably would not have spoken to. The majority of employees at IHOP were much older than Ren; the only other worker even close to him in age was Kevin, who was working because he wanted money to pay for his arm-sleeve tattoo. Working at IHOP also taught Ren of pretty weird experiences that one may not ever see, if not working at the Cedar Knolls IHOP. One Sunday morning, Ren was in the middle of the 10 AM rush and was taking care of 5 different groups. All of a sudden, Ren heard screaming from his section and runs back to see two of his tables in quite the crisis. Ren vividly describes “some guy gets up and throws his coffee on another dude. The other dude retaliates by trying to beat him up”, and the situation even escalated to the point that they had to call the police to escort the two men out. As the summer came to a close and school began, IHOP ultimately taught Ren many things, about having to use your given skills, how to work with people you don’t know, and even to handle uncomfortable and foreign issues you are faced with.