Restaurants are Ashley Bresette’s happy, comfy place—even when she’s on hour 10 of an install, climbing underneath a dirty bar to untangle a complicated mess of cables. “As long as the technology setup looks good in the end. My jeans can always get washed,” Ashley reasons. 

Since her first summer job scooping ice cream at 15, Ashley has felt most at home in restaurant jobs (no matter the impact on her denim). Her post-college foray into 9-to-5 office life was short-lived, and she quickly returned to the “controlled chaos” of the restaurant industry. “I tried to go the corporate office route, and it wasn’t my thing,” says Ashley, “Plus, my friends were still serving and bartending. I’m like, ‘Hey guys, it’s Friday!’ and everyone is like, ‘Yeah, we’ll see you at 2 am.’” 

Ashley climbed the ranks at her local Applebees, going from host to server to trainer, overseeing training for their curbside service as it launched. The blend of teaching and customer service was a natural fit. 

Bartenders behind the bar
Ashley (left) behind the bar.

Rather than scaling the heights of a corporate office job, Ashley leaned into the chaos, exploring the world of event catering and wedding planning, where if something can go wrong, it probably will. One gig, someone crashed into an electricity tower and knocked out the power for the entire hotel the day of the wedding. But even more challenging than keeping the lights on was navigating complex family dynamics and all the personalities that come out on peoples’ happiest day. 

Hospitality work is multipronged, but it consistently teaches you how to deal with the public and manage different folks’ different strokes. When the bride is your client, but her great-aunt has a different vision, Ashley’s role was to ensure the bride’s way or the highway (while keeping the great-aunt happy enough). She learned to project calm, even when her car was packed with flower arrangements that needed to stay alive for another five hours and the AC was out. 

When Ashley came across SpotOn, it was a blessing amid a global pandemic. She was furloughed, which came as a jolt after working every day (sometimes multiple jobs) since she was 15. Implementing restaurant tech was a perfect mix of hospitality, teaching, and chaos control. “If you asked me 20 years ago if I’d be working for a technology company, I would say no,” says Ashley, “but it’s amazing how much implementation blends together my experience and interests.”

Ashley loves watching people learn and grow, seeing the light bulb illuminating the cogs turn. When she’s training the staff of a new restaurant, she listens first. By listening—and, more importantly, picking up on the nonverbal cues—she can understand what is most imperative for servers and bartenders, then customize the restaurant POS system to make it work for them. As a former bartender, she knows that speed equals dollars and every second matters when you’re behind the bar. No matter how intuitive the system, going from pen and paper to technology is a seismic shift. “After 15 years with an analog system, that’s a life-altering change,” says Ashley, “Your speed might slow down initially, but it's a very user-friendly system, and your muscle memory will pick it up quickly.”

Server behind the bar at a restaurant
Ashley (left) working her last shift at Applebee's.

She still encounters miscommunications and it can be a trip-up, especially when the clock is ticking before the open sign flips. After all, restaurant technology can’t read your mind (yet). Ashley meets these challenges with her signature empathy, leaning on the General Manager to “translate” and putting herself in the staff members’ shoes. 

Ultimately, Ashley wouldn’t be satisfied if it wasn’t a challenge. Meeting challenges has been the throughline of her career, whether she was expelling the saccharine smell of waffle cones from her skin after her summer job at the ice cream shop or meeting a stressed-out bartender on his own terms. 

Plus, the hard days are buffered by work trips to bucket list destinations, like Hawaii and New York City, and colleagues who just get it. Restaurant friendships are the best friendships (maybe it’s all the 3 am nights and trauma-bonding). “At SpotOn, I’ve built great working relationships and friendships. It’s the same as if we were on the floor together,” says Ashley, “Working in restaurants, you meet amazing people who become your family in a way that I haven’t found in any other industry.” Stressful work days are inevitable, but when there are palm trees in the background and a colleague with a kindred, restaurant-borne spirit by your side, the day isn’t so bad. 

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