For the past 12 weeks, I’ve been slicing, preparing, and creating works of sandwich art.


If you think working at a deli can only teach your how to master the art of the panini – you’re missing the bigger picture. Sure, my panini making skills have vastly improved, but here are some more important slices of life:

Power of Preparation


The key to deli success- preparation. Without it, you are fighting a losing battle. This is no different than success in life. Without preparation– physical, mental & emotional– it just isn’t possible to successfully overcome whatever life is throwing at you. Always make sure you’ve got your tomatoes and lettuce sliced and ready to go!

“It’s just food.“


This was the first bit of deli wisdom imparted onto me (…thanks Stove). Don’t lose sight of what you’re doing. When you’re stressed out, break the situation down to its most basic form. If you make a mistake, it’s okay. We live, we learn, we make more sandwiches.

Learn people’s names


No matter what you’re doing, if you’re seeing people on a regular basis– learn their name. And call them by their name. This works both ways! When a customer calls me Lauren, I feel acknowledged as a human. We have a psychological need to be connected, and learning names is step one.

Sleep Well


Don’t ever underestimate the power of sleep. Breakfast doesn’t cook itself, and a deli diva needs beauty sleep. Sacrifice late nights for days where you won’t be miserably sleep deprived. Learn to manage your time correctly. There’s plenty of time to work hard & play hard.

Don’t Worry, Be Happy


Moods are contagious, so be in a good one! Be genuine, and spread good vibes! They go a long way. There’s a quote that says, “the grumpier you are, the more assholes you meet.” Yes, there will always be assholes. However, a smile will get you a lot further than a puss. (An all day smile is impossible to maintain without a goodnights sleep… see step 4)

This job was not anywhere near my comfort zone. I went from dance teacher to deli diva, pushing me to overcome my fears of slicers and liverwurst (…thanks Will). Embrace uncomfortable situations– they give you opportunities to grow in ways you wouldn’t imagine, meet amazing people, and gain appreciation for things, places, and services you normally take for granted!

A Slice of Life: Confessions of a Deli Diva

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