Sunday, September 11, 2011

Late Night Inspiration

So last night I tossed and turned myself through what felt like HOURS of nightmares. The best part... they were of the "waitressing" type. If you have ever waited tables I am without a doubt sure you have experienced this. I have been waitressing since I was 18; it was definately the best way to make mucho money quick and worked with my school schedule. But I hate it. I've loved the places I worked, but the whole concept of being a waitress is totally nightmare-worthy. Thankfully, { hopefully } my waitressing days are a looong gone.

In this nightmare I was running in circles, never catching up with getting what people wanted. You know those dreams when you are supposedly somewhere but it's not really what it is in real life? Yeah, makes sense right? Anyways, I was working at my friends' place City Hall

cute right?

Well.. needless to say this is NOT what it looked like in my nightmare. I was in a dungeon-esque, antler-serving (yes, charred antlers were on the menu) hole in the wall. Much more Snuggly Duckling. And I was running in circles, never catching up, and everyone was yelling at me.

My point in all this. I thought I'd give you some tips. A little advice on what I've learned throughout the years on what to do and NOT to do in the restaurant scene. I've learned that there's many things that get done to us poor servers that is not intentional rather a misunderstanding due to lack of previous learning. So please readers, my few and far between, take heed on the people delivering your latest craving so no one has to suffer what I went through last night.

** Warning.. Do not take offense as I may come off a bit strong :D

1. 20%. Yes 20% at least in the Northeast, is the baseline for tipping. If she/he were awesome please feel free to go higher. My paycheck averaged $1.50 after taxes and I totally appreciated the few extra bucks from the tables I clicked with.

2. If a special menu ( often a prix fixe menu ) says "No Substitutions" - it really means no subs. Our kitchen would spout 150 Ladies Night dinners in 2 hours. If my table's ticket had changes on it it would either (1) get pushed to the end of the line meaning you were waiting an hour for food (2) they just wouldn't do it. ((Allergies excluded)). And the "But they do it everytime" does not work.

3. "I know the owner" well darling so do I and I know he would not let you change your free well-martini for a 10$ Grey Goose martini. I'm sorry.

4. Be understanding. You know how you forgot to write back to that email that's been sitting in your inbox? Well sometimes we forget to add/sub/order something. In which case, PLEASE bring it up. Nicely. And we will totally do everything possible to get it to you right as fast as possible.

5. Chef's can be mean. Very mean. Mean as in the "I had the other waitress serve your food bc I was in the bathroom crying."

6. Please don't swear or talk inappropriately to me. As friendly and welcoming as I am, it really offends me when people start dropping curse words or talking about their opinions on the "hot girl" they saw earlier. Ugh.

7. Many people assume that waiting on tables is all I do and all I'm going to ever do. People look down on us and I've even overheard people saying "She's just a food server." Well I'm not. I'm finishing a master's from an Ivy League school. I have a loving amazing family. And I'm so much more than that. Which leads to #8.

8. Some tables don't like to chit chat and I totally respect that bc when I'm out, I seldom start more than small talk with the server. But if you are going to strike up a conversation it's totally awesome if you genuinely ask what else he/she does, enjoys, etc. Likewise, don't ever say "well this is all you do?" or even worse "But you are so much better than this & you don't want to get stuck here." Because yes for some people, waiting tables is their main job right now. And why do you care? It can be great - it got my family through some tough financial times and I made more money than many people I know with degrees! Plus it allowed me the time to really figure out what I wanted in life.

9. We have power over your food. Enough said.

10. I love being a "good customer" just as much as I love getting a "good table".

11. Please don't make crude statements about the legality/ethnicity of the kitchen staff. Many of the undocumented workers in kitchens have given up their families and homes and instead spend 60 or so laborous hours a week doing the jobs that many Americans turn down. I wish I could write a book on the bravery and selflessness of these men and women. Their stories bring me to tears and one day I'll share.

I realize many of my statements had a total brashness about them. I apologize. After like what.. EIGHT years of being a waitress so much has built up in me. I've noticed a total lack in how many people treat their servers. But I've also met some amazing people and truly loving, generous people. When I was pregnant I had customers hand-knit me blankets and give me gifts for the baby. How awesome is that? I've made bonding relationships with people and I'm grateful. Being in any type of service job is NOT an easy feat. We should all find ways to make little improvements and changes in how we talk to the people that make our coffee or open our dressing rooms. Even just a "good morning" with a smile as you're rolling through the drive through.

Thanks for listening to my babble. Whew felt good.

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