So You Want To Be A Waiter

The best book on waiting tables that you have never read – yet

Short list of things to do when applying for a waiter job

1. Bring a pen. Nothing shows that you’re not prepared than if you have to borrow a pen from the person interviewing you.  And waiters need to always have a pen, as well as a corkscrew, lighter, crumber, and any other specialized tool that you need for a particular restaurant.

2. Do not call or drop by to ask about a job during the hours of 10:30 – 2:00 and 4:30 – close. This are busy hours for managers. The only time you should attempt to contact the restaurant are between 2 – 4:30pm (preferrably NLT 4pm).

3. Dress appropriately. Khaki shorts aren’t appropriate unless you are applying for a job in a beach shack. No socks is not appropriate.   Sandals on guys isn’t appropriate, even with socks. Especially with socks.  That’s just wrong. If you are applying to a fine dining restaurant, dress upscale but not showy. If you are applying to a more casual restaurant, a shirt and tie is a good choice. Wrinkled clothes are a no-no. Unless you are applying to Hooter’s or Jim Bob’s Gentleman Club and Cattle Ranch, keep the cleavage tasteful (that goes for you guys too!)

4. Be on time for an interview. If something happens on your way to the interview, call ahead and notify them. It’s OK to be early.

5. Study the menu before the interview. Know a bit about the restaurant. Be prepared to answer questions like, “Why do you want to work in my restaurant”?

6. Bring a resume. You’d be surprised that some people actually don’t bring this with them. Also, in this spirit, bring things like alcohol permits, driver’s licenses, etc.

7. Don’t order a drink from the bar while waiting on your interview. Yes, I’ve seen this! If offered a drink, it’s OK to ask for water. If you are offered coffee or a soft drink, it’s OK to accept, but the best thing is to simply ask for water.

8. Don’t chew gum while approaching someone for a job or during an interview. Yes, this is common sense. Doesn’t stop people from doing it though. If you’re nervous, keep it to yourself.

9. Don’t be too comfortable or too stiff. Slouching in a chair with your legs spread is bad. But sitting upright like a Prussian officer isn’t good either. Look relaxed but alert.

10. Don’t lie about your experience, especially if you use someone’s name as a reference. The restaurant world is fairly close-knit.  Why chance it?  Be candid about your lack of experience if that’s the case.

I’ll be writing about this more in the future.

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