So You Want To Be A Waiter

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

More on designing and building the perfect dining experience

Feeling a little cheated after reading yesterday’s post?  Expecting a blueprint to assure the perfect dining experience?

Well, I don’t blame ya.

But that was just a preamble. Something to get you shifted into a different frame of mind. You see, waiting tables can be a mind and soul-numbing experience for someone who is simply punching a clock or waiting on a “real job”.

In this short series of posts, we’ll extend the analogy and give you some real world tips on erecting a great meal.

First of all, a building needs an architect. Architects needs to have training in the engineering and design arts. It’s also helpful to be an artist themselves.  So, as the architect of your guest’s meal, you have to have a good training on your materials and how to use them. The great waiter will always be learning about food and beverage. They will keep a mental file on human behavior and they’ll have gone over their mechanics of movement. They’ll also try to be an artist with words. If necessary, they could make the Mona Lisa blush, and not from a stream of invective. By using the “sizzle” words and phrases like sizzling, succulent, seasonal, buttery, lean, perfectly broiled and decadent, you paint a picture for the guest that’s hard to resist. But, you can easily overdo this. Potentially great paintings have been ruined when the artist didn’t know when to stop. If everything is luscious and amazing, then it’s likely that nothing actually is. What kind of foundation does your meal have if you can’t explain to your guest why they shouldn’t order that cabernet with the sea bass. Now, don’t get me wrong – anyone can have anything with anything, but you should be able to know enough about both products to be able to explain that sea bass will be overwhelmed by a big cab? Perhaps you find out that they don’t drink white wines at all. Well, you can then pivot to a pinot noir or even something less heavy and chewy than a cab like a  Chianti Classico or something along those lines. Or, if they say they still want a big dark wine, you can offer them the petite syrah that you have on the list. It’s dark and inky (usually even darker than a cabernet) but it’s usually softer and rounder. It’s all about using your knowledge much as an architect would do when she explains to the client that an upside-down pyramid might look great and be unique, but they just don’t have the resources to pull it off.

So, if you want to build a great meal, start with a great foundation.  Nobody wants to work with an architect that doesn’t seem to know about materials or engineering. And you don’t want your great meal to crumble into dust and misshapen girders.

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