So You Want To Be A Waiter

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

A couple of restaurant mnemonics

White is right. No, it’s not some sort of KKK infiltration of the restaurant industry or some white supremacist secret recruitment tool.  The conventional placement of salt and pepper is with the salt shaker on the right as you face the table. There are probably some restaurants that have a different spec, but this is generally the case. So, if you’re new, this can help you remember what the standard is (assuming that your restaurant follows this standard, of course).

Also, another popular mnemonic is regular is right. In the absence of a labeled coffee pot, some restaurants have conformed to the convention that regular is always on the right when there is more than one pot. Once again, this is something that you have to find out for yourself – this is probably less universal than the “white is right” thing. Also, I use this personally when I’m carrying coffee cups or pots. If I have both regular and decaf cups in my hand, I always have the regular cups in my right hand. If I’m “butterflying” two cups in one hand, the regular cup is always the one on the right.

A couple of other principles to keep in mind – seams always go down, whether it’s the seam on your apron, the seam on the napkin that you do a rollup or a table fold with, or the seam on your tablecloth. and speaking of tablecloths – let’s say that you have one of those fancy tables that converts from a 4 top square table to an 8-top round table. When you flip up the four half-moon leaves, make sure you align the middle crease of the tablecloth with the original square. In other words, don’t just throw the tablecloth on the table nilly-willy. Make sure that it’s aligned with the original square so that if you have to pop it down because of a no-show, it’s still lined up with the crease down the center of the square. It will save you a lot of time if you don’t have to re-position the tablecloth.  In other words, place it with all creases parallel to the original four sides of the square.


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