So You Want To Be A Waiter

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Daily Archives: October 3, 2009

Be careful during the initial interview

My buddy Steve, from the informative blog, “Waiter Extraordinaire”, wrote the following post:

A very good point, Steve.

And that got me thinking of things that you should either take with a massive grain of salt when interviewing for a new restaurant:

When the interviewer says the following, you should either disregard, or be very cynical about it:

“I don’t schedule according to tenure. I only schedule according to performance”.

Yeah, right. What are you – borg? To be fair, some managers actually believe this. And a smaller percentage of those might actually put this into practice.

“Our PPA is $75 per person”.

It might very well be. But, unless they are willing to show you monthly sales reports, take this with a grain of salt.

“We don’t want salespeople, we want people people”.

If you fall for this, shame on you. They all want salespeople. Unless they have a strict prix fixe menu. And, even then, they’d still like you to sell wine and alcohol.

“I can accomodate your school schedule/other work schedule/certain days off that you need/weekends off/lunches off/religious holidays off/etc. off.

Seasoned waiters take this with a grain of salt. Non-seasoned waiters fall for it every time. I don’t care if you are the lead singer of Styx and you need your summers off so that you can go on the “Grand Illusion Reunion Tour” – you have to always watch your schedule because someone (GM/AGM/schedule flunkie) is going to forget when Fleetwood Mac comes to town and your GM needs an extra body and forgets his promise from 4 years ago (speaking from personal experience here, although I’m certainly not the lead singer of Styx).

“We don’t do Sunday brunch”.

Maybe not now.

“We don’t play favorites here”.

A variation of statement #1. Unless your interviewer has glowing eyes and is issuing little wisps of steam from around his artificial gills, beware. As Depeche Mode once sagely said, “People are people”.

The main thing that you should do when going into an interview is to have done your homework first. If you are trying to get a job at Chili’s or Applebee’s, the only thing you need to know is “Am I willing to be more aggressive that anyone else? – Because I’m willing to stay late and pick up the tables that no one else is willing to” or “I hope I can slide out early because I want to go get fucked up with my friends”. Or, in the case of a restaurant that has a serious rep – see if your initial impression of the joint matches what you’ve been told. Are the carpets a bit ragged? Does everything shine? How are the bathrooms? Does the manager have the bearing that you expected? Is she just a little too glib? Is he just a little too green? Is she a little too jaded/faded/distracted?

If you are pretty green, unfortunately, you’ll have to take some things on faith. If  you’ve been around the block a little, trust your instincts.

You won’t be sorry.

“Great waitresses are always counter-intuitive”


From USA Today:

“I never waited tables or worked a deli counter. Many of my friends did during college and said it was the hardest job they ever had.

It was probably just as well the opportunity never came my way. I’m not very good at taking orders. I like people. It’s the public I have trouble with.

But if you work behind the counter at a coffee shop, the public is what you get. The hope, I assume, is the public turns into people who turn into friends.

A book out this week, Counter Culture: The American Coffee Shop Waitress, pretty much proves that true.

Faye Blackwell of Trio Restaurant in Washington, D.C., for instance, says: ‘If a customer comes in three times, I consider them a regular. By then I know their name, what they eat, if their mother is ill, or if they need surgery.’ ”

Read the rest of the article here:


Restaurant monkey business in Japan

Some people say that waiting tables is so easy that even a monkey could do it.

Well, turns out that it’s true.

At least they are “amazing”.

Monkey waiter