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Memorizing orders on the way out according to The Washington Post

The old-school way of memorizing diners’ orders is fried

 By Steve HendrixWashington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Richard Weber can still do the hardest part of his job with both hands behind his back, literally. But maybe not for long.

Weber, a waiter at Washington’s iconic Palm restaurant, is a 20-year professional who prides himself on fast service, deferential courtesy and, most important, impeccable and unassisted memory. During a lunch rush last week, he smoothly kept track of the food and beverage demands of almost 20 diners, an ever-shifting matrix of steaks and salads, cocktails and Cokes, running credit cards for some, describing specials to others.

All with nary an order pad in sight.

Read the rest of the article here:

Richard Weber says taking orders by memory, even complicated ones, helps keep his mind sharp. (Bill O’leary/the Washington Post)

Personally, I don’t buy into something that a member of the National Restaurant Association says:

“It’s fun to see and something the guests will talk about,” Donohue said. “There’s always that chuckle moment, wondering if they will get it right. But it’s part of the experience that’s unfortunately being lost as orders have gotten more complicated.”

Personally, I don’t think too many people have that “chuckle moment”. I think it’s more like what the article points out – that for most guests, it’s probably more of a feeling of dread – “Is my server going to get it right”?

Personally, to me, it’s more of a parlor trick. I’ve always said that the order should be written down, if only to give the guest a sense of security that they’re going to get the meal that they ordered. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.


2 responses to “Memorizing orders on the way out according to The Washington Post

  1. waiterextraordinaire February 26, 2010 at 8:56 am

    I like to write it down to because after repeating back what they said and writing it down the order is right and the customer cannot deny what you wrote down.

  2. TigerDude May 15, 2010 at 9:28 pm

    Not only is it more professional to write the order down, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve worked with “flawless” memorizing fellow waiters/waitresses who consistently screw up orders by being too smart for their own good.

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