So You Want To Be A Waiter

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

Change of seasons

We are now on the cusp of a new season. This has implications on several levels for waiters.

The main one is the effect of seasons on the guest. This drives everything from eating habits to dining patterns to mood.

Eating habits change. This drives culinary offerings in restaurants that have seasonal menus as well as altering the ordering patters of the guest. The restaurant might have a consistent menu mix but even those restaurants find diners choosing different items and some of this is location dependent. If a location is in a place that has an oppressive summer weather, the guest naturally chooses lighter fare like fruit based dishes, fish instead of steak, lighter wines. As the weather starts to cool down, they start choosing heartier fare, which culminates in lots of rich, comfort food by mid-winter. Wines gradually move from things like crisp sauvignon blancs and pinot noirs to big, oaky chardonnays and chewy dense cabernets and rustic, spicy and bold zinfandels.

The change of seasons also changes dining patterns. Each change of season is accompanied by big holidays or events that change the frequency of dining. Whether it’s parents dealing with sending kids back to school around the time of the big blowout farewell to summer, Labor Day, or Thanksgiving signalling the true beginning of fall, or Memorial Day triggering the desire to cook out or hit the lake, the change of seasons is the kick in the butt to the complacency that the day to day drudgery of waiting tables engenders. The change of seasons also falls in line with the start of various pro sports seasons and this can impact reservations both positively and negatively, especially for those cities lucky enough to have sports franchises. 

So what’s a waiter to do?

Now’s the time to acknowledge that change is coming. Some of you have already noticed it. This isn’t the time to let your guard down or rely on the status quo. If you are counting on a certain level of income and the guests stop coming for a week or two while they get their kids in school, you’ll be for a big shock.

Now is also the time to use your menu knowledge to your advantage. If you can get in sync with the guest’s internal rhythms, you can show yourself almost on an unconscious level that you are creating the perfect dining experience for the guest. You’ll find your suggestions flowing instead of fighting the impression that you are just trying to sell the guest something. You are trying to sell the guest something – the perfect culinary experience. You start using your wine and alcohol knowledge to the advantage of both you and the guest. For instance, when someone asks you for a beer suggestion in the middle of a humid summer, instead of randomly picking a beer or your own personal favorite, you steer the guest toward a summertime perennial, wheat beer instead of a Guinness. Of you discuss the advantages of choosing that violet-scented viognier that you have never been able to sell in the past. It’s all about matching food and drink to the climate.

See the change of seasons as an opportunity and a challenge. By staying in tune with the seasons, you force yourself to stay current on your menu and alcohol knowledge. You fine-tune your knowledge of the flow of your restaurant. Most restaurants are fairly predictable in terms of ebb and flow. It might not be totally congruent year day to year day, but patterns emerge over time. It’s almost like the restaurant has a unique biorhythm. This is one argument for staying with one restaurant instead of bouncing around, trying to find the new hot restaurant. The longer you stay with a restaurant, the more you can deal with the natural ups and downs of a particular place.

The seasons are your friend, but only if you embrace them.

 http://verydemotivational.com/category/motivated-photos/?id=60941

3 responses to “Change of seasons

  1. Nick Boodris September 12, 2010 at 10:38 am

    I really liked this post especially what’s a waiter to do? It gives a good insight on menus for different times of the year. Good job.

  2. Pingback: Monday Morning Recap « Tips on improving your Tips

  3. Pingback: Monday Morning Recap | Restaurant Laughs

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