So You Want To Be A Waiter

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

Valentine’s Day

Many words have been spilt on the waiter’s perspective of Valentine’s Day.

Amateur night. Uncomfortable proposals. Weird prix fixe menus. Buttkickings.

You know the drill.

So I’m going to simply mention a few things.

Amateur night refers to the fact that this is some people’s limited exposure to dining out each year. A lot of very young people also take advantage of Valentine’s Day. This means that you might not see the same percentages that you would normally see. Now is the time to take a smaller tip less personally than you normally would.

Valentine’s Day actually started Friday night, due to the fact that it’s on a Monday this year. so I’m a bit behind the curve. Having said that, expect to get your ass handed to you tonight (Sunday night). Hopefully, your restaurant has anticipated the extra business. This means more floor staff and a kitchen that has ramped up in personnel and prepping (increasing pars). This means breaking out extra champagne flutes, wine glasses and smallwares like candles, silverware, etc. If i were you, I’d go into tonight and tomorrow night expecting to have to deal with issues not anticipated by management. If you do that, you will be prepared for anything.

90% of your business tonight and tomorrow night will be deuces. Live with it.

Embrace the holiday. Wish everyone a Happy Valentine’s Day. Be as upbeat as you can possibly be. This is an important emotional holiday for most Valentine diners. Sometimes it’s forced. Try to make it special for those who see it as an obligation.

Want to be different? Go get a box of those insipid candy hearts with a little message on them. Leave two with the bill. It’s cheesy but it’s a touch that many will appreciate.

Volume is your friend. Embrace it. Prepare to be busy. In fact, your economic and emotional well-being relies on it!

I don’t have much more inspirational guidance to give you as I’m a bit spent from last night’s reaming. I had very nice guests and things flowed well and I grossed $490! That means I walked with $335. I’m not complaining at all. Our kitchen rocked and there were few issues from my viewpoint. I was literally sore from all of the running. However, I’m a bit nervous as that usually means that the next night will dissolve into chaos! Oh well, I’ll go into tonight’s shift not expecting the worst but being prepared for any eventuality. You would do well to follow my example tonight and tomorrow night.

Good luck to all of you and to our diners, I hope that you get good service in the face of the inevitable stampede, that if you are foolish enough to propose that your proposal is accepted, and that you understand that your waiter will be dealing with extraordinary circumstances. If you don’t eat out all that often, remember the normal guidelines – 15% for average, workaday service, 18 – 20% and more for great service. Please try to be a little bit more patient with your waiter than normal. Our kitchens are trying to feel between 2 – 4 times the number of people, especially considering that this is Sunday and Monday night. Your accommodation is greatly appreciated.

2 responses to “Valentine’s Day

  1. David February 14, 2011 at 8:41 am

    I try to be upbeat, but I am really dreading this shift. A normal V-day is tough enough. This one may be worse than normal with most of the country trying to save their sales numbers for the period after the snow storms and the additional wear and tear of it stretching for four straight days. I think this could be a legendarily bad day for many servers across the country.

  2. Nick Boodris February 14, 2011 at 10:27 am

    Nice post for Valentines Day.

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