So You Want To Be A Waiter

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Tag Archives: holidays

Holidays

Well, the holiday season is officially started. In many restaurants, this week is a sort of calm before the storm. Next week is when it gets started in earnest.

Now’s the time to get into the correct head space. Things worth considering:

Shifts, especially lunch, get longer. Cuts usually can’t happen when they usually do and this can be tough since we tend to get into a groove and a rhythm. Might as well just accept it now.

The closer you are to the mall or shopping areas, the more stressed out shoppers you’re likely to encounter. Try to be a little more patient with people when they seem to be on their last nerves. It’s hard when they don’t seem to understand that you’re just as stressed, if not more so. But this is the time where a little bit of compassion can pay dividends in the form of higher tips from grateful diners. Try to accommodate this as much as you can and you’ll find that it will pay off more often than not. This isn’t the time to really push table turns, even if you’re getting that pressure from management. A good manager will realize that table times are just naturally longer, but, as we know, not every manager is a “good one”. It’s hard to veer away from your normal practices but I guess I’m saying just try to roll with the flow of each table.

Be more aware of alcohol consumption and remember that sometimes, guests might already be coming from parties or other gatherings where alcohol has been served. Start watching guest behavior early and try to keep them safe.

Try to be as upbeat as possible, even as you’re getting your butt kicked or having the holidays kicking your butt just as your guests are experiencing.  This goes without saying, but sometimes it’s just hard to reflect a joyful spirit when the shifts are long, the diners testy, etc. Here’s one way of getting through it – remember that for most of us, December is like June and July combined. Your wallet will thank you.

And speaking of that, now is the time to squirrel some of that extra cash away, whether it’s to add to your tax withholding for the next quarter or as an emergency fund for the slower summer months (assuming of course that you aren’t in a tourist area that’s busy during the summer).

And, of course, now is the time to count your blessings, stake stock of your personal situation and plan for the next year. Just don’t make any resolutions please. Most of the time, they are just stupid and get forgotten by Valentine’s Day.

Happy Holidays from me to you and yours!

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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.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Here’s hoping that you and yours have a great Thanksgiving.

For those of you working tonight through this weekend, don’t let your guard down. The night before Thanksgiving can be deceptively busy (at least busier than you might expect). If it doesn’t pan out, at least you’ll have been prepared.

And you’d be surprised how many people eat out the weekend after Thanksgiving. You wouldn’t expect people to want to eat a bite for days or to be living off of leftovers, but many people just want a break from the usual Thanksgiving prep work and table fare.

Also, be on the alert for overdrinkers. Know the signs for cutting someone off. You don’t want to be responsible for someone getting themself or others hurt or killed.

So keep your game faces on.

New scam as outlined by “Sorry, Not My Table”

Well, I thought I had heard it all. But scalping reservations? On Craigslist? Really??!!??

Well, read this little post at Sorry, Not My Table”:

http://sorrynotmytable.com/2010/02/11/egregious-offenses/

And don’t stop at the new scam. The bottom of the post outlines some of the really bogus things that people shouldn’t do when it comes to Valentine’s Day (especially, but also applies to any other big holiday that gets booked up early).

The advent of OpenTable, a popular online reservation system, has created a way for enterprising people in their pajamas to try to exploit the interwebs for their own nefarious purposes. I hope this doesn’t start requiring extremely popular restaurants to start taking credit card deposits at the time of reservations. I can’t see it happening, but you never know.