Friday, November 13, 2009

Frozen or on the rocks? Beans and rice or jambalaya? Grilled or blackened? Dizzy yet? I am.

With my head still spinning from my first real day on the restaurant floor, I return – frazzled, sore-footed, and ready to be making TIPS for this crap.

Okay, seriously though, it wasn’t too bad… I aced my Menu 1 Test (HOLLA! The guy grading it even asked if I had cheated, and quizzed me out loud on stuff to make sure. No, I did not cheat. I am JUST THAT GOOD, BITCH.) But then… I happened to be training with (by a popular vote that included Border Café employees and the regular customers) the craziest, most intense, speediest server in the wild wild east. Anyone who was in the restaurant during those 5 hours can attest to the fact that I was quite literally sprinting to keep up with this dude. Several mangers / coworkers offered to buy me a pair of roller skates, because my legs clearly were not long enough to get the job done.

As I have mentioned, I’ve never waitressed before. So I’m here to tell anyone else going into this business for the first time that this job is… um… hard. When I wasn’t reeling around a corner clinging to tabletops for dear life or praying that I didn’t eat it as I sprinted up and down the stairs carrying drinks and appetizers, I was answering questions like “So what did you forget that time? What should you have asked them when they ordered that? Do you know what you’re supposed to do now?” …as if I wasn’t already dizzy enough.

What am I supposed to do now? …Greet the customers. Bring them chips and salsa and ask for their drink orders. IDs if necessary. Bring them their drink orders and ask if they’re ready to order. Take their orders and ask the appropriate questions. Bring the necessary accoutrement for whatever appetizer or entrée they’ve chosen. Bring the food and ask if they need anything else. Check back in two minutes (or two bites! Whatever comes first) to see if they need anything… keep an eye out for drinks that need refilling, plates that need to be taken away, read their minds as to when they need their check, ask if they need a back massage to help them digest their food…. I usually forgot two or more of those steps.

Fortunately, the tables I served found my… what’s a nice word for “incompetence?” …The tables I served found my CONFUSION endearing rather than irritating, as they all knew I was the new kid on the floor. In fact, the customers were usually my biggest cheerleaders, and even though I got a lot of crap from my trainer, many of my tables were very up front in telling me that they liked me a lot. I even had one very nice British family actually send someone to find me so that they could tell me I’d done a good job.

I’m going to count that as a lucky break. Having worked in politics (and elsewhere… but mostly politics) I have long since learned that not everyone is, uh… easy to handle. And not everyone will be charmed by a cute smile and a “Sorry guys, I’m new!” So tonight, Friday night though it may be, is devoted to studying and making lists of everything I need to remember on the floor… because tomorrow, I’ll be handling the Saturday morning crowds solo. I mean… with a trainer over my shoulder, but still… ya know, mostly solo.


  1. Nice post. I've been having some hiccups at my new job at mintie corp. When you send files to coworkers, you cant really attach a hooray beer in the text of the otherwise blank email. Apparently this was a workplace faux pas, because in the real world, there are only serious emails and fun emails and not much in between. On the plus side, i get to eat all the mintie corp mints that i can digest. Fun and delicious swag leftover from trade shows.

  2. you and tsmag should chat about waitressing... and i'd like to be present to hear the convo :)