A Hostess’ Perfect Restaurant

Business seems to have picked up with the arrival of the colder weather and the start of the season where every company decides to have their Christmas Party around the same time.  It is at times like this when I plan the perfect restaurant: basically the restaurant where every customer does exactly what I saw, sits where I put them, and keeps their mouth shut.  Here is my perfect restaurant…

  1. Force field – this force field would surround my little area, and nobody can leave that force field without me escorting them.  This force field would prevent people from walking to a table and seating themselves when I’m not there.
  2. Electrified seats – electrified seats would be in place in case people moved from the bar to a table without seeing me, or moved from one table to another because the first table ‘wasn’t quite right’.
  3. Sign-triggered door – the sign-triggered door is where the door will not open until the people see the sign in the atrium that says ‘Please wait to be seated.’  Once it acknowledges that they’ve read it, the door will open.

Thinking about things like this helps me cope with the fact that the bulk of humans who walk into my restaurant are incredibly stupid, but then they have the audacity to look at me like I made the mistake.  One of my favorites is when people walk in and just stare at me after we greet each other.  You know what they’re waiting for?  They’re waiting for me to magically read their minds to gauge how many are in their party.

I took an extra shift at work on Wednesday night, and I had some funny encounters that had my coworkers chuckling to themselves.  First, I had a woman about my height come in and I sat her at our higher half booth, half tables.  Now, I’m petite, so I’m about 5ft 5″ in height.  A few minutes later, she came up to me and said, “Can we move to another table?  My friend and I are short, and that’s not comfortable.”  I sighed (inwardly), sat her at a lower table and went to tell the server.

When I found her, I said, “Sorry I double sat you; but apparently both her and her friend are hobbits.”  It took the server two seconds to get the reference and she started laughing.  After that, I had a man walk in when all my tables were occupied.  I told him it would be a little bit of a wait, and watched to see when a table would get up.  A little while later, his wife and son arrived and he told them what I had said.  Immediately, his wife started looking around to see if there was something open.  Two tables had just gotten up at that time, and I was cleaning one of them off.  A server told the lady to wait for me, but she either didn’t hear her or chose to ignore her.  You see me cleaning a table, right?  Patience is a virtue!  After that, I had three really young men walk in and seat themselves at a table instead of waiting for me.  One of the bartenders and a couple of the servers all laughed when they saw me sigh and roll my eyes dramatically.  Needless to say, I went back to my post and did not get them menus.  Ah ha!  The hostess strikes again!  Never assume that a hostess is evil.  Merely assume that she is tired of having people try to (indirectly) tell her how to do her job.  Speaking from experience, it gets very frustrating.

And on that note, it’s been real!

Disorder in the House!

This past weekend, I legitimately and truly and really wanted to kill somebody.  Not my coworkers, but the customers (as per usual).  Friday night, I arrived at 5:00 for my shift and we were already pretty busy.  I got situated and then I had Granny and Paps come up and say they had eight people.  All my big tables were already taken, so they asked me to push two tables (in two different sections) together to seat them.  Now, if you work in a restaurant, joining two tables belonging to two separate servers for one party is a b*tch.  Why?  Who the f*ck is going to get it?!  So, I got my manager’s permission and pushed them together.  They brought in five noisy children, and one of the tables near them, moved to a different one.  This irritated me and threw the server off.  From there, everyone kept coming in and nobody was leaving.

I soon found myself on a wait and people couldn’t grasp that it was almost forty minutes.  Then, I got the Incredible Bulk dragging himself through the door.  I told him the wait time and he really gave me a hard time.  He wanted to go at the end of a long table, which was occupied at the other end.  I told him we could not do that and that I had a reservation going there.  “But I’ll be gone in twenty minutes.”  I just gave him a look and told him I couldn’t do that.  “Well, I want to speak to a manager because I don’t understand why.”

“Yeah, because you’ve got blubber for a brain,” I muttered to myself as I walked behind the bar to grab the floor manager.  I grabbed him and explained the situation to him.  He raised his eyebrow and affirmed what I already knew.  “Well, can you tell him that?  Because he doesn’t seem to want to take no from me.”

“Alright.  Where is he?” my manager asked.

“Turn around.  You can’t miss him,” I sarcastically responded as I started to walk away.  He looked, caught sight of him, faced me and mouthed, ‘what the f*ck?!’  I just nodded and went back to my post.  The rest of the night, people kept saying they didn’t see the sign in the atrium, so they sat themselves at dirty tables, and I didn’t bother with them.  I got angrier as the night went on and people kept being idiots.

My coworkers all said, “Wow!  You’re really pissed off.  I’ve never seen you this pissed off.”  I was.  It hadn’t even really cleared out that much when I was let go at a quarter to ten.

Saturday night, I was semi-hopeful, but definitely not optimistic.  Not long after arriving, I got a walk in eleven top and a seven top.  I guess calling to check if we even have room is out of the question.  Then, one of the servers was late, so I had to divide her section between the other (already busy) three.  Needless to say, I was not interested in taking shit from people after Friday night.  Thankfully, Saturday night was not as bad as Friday night.  My coworkers commented on that, and how I didn’t look like I wanted to decapitate somebody.  That was good.  We’ll see how this weekend goes.

And on that note, it’s been real!

Costumed Craziness

This past weekend was a like a masque affair at my restaurant.  We had all the staff dress up on Friday night, which was fun.  I dresses up as Worick Archangelo from the anime, Gangsta.  A few people thought I was Uma Thurman’s character from Kill Bill, but I had to correct them.  We had one of the waitresses, who is very good at makeup, did her face like a clown from American Horror Story.  She also did our manager’s face and made him look like a voodoo skeleton man.  We had a mermaid sort of server, a kitty cat (she was a little lazy), and a 50’s greaser girl.  One of the bartenders was Goose from Top Gun, and the second one was a rebel pilot from Star Wars.  In a sense… he was basically wearing a pajama onesie that looked like a rebel pilot on the front, but made him look like a Telly Tubby from the back.  We were all dressed up on Friday and we had fun.  Except for my lack of depth perception.  My character has an eyepatch, and I was doing my best not to bump into everybody.

On Saturday, we had several large parties make reservations, and one of them was an eighteen top costume party.  They kept standing up instead of sitting down at the tables we assigned them.  The servers couldn’t wait on them until they sat down, so that the two servers could know who they had.  My manager had to go over and tell them that they had to sit down in their seats to be served.  They sat down, but decided to occupy two extra tables as well as the larger two we had given them.

That was the first annoying aspect of it.  The second was an obnoxiously loud six top that was right next to me.  One of the women was obviously under the influence, and kept talking about certain, slightly off-color topics in a loud voice.  She mentioned the ‘LGBTQIA’ repeatedly and so loudly that I thought she really did want the whole restaurant to hear her.  They were there from almost the start of my shift to the very end of my shift.  They were there for literally four hours.  Anyway…

The costumes this weekend were pretty interesting and I could tell who put time/money into their costumes, and which ones had not.  Being a costume connoisseur, it was easy.  Halloween didn’t used to be a big holiday for me.  As I get older and older, it has changed along with me.

And on that note, it’s been real!

Stupidity Abounds

This past weekend while at the restaurant, I was once more amused by the stupidity of humanity as a whole.  From where I am in the restaurant, I can see quite a bit of what goes on, so I can watch people doing all kinds of weird things.  That, and I can exchange looks with my fellow coworkers as they wait for their drinks at the end of the bar.  As I believe I have mentioned in the past, we found a place to put the sign so people can see it when they come in.  When I arrive, I turn it from ‘Please seat yourself’ to ‘Please wait to be seated’.  It’s right there and the only way you can miss it is if you failed to pass elementary reading.

This weekend, I had several people come in, look around, see me, and ask, “Can we sit anywhere?” or “Can we seat ourselves?”  I don’t know… what does the sign say?  It says ‘Please wait to be seated’.  Some people are good, and they wait by my little area while I clean tables.  Other people are bad, and they just wander around and plop down wherever they feel like.  I love it when people ask me if they can sit at a table that is currently dirty.

I always say, “Give me a second and I’ll clean it up.”  I go to clear it and when I get back to actually clean it, they’re already sitting there in the company of crumbs and spills.  I almost wanted to walk away and let them sit there in the mess.  I said clearly and anybody with two brain cells between their ears would understand that I wanted them to wait until the table was ready.  Another funny thing that happened was I was cleaning up and two people walked in.  I stopped what I was doing and walked over.  “Can I help you?” I asked and they walked right by me.  I muttered to myself and watched them go off into our little lounge area.  I finished with my table and sat back up at my post, not bothering to bring them menus or inform the server.  I would always claim ignorance if they complained.  ‘Oh, but, they didn’t see me.’  The server came up a minute later to get menus.

She said, “Two people sat in my side of the lounge.”

I widened my eyes, a smirk played on my lips, and I said in a mocking voice, “Really?!”  The server laughed.  She knew I wasn’t directing that at her; I was directing that at them.  I love it when people walk over to a place, and then they happen to see me.

One of them will walk over and say, “Oh… were we supposed to wait for you?”

Let me think… kind of, yeah.  The sign is a dead giveaway, but apparently, you’re a few marshmellows short of a s’more.

And on that note, it’s been real!

Happy Place

This past weekend, there must have been an Idiot Special at our restaurant, because a lot of idiots showed up.  I was working overtime to not explode and kill somebody.  First off, somebody came up with the smart idea of placing our sign out in the atrium instead of behind me, where people ‘mysteriously’ manage to miss seeing it every time.  Now out in the atrium, I turn it around so that it says, ‘Please wait to be seated.’  It’s the first thing a person sees when they walk in.  And they still choose to ignore it.

The one question you don’t ask the person who is clearly the hostess is, “Can we just seat ourselves?”

“Oh, sure!  Go ahead!  It’s not like I have a job to do here or anything.”  That’s what I want to say at any rate.  The rate that this question was asked this weekend was phenomenal.  Everyone must have taken their stupid pills!  There were also a lot of large parties this weekend and that of course put us on a wait for tables.  Humans seem to have this nasty habit of challenging me when I tell them that we are on a wait.  “The wait for a table of four is half an hour.”

“Thirty minutes?!”

“Yes, thirty minutes.”

“Are you sure we can’t just squeeze in-?”

“Oh, yes!  I’m sure.”  People do that to me all the time, as if I’ll suddenly change my story.  I’d love to change the octave they’re currently talking at.  With a swift kick between the legs.  Then… there are the five tops.  I just don’t get it.  I can understand it if it’s a family with three kids; that makes sense.  But when it’s five friends out for the night, I’m kind of like, “Who wanted to be the fifth wheel?”  And then they try to finagle a table and add a chair, I’m like, “No.”

“But we can make it work,” they plead.

“And then you’ll complain to the server, and they’ll come up to me, saying you want to switch tables.  Not setting myself up for that, *sshole,” I say under the simple, “I don’t have an extra chair.”  I did actually have people I sat at a table when they were going to be three.  They were right by me at the front and when I came back to my post, the woman leaned over.

“Hey, I have a request,” she said.  I gave her the ‘really?’ look, but she continued, “Can you put us on your wait list for a table of… (has trouble doing basic math)… seven?  We invited some people over.”  Okay, first of all, that should have been the plan at the beginning of the evening, not a spur of the moment thing.  I know, sometimes a friend says they can’t come, then a few hours later, ask if they can come.  But, if you’re going to a restaurant and ask for a table for one number, then suddenly up that number on the hostess and your server, they are going to hate you.  Needless to say, I gave the woman an incredulous look and she just gave me a stupid smile.

“Okay… it’s going to be close to an hour,” I told her.  And I wasn’t just saying that to mess with her.  I was on a half hour wait for parties of four or smaller.  She was slapping me with a party of seven last minute.  But as for the picture overhead, the reason for that was because on that same night, I got a four top while I was in the middle of my long wait.  They wanted a low table for Grandma, and I gave them the wait.  They didn’t believe the wait time, and I had to tell them in a dumbed down version.  Finally, they said they would seat and in our lounge with a low coffee table and booth seats instead of regular chairs.  First, the one man came out and asked us to turn the fireplace on in there.  We still consider it sort-of summer in the restaurant business, and my manager was all against it.  Afterward, I just heard the server complaining about how needy and demanding they were.  When the ladies left, the two men stayed behind and grabbed my manager again.

“I don’t have a problem with you, but…” and everything before ‘but’ is bullsh*t.  My manager took them aside, defended our position and they left in a huff.  They did not acknowledge me when I told them to have a goodnight.

“And don’t let the door hit you in the *ss on the way out,” I mumbled to myself.

And on that note, it’s been real!

It’s Back to Work! On Labor Day?

Okay, first of all, this was not for Labor Day, this was for this past weekend when I went back to my restaurant after having been off for two weeks.  The first night was the night from hell, as I suspected it would be.  One of the servers was late, so she lost most of the tables in her section to everyone else.  We were down a person behind the bar, and then every living creature under the sun wanted to sit in every other spot but the one where I needed to put them.  I was basically running around like a mad person.  My head hurt, and my back ached terribly by the end of the night, and I only rewarded myself with one drink at the bar when it was all said and done.

On Saturday night, things were a little easier.  I was still mumbling things under my breath with people were being difficult.  I tend to say things like:

  • You will sit here and you will like it.
  • Just walk by me; I dare you.
  • You ignore me; it’s a two way street, honey.
  • (They say, “I’m sorry.”)  Me: No, you’re not.

It’s actually little phrases like that that wind up keeping me calm when I want to scream at them and tell them what big idiots they are.  My therapist actually recommends it, in place of physical violence ;).  In fact, I recommend it everyone.  If there is somebody or everybody who is pissing you off, just say something really nasty about them under your breath, and you’ll be fine a second later.  Good therapy!

Anywhoo, I hope that everyone here has a wonderful Labor Day that is labor free.

And on that note, it’s been real!

Restaurant Rules of Conduct

Now, this is friendly advice for those who are uninitiated in the ways of service in the restaurant business.  For those of you who read this and have worked in a restaurant, you know what I’m talking about.  For those of you who haven’t, you’re about to be educated.  There are many things that can annoy hostesses and servers alike.  I will point these out so that the next time you go to a restaurant, you can NOT do that.

Restaurant Rules of Conduct:

  1. Sit where the hostess puts you.  Easy one, right?  NO!  Duly note that whenever you walk into a restaurant, the hostess has a seating plan, so that every server can get approximately the same amount of tables and make some money.  A hostess is not blind.  If you are an older couple, she will try to put you at a lower table so you have easier access.  It just might not be in that exact spot you want to sit in.  Shut up and sit down.
  2. Don’t apologize.  That is not what you think it is.  When I say ‘don’t apologize’, I don’t mean ‘don’t apologize for who you are’.  I mean ‘don’t apologize for being difficult’.  Cause if you really didn’t want to be difficult, you wouldn’t be difficult in the first place.  So, when you countermand the hostess and ask to move to five different tables, don’t say, “I’m sorry for being difficult.”  You know why?  Because the hostess is muttering to herself, “No, you’re not.”  Because… you really aren’t.
  3. The music is fine.  Whenever you walk into a restaurant, look around and gauge what type of crowd mostly inhabits this theme of restaurant.  That being the case, don’t adjust the volume.  To be fair, most restaurants aren’t designed to cater to the older people; they are there to cater to the younger crowd.  So, with that thought in mind, don’t ask your server to turn the music down.  The music is at the volume it should be.  If you want to eat in a place where you control the volume, stay home.  You’ll be doing the rest of the world a favor.
  4. Table hopping. F*ck NO!  There was one night when I was food running, and I kept bringing the food to the wrong table.  I thought it was me at first, until the servers all told me that it wasn’t, and that people would sit down, order their food there, then decided they wanted that table over there.  Please!  Don’t do that.  Not only is it rude to the server, it is inconvenient for the foodrunner.  Plus, it throws the hostess out of whack, especially if she was about to seat that table, and you slide over like a jerk.
  5. Respect reservations.  When it comes to reservations, my restaurant only takes parties of six or larger, because anything smaller is stupid.  I’m glad we do that, because then on weekend holidays or stuff like that, our entire restaurant doesn’t get booked by reservations, and we can take a couple of walk ins.  But, as a hostess, I have had some people say, “I want to sit there.”  Me: “Oh, that’s reserved.”  Cue the crickets…  “But I want to sit there.”  Does my previous statement not compute for you?  I once almost got into a confrontation with a high schooler, who thought she was something special.  “But, we’re here now.”  Me: “I can’t put you there because it’s reserved.”  “But, I’m here now.”  Somebody bring me a table so that I can smash my forehead off it repeatedly, please?
  6. Cleanliness is close to godliness.  It never ceases to amaze me how messy full grown adults can be.  I’ll clean up a table and find so much stuff smeared on it and napkins and food on the floor, I try to remember if I sat kids there.  Then I remember that it was a bunch of adults, who all probably had a little too much to drink, and decided to throw manners out the window.  Now, maybe I’m saying that because I’m very conscious of what people think when I eat in public, but I don’t think other people think that way.  If you spill something or drop sauce on the table, wipe it up and ask (politely) for another napkin.  The person cleaning the table when you leave (me), will be very grateful if you eat like a human being instead of an animal.
  7. Waiting for a table?  Wait patiently.  If there is one thing that irks a hostess, it is impatient patrons.  You have to understand that a waiting list can be a vague thing because the hostess does not know down to the exact second, when people are going to get up and vacate a table.  They are estimating when they give you a wait time, and that also depends on when the tables were seated.  I’ve had people come in and when I tell them there’s a wait, they say, “Well, I called here ten minutes ago, and they said there wasn’t a wait.”  You have to try to comprehend that a lot of tables can be sat in ten minutes, and all at the same time.  This means that by the time you haul your ass over, they are all gone, and I am putting you on a wait.  And wait patiently for goodness sake!  Don’t walk up every five minutes and ask where you are.  You know why?  Because I’m standing there smiling, but it’s because I’m imagining what your face would look like after I’ve punched you in the throat a couple of times.

So there you have it!  Those are the restaurant rules of conduct for you to follow the next time you go out for an evening of food, music, conversation, and alcohol!

And on that note, it’s been real!