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!

Friday Funday

Yay!  It’s Friday!  Whoo hoo!  Friday is a whole other kind of fun day for those of us who work in the restaurant business.  Some people work only one 8:00-5:00 jobs then they come to bars and restaurants and have a grand old time.  I’m the person who works 7:00-3:00, then comes into take care of those regular people.  I don’t mind it so much.  I love my coworkers and they love me.  Most of them are funny and make me feel good about myself.  I return the favor as often as I can and I even try to help them with their tables.

We ask each other if we’re okay, and try our best to not snap or be mean.  It’s one of the healthier restaurant environments I’ve worked in.  So, when I do get angry, it’s the fault of the customers, not my coworkers.  Now, most recently, the weekends have been okay; nothing crazy or mind boggling.  But two particular work days stick in my mind: St. Patrick’s Day and Cinco de Mayo.  The two days everyone is conveniently Irish or Spanish.  Now, I’m of legal drinking age, but I don’t see the purpose of getting drunk; and let me tell you!  I saw so many people under the boozy influence, it was hysterical!

However, on both those nights, I got on a wait because everyone wanted to eat there and everyone was taking their sweet ol’ time at their tables.  Several times, people got up at the same time and I was running around, trying to clean tables as fast as I could.  But, as I like to say, “Never underestimate the stupidity of humanity.”  On more than one occasion, people would ignore me and the wait list and seat themselves at dirty table.  Now, I have a retaliation obligation: I ignore them.  I don’t bring them menus, I don’t clean the table, and I don’t tell the server.

If the server sees them at a dirty table without menus, they come to me and say, “They ignored you.”  I nod.  The servers know better than to challenge me after that.  But!  As of right now, no craziness has happened at work, thank God!  I think I might pull out my imaginary weapon (named Blucher [Young Frankenstein]) and shoot them all!

And on that note, it’s been real!

 

T.G.I.F – This Girl Is F–ked

Fridays are the one of the best days of the week!  It’s the beginning of the weekend and everyone has plans, and all those plans begin (and usually end) with going to a bar.  I wish I could have that luxury in the sense that I can go to a bar, sit down, order a drink, and kick back after a day at the dentist.

Um… no.

I do go to a bar, in a restaurant, after I’m done working at the dentist.  However, I’m the lovely lady who stands in the front and seats the customers as they arrive.  Ta da!  I’m the hostess of my restaurant!  The only hostess at my restaurant.  It was a recently created position, as we did not have somebody at the door all the time to greet people and seat them.  Makes me wonder what they were doing before I came along.  My one manager remembered that I was a hostess for four years at another restaurant, and asked me to start being the hostess there, and to create a system.  The system has been made and implemented well the last several months I’ve been at the front.

Occasionally, I leave (sickness, vacation, etc.), and somebody else has to do my job.  I once heard the manager did my job, and got so confused, he said, “I wonder how she does it.”  With respect.  He normally pokes fun at me, so I was rather pleased when I found out.  I knew he would never say it to my face.

Tonight, I will sit behind my little table with my seating chart, reservation/wait list, and my menus.  I will smile at people who will ask to bounce from one table to another; I will see almost everyone do something stupid, and I will laugh at it.  All in all, it’s not so bad.  Just tiring and some times emotionally exhausting.  And when it’s all said and done, I get my drink at the bar after a VERY long day at work.

And on that note, it’s been real!