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…
- 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.
- 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’.
- 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!
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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!