Tuesday, December 25, 2007
A couple weeks ago, I had a REALLY bad night.
Just in case you missed it...
And Saturday was starting out to be the same.
I was in Station 9, I got yelled at by Mr. Shitter, my regulars were late, and I held a table for them in the middle of a busy Saturday rush, and I was dealing with my own Holiday stress.
I went out to the break room to try to cool down. One of the bartenders was out there and he made the mistake of asking me what was wrong. It was like a cork was released. I had a total meltdown as I screamed what was wrong. What was wrong with the restaurant and the fact that we still have too many servers on even though business is back to normal, the customers who are jerks, the constantly crashing kitchen, the door servers who can't seem to find the back of the restaurant, the way the bathroom smells. You name it, I yelled it.
In my 17 years of waitressing, I have never had such an abusive outburst - AND IT FELT GOOD!! 17 years of being nice to people that secretly disgust me, and it finally came out.
Anyway - Once I was done screaming, I laughed a little, pulled myself back together, and went back out on the floor.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Your table has been chosen as the recipient of three doses of Ritalin.
We offer this special only to qualified families!
To qualify you must meet the following criteria:
*Loud Children who won't sit down in their seats
*Taking over 35 minutes to get the children to decide what to eat
*Excessive drink spills
*Popcorn flying over your table
*Children who are constantly up running in our isles
*Children who bump into waitresses as they are carrying trays
*Grabbing things off the tray as the waitress tries to set them down
*Saying very inappropriate things to the waitress
If you need more than 4 glasses of wine to deal with your children, something may be wrong...
So table 21 was sat with a family that seemed to have everything except a sense of humor. They ordered the finest wine, the Filet Mignon, and several of our special "Combo" meals. I put in the order, brought the apps, and everything seemed to be going fine.
I was at another table when the manager delivered their meal. All of the combos were mixed up. Great - $90 check and I can just see the tip going down....
I went to the kitchen to see what was wrong, and found out that The manager had brought a combo from another table's order, and mine was already being eaten by another customer. Even better - that tip is shrinking as we speak!
I explained the situation, and the table was actually kind of understanding. The meal came out again - delivered by another manager. STILL WRONG!!!!! Are you kidding?!?
"This is kind of like a Saturday Night Live skit!" The lady said to me. I apologized up and down, then went back to the galley to laugh. I couldn't help myself!! Was this really happening?
We finally fixed this - and my $90 check earned me a $13 tip.
Monday, December 10, 2007
She started complaining about the seating arrangements at the table, and somehow it was the door servers fault. When I showed up for a drink order, she ordered tap water for everyone, even though only one other person actually wanted it. She also made sure I knew haw badly she wanted some free popcorn.
When I cam back with my tray loaded with drinks and two bowls of popcorn held precariously in my other hand, she looked at me in shock. "You are going to bring more popcorn, right???" I gave her a look, and said as sweetly as I could. "Of course, I just thought you'd want a drink first."
Taking the meal order was almost painful. 6 of the normal people ordered normal meals in a normal fashion, then I got to Freak.
"Well, what did Rosemary order?" I looked up at the table. Could anyone save me??? Who the hell is Rosemary???
"Is everyone getting a full meal?" WHO CARES?!? Is SHE paying?!?
"Alright, I'll just get the turkey dinner, with mashed potatoes, gravy on the side, extra cranberry, a little extra butter for the biscuit, the stuffing on a side plate, an extra plate in case anyone wants to share, and a box." Are you kidding?
Next, the poor elderly lady next to her tried to order. "How is the broccoli cooked?" Before I could even answer, I heard Freak speak up. "Hard as a rock. You should probably get something else. It will be way to hard for you to..."
I had to step in - I couldn't take it any longer. "We cook it however you like it."
"Oh, can you make mine a little softer?" Of course, Nice Lady.
When the meal finally arrived, I was busy making sure all of the plates were in order, so my coworkers delivered it. I went over to check on everything, and I heard 7 "Yes, it's wonderful"s.
Then Freak had to speak up. "I'm going to need more butter. You forgot my box, and I'll need 6 napkins."
"6 Napkins?" OK this was all I could take - I laughed in her face, and walked away. I counted out 5 napkins and returned to the table. I handed them to the Freak, and refused to return to her end of the table.
The rest of the table was awesome, so I only checked on them.
But seriously, if you are going to bring your OCD friends out to dinner, you will need to take care of them yourselves.
Saturday, December 8, 2007
Everything that could go wrong, did!
It started to snow, so the highway on the way to work was a parking lot. So the whole night started later than usual.
I was in station 9, THE WASTELAND, which is apparently too far away from the hostess podium for the door servers to find it. The few tables that I did get, I had to seat myself.
The tables the hostesses actually did seat me were nothing but teenagers. Did I piss someone off up there? The hostess actually had the nerve to laugh when she told me that one of the other waitress was giving her trouble for the tables she had sat me. Yeah - well, I'm so glad YOU think it is a joke.
Around 7:30, I finally stopped talking to people. There was nothing nice left to say, and all I wanted to do was walk out and never come back. Just leave my tables and sneak out the back door. Some day - on a night like last night, I will sneak out. I wonder how long it would take them to notice...
Thursday, December 6, 2007
11:15 PM - Party of 65 at the door.
How much fun was that?!?!?
There were only 4 of us still on, and we needed to end this as quickly as possible, so I had a party of 10, a party of 16, and two parties of 4. All teenagers.....
At least they were nice kids...
At least they did leave something for a tip.....
At least they didn't make too much of a mess....
Thursday, November 29, 2007
For those of you who may need to catch up:
My mom has never been a 15% tipper. She is a 25-30% tipper. Even before I started waiting tables sooo many years ago, my mom taught me to tip generously. So why does she use Discover Card??
That may be a severe understatement, but I like her a lot because she keeps me laughing. At this point, I know her well enough to point out all her little quirks - and laugh at them with her.
Here are a few of the questions she has asked me since I've known her:
Do we put ice in the iced coffee?
~I told her no.
Are we out of water?
~Only one of the faucets is broken, honey.
How do I order a FROZEN mudslide?
~Press the button that says frozen mudslide...
What is on the Bacon Cheese Burger?
~Bacon & Cheese
Sometimes I wonder how she makes it to work every day...
I once read this article posted in our break room that servers who put smiley faces on their checks as they hand them out make an average of 13% more in tips.
Ok - sounds like an easy way to remind customers that I am a cheerful person and a wonderful waitress as they try to figure out what to leave me.
So I had to give it a try. Just to be an overachiever, I started writing "Thank You" on each check just above the little smiley face.
It may have padded my pocket a little bit, but not too noticibly.
However, for the last week I replaced the "Thank You" with "Happy Holidays", and that is a jackpot! Every night I've worked has averaged 25-30% in tips!
Maybe I'll just write "Happy Holidays" year round!!
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
I really enjoyed all of the exercise I got while running back and forth to get everyone a refill at a different time.
I was so excited that you found the extra napkins I gave you after I returned with another stack.
And don't worry about that chocolate milk spill on our brand new carpet! That's why we have a night cleaning crew!
I hope you enjoy the drink menu and salt and pepper shakers that were missing when you left. Don't worry, we keep plenty of these around, just in case the customers should need one for their homes!
And don't mention all those desserts I made you. I had so much fun at the dessert station making all SEVEN that I can barely write this without getting all giggly!
And best of all thank you so much for the thoughtful tip. The $9 on $95 will be well spent as my mortgage is almost due!
Monday, November 19, 2007
Lock the door to the smoking area!
This is the latest thing in a long line of complaints about one manager I just cannot bring myself to get along with.
We have a small area out by the dumpsters that some of the workers use for a smoking area. We also use it to talk on our cell phones. Sometimes if you have a spare second, it is nice to get a little fresh air. We didn't abuse the going outside privilage, until recently.
This particular manager decided to set the alarm on the back door. So, out we went without knowing about the alarm, only to be shocked by the loud buzzing. Since only a manager can disarm the door, we went back to work and watched him come back, look around, fix the door, and walk away.
A brilliant idea was born.
I ran over next and set the alarm off again.
Out he came, obviously irritated, and disarmed the door.
Next another girl ran over to open the door again.
OOOOOOoooooo was he ever mad when he came out again!!!
It was only getting funnier. Finally, on this last time, he left the door unlocked. Hmmmm - We'll see if he sets the door again next Saturday...
So on Fridays I start my work day with a bouncing group of 4 year olds at 7 am. I work until 2, then go home for about 2 hours to play with my own kids. At 4, I head to my waitressing job. I'll be there until about midnight.
Makes for a long day. So when I was sat with a WEIRD single at 10:45, I was not impressed. He ordered well done meat and "the biggest sweet tea we have" (Ok - we're in the northeast - we don't have sweet tea!!).
Anyway - after this "very nice" man had finished eating his meal, I went back to check again. At this point, I removed his plate. As I asked if I could get anything else, he lit up and started to go off on a tantrum about wanting a salad. Why didn't I offer him a salad? Why don't I offer everyone a salad? People from Wilmington love salads!! I should offer everyone a salad!!!
OK - Did I mention it was now 11:20?? I had been working for almost 14 hours. Ummmm - I may have forgotten to mention the salads. But I know I asked about appetizers and soups. Am I supposed to read the menu to everyone who walks in at 10:45?
Anyway - after the salad - he went on to order coffee. Finally, midnight rolled around. Midnight is such a magic time because we get to ask the customers to leave. Our liquor license runs out, and we need the building empty.
Not wanting to deal with this myself, I sent the manager I really don't like over to kick him out. Then I snuck out the back door.....
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Did I say that? Did my usually nonchalant demeanor suddenly crack under the stress of not having my vehicle start for almost 2 months? Did that cheezy little waitress smile suddenly turn sinister as I called to hire a lawyer?
You bet it did!!
I can put up with a lot of crap, but paying thousands of dollars for a lawn ornament is not something I intend to take lightly.
I only feel sorry for the salesman that sold us the car. I can relate. He is the face that we see. He is the one who has to deal with me on an almost daily basis. I've been there - trying to calm and placate pissed off customers while the people behind the scenes continue to do whatever it is they are (or are not) doing. I do feel sorry for him, but not enough to stop fighting.
Tomorrow we will hear from the owner of the dealership. Hopefully I will not have to call the lawyer....or the Better Business Bureau...or the Attorney General...or my friend's cousin who just happens to write for the AP...or anyone else I can find that can make some noise.
Sunday, November 4, 2007
The kitchen is always understaffed, the door servers are always slammed with take out so they can't take care of seating properly, the dishwashers are usually 2 hours late, the wait staff is overstaffed, and the bar usually doesn't have anyone working service. Did I miss anyone? For some reason, we all have issues on Saturday night.
But last night, management decided to put a few more people on. Our kitchen manager ran the kitchen - Awesome move!! More doorservers were scheduled - yea!! And they scheduled a service bartender - ME!!
I was so excited! I haven't worked the bar since August, but I was able to jump back in with no problems. Since I was the service bartender, I didn't have to deal with customers!!! Nothing I'd want to do all the time, but it was so awesome to just work and not have to worry about anything other than the recipe for a VO Manhattan or a Frozen Strawberry Margarita.
Next week I'm back on the floor, which is fine with me, but it was so nice to have a little break from the usual.
Saturday, November 3, 2007
NEVER serve a kid a soup spoon. You'll only have to go back and get a teaspoon.
ALWAYS serve Root Beer Floats in frosty mugs. They will explode if you don't. Put the spoon and straw in the cup before adding ice cream. You can also stir the root beer with a spoon or straw before adding the ice cream to avoid an explosion. ALWAYS serve these with extra napkins.
NEVER look at a martini when you are carrying it. For some reason, when you don't look at them, they are less likely to spill.
NEVER leave a customer eating buffalo wings without a drink.
ALWAYS make a big deal about kid's birthdays. I sometimes put candles in cheeseburgers, fries, etc. Parents eat it up - and they usually tip better for it.
NEVER let them see you sweat. You may be so far in the weeds you'll never get out, but keep that cheezy little smile on and people will forgive you for a few extra minutes in getting their drinks.
ALWAYS serve food first. Even if another table needs drinks. When your food comes up, it takes precidence.
I'm sure I'll think of more - Give me time - and a little more coffee.....
Although I have gotten to be pretty adept at reading people through their tone of voice and body language, there are just some things you have to come out and say.
We had some new cooks on in the kitchen tonight. Why they start new cooks on Fridays is beyond me, but so is the decision to put them there. Anyway, long story short, some of the dishes cam out a little different than usual. Nothing noticible to me, mind you, but different none the less.
So two different customers at two different tables tonight waited until their plates were cleaned and I was bringing the bill to tell me that they were dissapointed with their meals.
OK - YOU LICKED YOUR PLATE!! Management will not let me take anything that you actually ate off the bill!! Since I checked in with both tables several times, I was a little suprised to hear complaints at the end. One lady complained that there was too much butter in her seafood cassarole. (Which it clearly states on the menu is broiled in butter!) And the other man complained that his Prime Rib was too thin.
My response to both - "Ohhh, I am so sorry!!! Why didn't you tell me when there was something I could have done about it?"
What else could I say?
Thursday, November 1, 2007
This seems to be the question of the year. I have heard some rumors about a raise in pay for wait staff. Since so many of us make FAR LESS than minimum wage, (I personally make $2.63 per hour from my restaurant.) I can only imagine what this legislative act would do to my company's payroll. The company I work for has over 100 stores with probably 30+/- wait staff employed at each. Can you imagine how much more they would have to pay every hour? It makes me giggle every time I think about it!!
It still seems wrong to me that the company I work for expects me to complete sidework and daily cleaning, yet they don't actually pay me for any of it. They simply provide me with the opportunity to make money. Like I'm a private contractor or something....
So the question is, should we be fighting for more money? As much as I would love to receive more than $.26 in my weekly paycheck, how would that increase affect my tips? If people knew that the wait staff recently started making minimum wage, would they leave less in tips? Do they even know how much I really make now?
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Dine in or Take Out and Upset Waitress.
Each of the blogs have the same beginning to this story, but each has written their own ending. The bold part below is the same on each blog. What follows in my own ending.
One Christmas eve on the fourth of July, while Santa Clause cooked spare ribs, my uncle Sam delivered presents to all the good little waiters and waitresses. Then we opened for business.
All of the little waiters and waitresses gathered around the rocking chair in the staff room to listen to Mrs. Clause read them a cheerful story of Today's' Specials, Soup DuJour, and 86'd Items. After the story, the little group opened their presents to find new pens & Altoids. After each had tucked their new gear in their aprons, they all trooped out to the front to await the anticipated arrival of the customers.
The customers started to pour in shortly after 12. The wait staff stared in amazement as the dining room started to fill up with elves. All of the tables were crammed with tiny little customers with pointy ears peeking below their stocking caps. Pointy shoes dangled from legs that wouldn't reach the floor.
The waitstaff rushed out to take orders. Hot cocoa and chocolate chip cookies all around!
What?!? No, Cocoa???? No Cookies???? The riot began!
Santa came out of the kitchen to find tables overturned and silverware flying through the air. "What is this?" He boomed. But no one heard him over the commotion.
In a flash, Rudolph arrived to save the day. In his pack was cocoa and cookies. Soon, the porters turned the tables back up, the door servers sat everyone in their seats, and the wait staff arrived with steaming cocoa and gooey cookies.
Here's the thing, sometimes I'm in the mood to go above and beyond and PRY it out of them, but other times I'm not. If your meal is only "Pretty Good" then you need to help me out a little. Since I can't read your mind, please tell me EXACTLY what is wrong so I can fix it. If it is something I can't fix, I'll let you know, but most problems can be fixed pretty quickly.
Last night I had a customer with a "Pretty Good" meal. I really wasn't in the mood to pry, but it was a slow night and I had to make the most of every tip.
So I asked the obvious, "Only Pretty Good?" With that cheezy little smile on my face...
"Well, this is a really big salad, and you only gave me a little bit of dressing...."
Oh poor you!! Don't whine about it!! Just ask for more!!!
I deal with preschoolers all day, I don't want to deal with them all night, too!
It is company policy to give only one side of dressing, but if you ask for more in a nice voice and say "please" and "thank you" I would be glad to get you more!
Monday, October 29, 2007
Leaving your snotty tissues on the table for me to pick up is gross!!
Leaving your child's snotty tissues on the table for me to pick up is just gross, too!!
I know this is the season for colds and germs and all that grossness, but I don't want to get sick from you!!!
Do you really want me serving your food to you when you come in next week if I have the cold you gave me tonight???
In a rush out the door last week, I actually put on the wrong pair of work shoes.
During the day, I teach preschool - in HEELS. Not uncomfortable heels, but not the kind you would want to be running around a crowded kitchen in, either.
So, I wasn't paying attention to which pair of black shoes I slipped on, and I didn't realize what I had done until I got to work - 25 minutes away from my comfortable safety shoes.
My manager was already shorthanded, so she told me to go out there and be careful. Ummmm.....ok....
One of the other girls felt bad for me - after laughing for almost 30 minutes - and she let me take her early cut. But I still had to waitress for almost 3 hours in 2 inch heels. Not an experience I want to repeat again any time soon. As soon as my back stops aching, I may be able to laugh about this.....
So working for a huge corporation DOES have it's tiny little benefits...
On October 7, I reached my 5 year mark with the company I work for. That means that I am entitled to a 3 week paid vacation! How exciting, right??? Too bad I only make $2.63 an hour.....
Seriously, for the vacation days, they do pay us minimum wage. Not sure what that is, exactly, but I can guarantee it is still a lot less than what I normally make on any given night. So, I'm not REALLY taking a vacation. I have put in every day off since October 7 as individual vacation days. Which means that I have made approx. $25 per day on every one of my days off!! After taxes and whatever, I may actually have some Christmas shopping money!!
I know, I won't complain because this is actually the first waitressing job I've ever had with this benefit. Instead, I'll just enjoy the extra cash, and maybe a new pair of shoes....
Saturday, October 27, 2007
This case was true the other night when a party of 5 called ahead. We have 4-tops and 6-tops, and we usually put the parties of 5 in a 4-top with a chair at the end. Before we use the chair at the end, we ALWAYS ask if they mind.
The woman who called said they didn't mind, however when they showed up, the man was furious about it! He yelled at her, he yelled at the door server, and he yelled at the manager. Since my 6-top was the next to open up, they were quickly sat in my station. Yippie.
I've actually waited on them before, so I prepared myself for the worst. "Kill 'em with kindness", right?
So, I made sure that NOTHING went wrong with this table. Absolutely NOTHING. But, like I said before, some people need to complain about everything.
His only complaint about dinner? The vegetable dishes were too hot. ARE YOU KIDDING?
"Here, touch them! They'll probably burn your fingers."
OK - If they'll probably burn my fingers, I don't want to touch them, but...
"I'm actually the one who picked the up and put the on the plate. Maybe I just don't have any feeling left in my fingertips."
I thought his wife would choke on her food when I said that. She managed to hide a smile, and he stopped complaining.
She signed the credit card slip at the end. Thanks for the 25% tip!!
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
The service was exceptional.
They were one of my first tables, so I wasn't busy yet and I was still in a good mood.
The food came out fast and cooked perfectly.
There was nothing wrong with dinner....
$45 bill - $6.50 tip.
Discover Card is an ongoing drama. More Tales Of Discover Card...
I was tagged by this award months ago, and I was really slow at finding the blogs I wanted to suggest for this. Well, I finally named the 5 blogs that I would like to pass the Thinking Blogger Award along to.
Here is the blogger that tagged me:
Here are the 5 Blogs:
(Please note that as a bitter waitress, I have a special place in my heart for the type of humor that most of these bloggers display...)
Will Work For Tips
Dine In Or Take Out
The Insane Waiter
THE RULES ARE: Congratulations, you won a Thinking Blogger Award:
Should you choose to participate, please make sure you pass this list of rules to the blogs you are tagging. The participation rules are simple:
1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think.
2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the memo
3. Optional: Proudly display the 'Thinking Blogger Award' with a link to the post that you wrote (there is an alternative silver version if gold doesn't fit your blog).
Soo...sometimes you see a person come in the restaurant and it is like seeing a train wreck. You can't tear your eyes away, and you HAVE to tell someone. Usually, the nice girl inside me tells me to keep my little comments to myself, but the bitter waitress has taken over.
"Table 41, facing the front. Is that her REAL hair?"
"Biggest boobs I've ever seen! Put those thngs away!"
"Who wears leopard print hot pants?"
"Doesn't she have a mirror at home?"
Once I started sharing some of my sightings, I quickly realized that I wasn't alone. In fact, there is a whole group of us, just watching the customers and pointing out irritating characteristics. And they call themselves The Mean Girls.
So if you decide to go to a restaurant wearing a bleach blond wig, leopard print hot pants and a shirt cut so low your boobs fall out, please be aware that there will be plenty of waitresses there to comment on your obvious lack of fashion sense.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
SOOO - Every Friday night they come in, sit in the table nearest the restroom, and order baked schrod - Lunch size, no matter what time they arrive. They will each eat alone because they take turns using the restroom, hence the names. On a usual night, they will each dissapear for 20-30 minutes at least 3 times.
Well, as you can imagine, the Men's room stall MIGHT run out of toilet peper. Poor Mr. was in desperate need when he came flying out of the restroom straight into the loudest waitress on the floor. He grabbed her arm, and yelled for everyone nearby to hear, "YOU NEED TOILET PAPER IN THE MEN'S ROOM RIGHT AWAY!!" She actually managed to keep a straight face as she RAN to the manager to get the needed toilet paper.
I am sure they are very sweet people, but I can't seem to get over the thought of WHY they are in our restaurant every Friday - and where do they go all those other nights?
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Well apparently MY restaurant doesn't have the right Friend List.
We had two women come in last Friday. Each sat down (actually within 10 feet of each other), and waited for their friend to come in. We were aware that they were both waiting for a friend, but the 2nd to come in had walked around the restaurant to look, and did not see the other woman. Believe me, we certainly pointed out that there was another woman waiting!
Well, when they finally realized what they had done, the women were so upset, they yelled at both the door servers and the waitress.
"Why did you let us sit apart for that long?!? We should have been sat together!!"
Right... 'Cuz you were in the Friend List...
Apparently one of the other waitresses on my shift had a party of 4 women. All dining out for their once a week binge, all drinking wine faster than it could be delivered, and all taking advantage of the poor girl who had the misfortune to wait on them.
When the time came to order, 3 ordered meals, and the other handed the waitress a frozen Jenny Craig meal and asked her to heat it up and bring it out when the other meals were delivered to the table...
Are you kidding?!?
So what would you do? I thought about it, but the truth is, I probably would have done the very same thing that their polite, sweet waitress did. Take the meal and warm it up. She could have said "no" but without manager backing on this one, she certainly would have lost out on a tip.
No win situation... And since we are trying to get paid from every table... We tend to bend over backward to satisfy. "We can do anything" is a joke around my restaurant, because "the managers will make us do anything".
Love restaurant life.
Jenny Craig, anyone?
Sunday, September 30, 2007
I served a flavored martini last night that came complete with a Sugar Rimmer. Yumm!! It was one of my favorite drinks, too.
So I checked back on the lady to see how she was liking it. "This Martini has SALT on the rim!" Riiiiight~~
"Actually, only the sugar is dyed purple. We keep the salt white."
"Well, I can taste SALT"
And who argues with a customer? So, I explained the situation to the bartender. We all rolled our eyes, and a new martini was made.
I brought it over to the table and apologized again for the salt on her rim.
After a few more minutes, I returned to check on the new martini, and the new SUGAR on the rim.
"Oh, this is fantastic. That you so much for making me a new one and using the sugar instead."
The funny thing about people is that you can make them believe almost anything. We didn't change the sugar. Her new martini had the EXACT SAME sugar on it as the first one did. Since the salt is actually much larger and whiter than the purple sugar, we would have noticed it right away. We double checked the sugar before applying it to her new glass, and there was none.
Well, I'm back with the Pepsi, and I have a little Jack to put in it as well.
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
I have had the training. I studied the recipe books until my eyes crossed, and I am ready!!
This SHOULD be an exciting night!!!
So how come I feel a little guilty about working tonight?
Here's the REAL story. The reason I am working tonight is beacuse I was added as the third bartender. The extra help put in place by the additional business we still haven't benefited from.
Since the restaurant only pays bartenders $3.65, - I know, I get a raise!!! - my actual pay will come from the two bartenders already on. Yep, at the end of the night, they pool their tips, then figure out how many hours each worked and everybody gets paid the same rate per hour.
Now they have to pay me too. So, if we don't make any extra money because of all that extra business, they are basically paying me out of the money that they would be taking home to pay bills with. To make matters even worse, I know how much they have each counted on thir Wed night money to make up for other nights.
So here's my question - Why does the restaurant get to decide to hire extra help, then expect their current employees to pay them? I guess it just doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me.......
Monday, August 6, 2007
This past week my restaurant was remodeled.
As a group, we are vehiemently opposed to change. In fact, it generally pisses us all off. But they changed our restaurant anyway!
For the most part, the change is actually a good thing. The new system for sending orders into the kitchen is amazing. Ticket times have been cut in half - Always a great thing.
I really do love the look of the new dining room. It is a far more professional decor, and the designers paid very close attention to every detail. The customers have offered some great feedback as well. It is well liked.
The down side - They put more servers on the floor to accomodate the additional business we are expected to receive. This means that my 4 table station is now cut down to 3 tables. And this weekend, we didn't receive the additional business. So when I got home with my cash in hand on both Friday and Saturday nights, I had about half of what I would have normally made. After an entire week off for the remodel and training, this was not encouraging.
The worst part is that everyone else is excited about the additional business. (Truth is we actually sold $2000 over last year for Friday night - Probably went to take out - NOT a big deal to me.)
The kitchen staff is raving about how busy they are. They are all getting more hours because they have been over staffed, too.
The managers are excited about the additional business because they are going to get larger bonuses.
The porters are loving this because there are now more of us to tip them.
The only people losing money are the waitstaff. And they still continue to pay us $2.63 per hour.
They keep promising that next week will be better. We'll see - and I'll keep you posted!
But I'm back.
So if you are looking for any handmade crafts - Please feel free to join us:
And if you are looking for some waitressing laughs, come back soon!!
Thanks for your understanding!!!
My father's reply - "Into the Black Hole in the Kitchen."
Have you ever noticed that sometimes when you really need a waitress, yours is no where to be found? Well, as you can imagine, waitresses are real people, too. And sometimes they may disappear for long stretches of time with absolutely no explanation at all.
I guess that's kind of what happened to me over the last month. I have a ton of explanations, but really, who wants to hear them? When I arrive at a table, I don't go into details about the spill or crash or restroom break or helping a team member that kept me away. I just smile my little smile and pretend nothing happened.
So, I won't bore you with the details. I have a ton of stories from the last month. Some of them may explain my absence and others will make you laugh.
Either way, I have returned, and I brought your dessert with me......
Saturday, July 7, 2007
My ride back toward the city wasn't too bad. I knew about a traffic back up on my usual route, so I took a secondary road and hit the highway a little further up. Again, not a problem.
I was just sitting in my car, listening to my tunes on the radio. Heard a couple of songs I could sing along to, so I cranked the volume. This is where things started to get a little crazy. Because the music was so loud, I didn't hear my phone ringing. And ringing. And ringing. 27 missed calls in all.
When I pulled into the restaurant parking lot and shut off the radio, I finally heard the call. My husband was frantic on the other end. Apparently our son had fallen and cut his head open. He was probably going to need to go to the ER.
I never even got out of the car. I just turned around in the parking lot and left. I called them as I left and tried to explain my situation as calmly as possible. (I probably didn't make a lot of sense.)
Sooooo - I spent most of the evening with my daughter while my husband and son sat in an ER waiting room. 12 stickers, a new teddy bear, and 3 stitches to his head later they finally arrived home around 11:30 PM.
The joys of living with a 3 year old.....
Friday, July 6, 2007
Thank you to heavenabove for Tagging me for this award.
I started writing as a way to get out of my bad days, and to know that I have readers out there who enjoy my rantings is just icing on the cake.
I love to make people laugh.
Thank you for this award.
As part of the award acceptance, I get to "Tag" 5 other bloggers out there who make me think. I have never been one to make hasty decisions, so it may take me some time to pour through some of my favorite bloggers and make a decision.
To be perfectly honest - One of the first blogs I would have tagged would have been the one that tagged me. Wildlife Alive . It is an amazingly thought provoking look at how the world of humans and animals collide. It is a very inspirational blog to read.
Thank you again,
I have the insane ability of judging the type of person sitting in front of me. I can usually tell as people are being sat in my station how hard they are going to make me run and how much they are going to complain. And I am usually right.
There are a few things that can't help but notice.
People who talk to the door server are generally nice people out for a good time. These people will be easy and fun to wait on.
People who don't smile as they are being sat are already in a bad mood. If the smallest thing goes wrong during their meal, it will be made into a major disaster.
When I greet a table, some people don't even say "hello". When I ask how people are doing and receive "Water with Lemon" as a response, I can tell that this is going to be a long hour.
ok - now those are just some small examples. Obviously they are not the only telltale signs. However, these are the first things I notice.
As a silly little game, actually more of a defense mechanism against that let down feeling you get when someone leaves a bad tip for no reason, I try to guess the tip amount before I go to clear a table. 95% of the time I am right.
I try really hard not to be judgemental, and I greet everyone the same no matter what sort of feeling my gut gives me, but people are just a little too predictable.
I'm not sure exactly where our regular customers had gone, but we didn't see too many of them over the weekend. Instead we once again had large groups of weird people. The tips were insane. I had a large group that ran me into the weeds leave me $5.46 on a $68 check - and then I had an older couple who were the sweetest and nicest people to wait on leave me $11 on a $26. Nothing made sense.
I waited on a gentleman who asked me to make a suggestion between the "Yucky Chicken" and the Fish & Chips. I thought he was joking and told him he should definitely go with the "Yucky Chicken". Only to realize that he was pointing to the "TERIAKI" Chicken and because he had a fairly thick accent, I didn't understand. Open mouth - Insert foot... But he loved the chicken - and thanked me for the suggestion.
The high point of the weekend - On Monday night our town fireworks were set off in the ball field not too far from our restaurant. I was working, and we could all hear the booms. Since almost everyone in town was there and not eating in our dining room, we really weren't too busy. So all the servers, the manager, and several of the cooks went out into the parking lot to enjoy the fireworks. It was a bonding moment.
I love fireworks. I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday!!
(And to my regulars - PLEASE COME BACK FROM VACATION SOON!!)
Friday, June 29, 2007
My restaurant is gearing up for the upcoming remodel. (Rebranding is the official term) The last week has been full of little suprises that are supposed to make us more prepared for our new grand opening.
Most of these little suprises involve moving items that we really need to be able to find in a hurry. The crackers were moved on Tuesday. I opened 5 bags before someone finally told me that all of the bags I had opened were moved to a counter at the front of the restaurant.....OKKKKK.......
And the Mayo and Caesar dressing are GONE!! Luckily the cooks have been helping out with this one. None of the waitresses seem to know where they may have gone. Hopefully, they'll put them back out before too long.
As a group, we are visiously opposed to change. We all complain ceaselessly when the schedule is changed. We don't take kindly to newbies. We certainly don't like changes in management. And now they are about to change our entire restaurant?!?!? Needless to say, we are all having some issues as the big day aproaches.
Perhaps it is a good decision to introduce some of the changes slowly. I can't imagine what the grand opening is going to be like as it is. Thank goodness I have the night off. I'll come in to chaos on the second night, and everyone will share their horror stories.
(Should make for some interesting blogs!!)
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
At the end of the night, when I am starting to feel a little hunger rumble through my belly, I usually pick through the kid's menu or the lunch menu to find a small meal to order. I do get a 50% discount on all food I order, but I just can't seem to justify ordering a $17 meal every night.
Well, every now and then the kitchen will end up with extra food or something made wrong, or some other mistake, and they are usually nice enough to share it with the waitstaff.
The last few shifts that I have worked have been a smorgasbord of yummy mistakes. Saturday we had the entire back table covered with everything from an overcooked order of Potato Skins to an entire take out order that no one showed up to claim! We all ate for free that night!
Last night we had another feast! One of the new cooks overcooked a Filet Mignon. So, he decided to chop it up and make a quesadilla for us for dinner. (Way beyond the rules, but we certainly weren't going to rat him out!!) After the most delicious Quesadilla I've ever eaten, I got to finish off some of the broken chocolate chip cookies. Yummmm!!
Thank you to the wonderful cooks!! Everything was delicious!!
Last night I waited on a dad and his daughter. They were a very engaging table, and I found myself locked in conversation with them.
Their food was late coming out of the kitchen, but they seemed truly unruffeled. I apologized as much as I could without being obnoxious, and this was where the conversation started.
Once the meal came out, everything was fine. In fact, they were actually so full from the appetizer that they ended up wrapping most of the meal.
They had a $50 check. 20% of this would have been $10. The could have left $8, still an acceptable tip, or $10, a generous tip. Instead, they left me $11.
What a difference a dollar makes! I would certainly have been happy with $8 or $10, but $11! This meant that I had done a great job, and it brought a smile to my face. Not a bad way to boost a night that was starting to feel the stress of a kitchen on the verge of crashing...
Thank you very much for the extra dollar!! You made my night!
Monday, June 18, 2007
- On any given night, I am assigned 4 tables.
- The only money that I will make throughout the night comes from these 4 tables.
- Tables generally turn approximately once an hour.
- If a table has pitched a tent, the table they are at is no longer available for future customers.
- If the table does not turn, I will make no extra money from it.
- This potentially cuts my profit for the night by 1/4, assuming that only one table is camping.
How camping affects other customers:
- Campers hold up tables that could be used for customers who have had to wait.
- Patrons on the wait list are quoted times based on the assumption that all tables will eat and leave.
- Now, a quote may be over because of campers.
- Some customers may leave rather than wait for a table that is not moving.
This is how this plays out in my bank roll.
In my first hour, all 4 tables order food, eat, and leave when finished. If the restaurant is on a wait, the potential for my second hour is very much like the first. However, this time around, all 4 tables order food, eat, and only 3 leave when finished. I am now working 3 tables. The night will continue like this until the campers decide to vacate their comfortable seats and move along. Meaning that I will miss 2, 3, 4, or more tables and the money that they may have left.
Should they leave an additional tip for taking up my table so long?
Some may argue that because I only refilled their sodas and coffee throughout the additional 3 hours that I should not be tipped beyond the 20% dictated by their check amount. But what if they only have a $35 check?
This is an issue that we face every night. My advice, move to the bar. Luckily, my restaurant offers a full bar with private seats available for people who want to stay all night.
**And Thank you to the two women who sat for 3 hours Friday with a $15 bill.
The $15 tip was greatly appreciated!!!***
Thursday, June 14, 2007
While waiting for their meals to arrive, they somehow managed to throw popcorn so far that they almost hit another table. I was almost impressed. When their meals arrived, they all seemed top settle down a little. They made it through the meal with only one spill. I was definitely impressed.
As I was starting to clean up after they were finished, they decided to order dessert. No problem, right? We offer a Chocolate Fudge Cake which is one of the most popular desserts available. (Chocolate cake, ice cream, hot fudge...Who could resist?!?)
"I'll take the Chocolate Fudge Packer Cake." Now, keep in mind, I had already had a very rough night. I was not in the right frame of mind to be taking any more crap from a 15 year old. One of his friends spoke my thoughts, "Grow Up."
With the most disgusted look I could muster, I left the table. I made the cake and brought it back. When I slammed it down in the middle of the table, the group ordered another one, only this time they ordered it correctly.
One of my managers had overheard the entire exchange. As the group was leaving, he caught the boy and pulled him aside. They had a little discussion, and I could see them head over toward me. Sure enough, my manager was making him apologize. The junior high teacher in me couldn't help feeling some compassion - and pointing out the lesson in this - Don't say things like that because you could seriously offend someone.
I'm pretty sure that kid grew up a little that night. I may never know, though, I think he's still a little too scared to show his face in our restaurant again.
As usual, I was late to work. I'm usually 30-40 minutes late every day because I wait for my husband to get home from work to take the kids. (Another reason why I love my job!! They don't care if I'm late.)
When I finally arrived, dinner was in full swing. I was double sat before my apron strings were even tied. I jumped on the floor and greet the first, second, and by then third parties with all of the pent up energy I had gained from spending a rainy day stuck inside the house with my kids.
Everybody was out for a drink and a party tonight. People were in a good mood. I was actually having a great time! The kitchen was ON tonight. Not one mistake. Food was served hot, drinks were served cold, and we were slammin'!!!
About half way through the dinner rush, one of the other waitresses came down with a stomach bug and had to spend some quality time in our bathroom. (I'll leave out the details.) Our manager was a little nervous about going short handed on a busy night, but he really didn't have a choice. One other waitress and I stepped up. Our stations were on either side of our sick coworker's. We split her station in half and shared the extra tables. (Who wouldn't step up? WAY more money to be made when there are empty stations.)
So we ran with 6 tables instead of 4. This rarely happens because you really have to be on your game to serve that many customers efficiently. At one point, I had two parties of 8, both with birthdays that needed desserts and singing, a party of 5, and a party of 2. I thought I might go a little crazy - and the mess left in the wake of all of this was a little overwhelming. But we made it through, and we had the extra cash to show for it.
One of my very last tables of the night was a table of two young men. They ordered beers, an appetizer and meals. I was in such a great mood at this point, I was joking around with them and having a great time. When they left, they left me a 35% tip. I was so excited that I almost missed the phone number and name written on the check! They were very cute and WAAAY younger than I am. If I wasn't a happily married woman, I may actually have called!
Thank goodness tomorrow is my day off - I need some sleep....
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
This post is inspired by a question on one of the comments I received not too long ago.
There are several types of professionals that our culture expects customers to tip. Each performs a different type of job and receives a different amount of pay from the company they work for.
I have my own personal policies for who I tip, how much I tip, and why. I am curious to find out how others treat the same situations.
I never tip less than 20%. If a waitress has been exceptional, I will tip 30% or more.
WHY? I know that waitresses only make $2.63 per hour. If they do not receive tips, they go home empty handed. The tip I leave is the only form of payment for their time.
I also know that the extra $2 I may leave means very little to me when I am eating out, but when I am the waitress, that extra $2 means far more.
Workers at Buffet Style Restaurants -
Since most of the meal is self serve, I only leave a 10-15% tip on the table for the busser who has to clean up the mess. However, if there is a waitress who brought my drinks, condiments, extra plates, etc. I would still leave 20%
WHY? Out of habit and politeness. If I had everything I needed, I leave a larger tip.
I usually leave 15-20%
WHY? Even though I know that hairdressers make more than minimum wage, I still leave a larger tip. If I happen to find a hairdresser I like, I know I will be back. I want to get another good haircut, and I am willing to pay for it.
Coffee Shop Drive Through Workers -
I usually leave the change from my order or at least $.50.
WHY? After a lengthy discussion with a coworker about this very topic, she made me realize that there are a ton of jobs out there expecting tips. However, out of all of the jobs, waitresses are the only ones still making less than minimum wage. Since the other professions actually get paid by the companies that they work for, they should not receive a standard 18-20% tip. (However, I frequent the same coffee shop and I order a very distinct coffee made a very unique way. They know me - and after I started leaving a little more every time I went in, my coffee started coming out perfect every time.)
Gas Station Attendants -
I actually started pumping my own gas so I wouldn't have to deal with this issue. I really don't know the right answer.
If it is really snowy and freezing cold out, I will generally go to the Full Service Island. I ask for $9 in gas and hand the guy a $10.
WHY? Because it's freezing and I feel bad for watching him as I sit in my heated car.
There are several other types of people that I have tipped on either a one time basis or at Christmas. (Mailman, garbage men, babysitters at the gym, etc.) For the most part, I tip very generously. Good tippers tend to stand out and they are usually remembered. They also get better service the next time around. This is a fact that I can attest to from both sides of the tipping dilemma.
If you have a tipping theory to share, please feel free. I am certainly interested in seeing other points of view.
People are usually very particular about the way that they like their meat cooked. If I am going to go out and pay really good money for a steak, I want it to be cooked the way I like it. (Medium rare - The thought of eating a well done steak just kills my appetite.)
But here's the catch. My idea of medium rare comes from the way that the cooks at my current restaurant prepare our steaks. Each restaurant has a different standard. The temperature names are still the same, the general appearance is still pretty close, but there can be a slight difference of opinion when the final product is brought out.
I once waited on a table of women who all wanted their steaks medium well. Not a problem, I placed the orders, brought drinks and appetizers, and got their table ready for the upcoming meals. Then I brought out the steaks. As always, I asked the customers to cut into their steaks to make sure that each was cooked to their liking. Two of the women said they looked perfect. The third woman complained her steak was undercooked. She had ordered medium well, and there was still pink in her steak.
Here is where the differences start. To the cooks in my restaurant, medium well offers a hot, slightly pink center. If you want no pink at all, you need to order well. Most people associate well done with burned to a crisp. We call that Extra Well. Just a slight difference that makes a BIG difference in the end. (This is why we have the temperature chart - with pictures!! - in the menu.)
The woman started to argue with me about the steak being undercooked. (Did I mention that she was the only one at the table with this problem?!?) I started to explain that our idea of medium well was slightly less done than what she was used to. I apologized repeatedly and told her we could fix this problem in about 5 minutes. "I know how to order a steak! Don't tell me how to order a steak! I wanted medium well!! This is NOT medium well!" She got so loud and belligerent that I sent a manager over to apologize again. He received the same treatment.
We finally got the steak out well done, but we let her think it was medium well. And now she wasn't hungry any more. "You may as well just throw the whole thing out." She just wanted another beer.
Our town has some unusual policies regarding alcohol consumption. One of them is that guests are not allowed to have more than two drinks without eating food. (We allow customers to bend the rule when they order because MOST of our customers actually do eat the food they have ordered.) Since this would be her 5th beer without eating anything, I was not allowed to serve it. Since she had been so rude to me anyway, I have to admit, it felt kind of good to shut her off.
The group left soon after, and both of the other women made a point to come and apologize for their friend.
I hope my friends never have to apologize for any of my behavior!
This is a common source of frustration for many of our servers, because many of the other servers come by and leave cups on top of the dishwasher for others to take care of.
One waitress in particular is famous for getting upset about having to do all the cups. She has recently gotten much more vocal about it. In fact, a few nights ago, I brought my own cups to the dishwasher to find a little note on top that read, "DO YOUR OWN CUPS!!" It was signed "The BI#$%" I knew who it was. And since I knew that she knows I always do my own cups, I couldn't resist messing with her.
I took all of the cups out of the dishwasher and left them on top. Then I waited for her to come into the galley. She took one look at the dishwasher, and her face turned red. Her eyes even turned red!! And she just kept walking.
"What - not even going to say anything about the cups?" Once she realized that it was me who had done it, she laughed. We have a secret bond over the cups. In fact, it is usually the two of us who end up doing most of them. And apparently that gives us the right to pick on each other.
I know she'll get me back eventually, and I'm a little nervous.
This silly little quote has been written on our staff bulletin board for so long, I barely notice it any more. However, tonight the real meaning of those words became unbelievably clear.
Tonight started like any other Tuesday night. A small waste of my time. A little money being made, but not enough to pay the mortgage. We were not very busy at all. So the manager started cutting some of the waitresses.
He cut 1 & 2. And no one came in. The waitress in station 3 was training a new girl and they had a ton of paperwork to finish, so he let them go. And no one came in. So he cut station 4. Station 9 is usually cut after 4, and that station had no tables and was next to be sat. I knew the waitress in that station wanted to leave, so I asked that he cut her, too. Now there were only 3 of us left.
And people started coming in. We got a party of 7, a party of 10, two parties of 5, and three parties of 4, all in about 30 minutes. We held it together, and managed to get everyone fed and happy with no problems at all. (Although, I did think the manager might have a small stroke before the night was over.)
Once people started to leave, we looked around the restaurant to realize that we were 10 minutes away from closing time and we had a MESS to clean up. Usually, we clean our own tables, do our own sidework, and finish all of our own table maintenance. However, tonight was a different story. I cleaned tables while another girl did sidework for both of us. The third girl want around and did all of the table maintenance. Because we were working together, none of us were really stressed about the fact that we had way too much to do this late at night. And we actually got it all done quicker than we ever imagined.
Now if we could only get the others to help out during the entire shift. What a great atmosphere and easier work environment we could create!
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
"I don't mean to be confusing, but could I have the baked potato instead of the fries?"
We get comments like this all the time. Each waitress has her own reasons for choosing this profession, and many waitresses are either in school or have already been to school. In the restaurant I currently work at, almost half have a college degree or some college education. Many of us are mothers who have chosen to work evenings so we can be home with our little ones during the day.
I fall into this category. I have a Bachelor's in education and am a certified teacher. I taught junior high for several years before giving it up to become a stay at home mom. Needing to get out of the house and earn a little spending money, I started waitressing part time.
Waitressing is a good fall back career. It's good money, and there are always restaurant jobs around. I have waitressed on and off since I was 15. What other career would give me the opportunity to work less than 20 hours a week and still bring home over $500? Not only is the money great, I also have the freedom I need to be at home during the day with my children. If I need a night off, I simply get another waitress to cover my shift. No questions asked.
So, the next time a waitress arrives at your table, dispel all those stereotypical assumptions and get ready for an encounter with an Educated Waitress.
We talk about it with each other and we talk about it with our regular customers. It's definitely a topic of conversation because there are so many stories associated with these trips. (Who won, who lost, who had to get out and push the bus off the highway when it broke down last year...)
This year, one of our bartenders was talking about the many stories with one of her regulars. He handed her a $20 and said, "Bet it for me, if we win, I'll split the money with you." Everyone laughed, she put the money in her purse and went on the trip the next night.
Well, while there, this bartender played and had a great time. Finally, she told the people around her "OK, this is Tim's $20." She put the $20 in AND WON $1000!!!!!
When she came back, she had all of the money ready to give to the customer. All $1000. I wish I could have seen the look on his face when she gave it to him. She had split the money into several envelopes each with a label for suggestions of how to spend the money inside. (A night out NOT at our restaurant, a spa day for his wife, etc.)
After getting over the initial disbelief of the situation, he held true to his word and split the money with his new favorite bartender.
Monday, June 11, 2007
Take this dining experience for example.
A couple goes into a restaurant for a dinner out.
They called ahead and arrived 15 minutes before the quoted time. However, the table is not ready yet.
***So people start yelling, and The Blame Game begins.
Is it the hostess's fault for not correctly guessing how long the previous guests will take?
Is it the customer's fault for arriving early?
Is it the waitress's fault for not speeding the meal up fast enough to turn the table?
Is it the kitchen's fault for not cooking fast enough?
Is it the manager's fault for scheduling an inexperienced hostess on a busy night?
Is it the company's fault for setting the policies that determine the quoted times given customers?
Is it the town's fault for installing that extra stoplight that allowed the customers to arrive ahead of schedule?
****I think you get my point.
The same game will be played over and over throughout the night. Why did the drinks take so long? Why did the food take so long? Why were there no walnuts or extra peppers? Why, why, why?!? And more importantly, whose fault is it?
My question is this - Why does it matter who screwed up? What if NOBODY screwed up? And things just went slightly wrong because of an unavoidable situation??
When I go to work at night, I go in with a positive attitude. I greet every guest with a warm smile and a friendly demeanor. I have been waitressing long enough to be able to anticipate the needs of most of my guests, and I take care of them each. This is why most of my guests frequently ask for me when being seated - with many of them willing to wait longer for a table in my section.
Sometimes things happen that cannot be avoided. When these situations arise, I am always available to assist and correct the situation as soon as possible. The stations in my restaurant are set up to be within view of one another, so we are never far from any table.
The point of this little tirade is simply that sometimes, no matter how hard we try, things do not go perfectly. On these occasions, it is far more mature to fix the problem with an understanding attitude than it is to start placing blame on anyone.
And I do realize that not all waitress are blame free. In fact, I work with several that are new and still learning how to care for their tables. But to assume that all waitresses are going to give you bad service simply because you had one (or two or three) bad experiences is not fair to your next waitress. Believe it or not, some of us know what we are doing, and we will try our best to let you see that.
Sunday, June 10, 2007
As I read through the comments, I realized that this person actually thought I was serious in many of my posts. Since people that know me - and most of the people who don't know me and have already commented - know that I have a joking personality, I assumed that the topics and conversations mentioned here would be taken with the same attitude I wrote them. Just letting off a little steam...
See, waitresses (and many others in the customer service industry) have to be very nice to very rude people. We have absolutely no ways to respond to defend ourselves when a customer decides to take their bad day out on us. We smile - we try our best to make things better - and in the end, we are left with a feeling of bitterness for not standing up for ourselves.
This blog is my own way of getting back at some of the customers who I have encountered over the years. Although I would never speak to customers with the attitude displayed in many of these posts, I THINK many of the thoughts that are posted here - as do many of the other servers I have met and worked with.
So, if there ever was a concern that there is an uncaring, "LAZY" waitress on the loose, you can rest assured. I am simply a very good waitress with a very dry sense of humor that is rarely seen by customers.
The purpose of this blog is to offer myself and others in the wait staff profession with a "customer-attitude" free space to express frustrations with the jobs that we work every day.
Everyone needs a place to vent - and this is mine.
So to all the others out there with a tough job and a sense of humor - ENJOY!!
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
I have been training to be a bartender!
I was so excited at first! This is an opportunity to try out something different and make a little extra $$$, too. And the training started... I needed to put in 5 training shifts. No problem, right??
Well, I don't make tips when training, I make $7.50 an hour. Which, at first, didn't seem like a bad deal. Plus, I get a free meal. Then I got my first paycheck....
Since the restaurant doesn't pay me enough hourly to cover the taxes I owe based on my tips claimed, all of my bar training pay was taken in taxes. So I was basically working for a free meal. Since I still needed to work my regular shifts to pay my bills, the extra shifts started to wear me out. I knew I was working for something worthwhile, and if I wasn't going to get paid for my training, I was at least going to eat well. The free filet mignon was amazing!!
Sunday, May 27, 2007
We had huge parties of unusual groups of people.
One party of 14 stood in the main aisle of our restaurant posing for their waitress to take a picture, while another group switched seats so many times I wasn't sure I got all their orders taken. Another small table of three ordered three soups, three appetizers, and three meals - only to realize they had way to much food, and they ended up having everything wrapped and taking two large bags home.
People are funny, especially when it comes to celebrating.
Have a great holiday!!
Thursday, May 24, 2007
As servers, we are nothing more than couriers.
We order drinks, and bring the drinks that are made for us to the table. If the drink is not made correctly...well, I didn't make it. Would you like me to bring it back so the bartender can make you another one?
We order food, and we wait for the kitchen to make it. Then we bring it out. We don't cook it. We are not responsible for how it tastes. We are not responsible for the forgotten walnuts, or the extra peppers. We are only responsible for the delivery.
Do you yell at the postman when he brings bills? No, because he is only a courier. Why are you yelling at me about your overcooked steak?!? I only delivered it.
She ordered, and I sent the order in to the kitchen. When her medium rare steak came out medium rare, she complained that it was undercooked. So I sent it back. When I came back with it about 5 minutes later, she started in on me. "I hope you didn't leave this steak on the grill that whole time! It is going to be so overcooked I won't even be able to eat it!" Already frustrated with the situation, my only response was "I'm sorry, I don't cook here, I just bring things out when the kitchen gives them to me." The steak turned out to be all right - and in the end, she left me $2.55. And the waitress who got my party of 8 got $32
Thank you so much.
For the most part, as wait staff, we treat everyone the same. We get your drinks, get your food, and we do it all with a cheezy little smile on our faces. We have to, that's how we get paid. And since we don't always know how much we'll get paid, we usually try to be as efficient as possible.
But if we recognize you, and we know that you are going to leave a crappy tip, we are far less likely to make those extra efforts on your behalf.
Tonight I got to wait on some of our restaurant regulars who are known for being cheap pains in the &**. They don't order their kid a kid's meal, they feed him the free popcorn that is offered. Occasionally, they may get him a side of pasta, but not always. And they order him a kid size drink, even though he will have 4 refills. (2 tonight - I just wasn't in the mood to make that many trips.) And every time you bring something to the table, they will find one more thing to need. Since I know that I am getting $5, no matter what the bill is, I decided that tonight I would focus on some of my other tables. Tables that will leave a decent tip if given the right service.
I'm pretty sure that my restaurant manager would have a heart attack if he ever read this, but it's the truth. If you are going to be a restaurant regular, and you would like to receive awesome service on a regular basis, learn to tip.
Sunday, May 20, 2007
Actually, I was having a really great night. Tables were turning, everybody I waited on was NICE, and people were throwing money at me. I always like that....
All night long, I was able to keep a steady pace, with tables turning as others were eating. It was actually kind of laid back compared to some of the other nights when I find myself in the weeds.
The night just seemed to roll along pretty uneventfully.
Finally, the push started to slow down, and the MOD started to send some of the waitresses home. Since I was one of the closers, I was in it for the long haul. Once there were just four of us left on the floor, we started to get busy again.
I had a party of 5 who couldn't make up their minds on their order, a party of five who didn't speak much English, and a party of 2 who needed their app plates removed from the table. As I grabbed the plates, I didn't pay attention to how the customers had stacked them. BAD MOVE!! As I turned, the stack they had handed me started to shift. A small dish of marinara was pushed off the pile and went flying through the main aisle of the restaurant.
I ran out back to find a porter to get a mop. As I reached the galley, everyone started laughing. I had marinara sauce from my waist down. So for the next 5 minutes, all tables were on hold as two other girls tried to help me get all of the marinara off my pants. EWWWW!!! I never thought to bring back up pants...
By the way, the couple who stacked the plates left me a 35% tip. Thank you!
Saturday, May 12, 2007
Station 9 is a wasteland. It is at the back of the restaurant - as far away from the door servers' podium as possible. As you can imagine, this means that they are FAR less likely to seat station 9 if they have a table in station 2, 3 or 4, which are within sight of the podium.
This is a problem that we have complained about several times, but still nothing gets done. In fact, one of the managers was even at the door tonight, and it was worse than ever. Since the door server who was on tonight - and every Friday - doesn't like to scout for tables, the server in Station 9 actually has to go to the podium to get customers herself. Wow - good thing I wasn't BUSY!
I could tell that tonight was going badly, but when the sales slip came out, and we had to tip out, my sales were over $300 less that the two servers at the front of the restaurant. Believe me, it's quite a difference in my tips, too.
Oh well, what can I do? Good thing I'm in station 2 next week!
Thursday, May 10, 2007
On a very busy night, we order drinks and go to the bar to pick them up. Our bar staff is great, they usually have one bartender working service, so our drinks are ready within 3 - 5 minutes. However, sometimes it takes the waitresses a minute to get there to pick them up. What usually ends up happening is a log jam of drinks on the service bar with tags stuck to the sides of most of them. MOST of them, sometimes the tags fall off... And sometimes the drinks look a lot alike.....
Sooo, on this one VERY busy night, one waitress ordered a child's milkshake. (Made at the bar) and another waitress ordered a chocolate rasberry (also made at the bar, but containing Chambord, Stoli Raz, and Creme de Cocoa. - Delicious, but I wouldn't want it served to my 5 yo. See where this is going?)
Yep, you guessed it, the waitress looking for the milkshake came up and took the WRONG drink, served it to a little girl, and went on her way. Luckily, the little girl didn't like the drink, otherwise she may have made it through the whole thing without anyone noticing. But once she complained, her mother tried it and called the waitress over right away. Thank goodness for everyone involved that the family was very understanding. (Although the manager DID buy their entire meal.) This one could have ended very badly.
OH one more point to make this nightmare even worse... The mom at the table worked for the Assistant DA in our area. What a heart attack.
Last Saturday night, I got to witness a new nightmare first hand.
My restaurant has recently added many new items to the menu. One is a sandwich with several items on it and a new "kicking" mayo. So the customer orders it, and all seems to be going fine. So the food comes out, and everyone starts eating. When the waitress came back to check on everyone, the customer with the new sandwich asked her if there was pesto on it. Apparently he was severely allergic to pesto, and thought he could taste it in the sandwich (which does NOT have pesto, by the way). But it is still new, so the waitress said she thought it might, and she would have to check.
At this point, the customer literally jumped from the table and sprinted to the bathroom to try to get the pesto out of his system. (Yes, he was headed to the bathroom to throw up the meal we just served him.) Needless to say, when the waitress returned to tell him that there was no pesto, it was a little too late. I think everyone at the table, and maybe even neighboring tables, had lost their appetite.
So glad it wasn't me! After hearing this story, I took a second look at the new menu to make sure I knew all the details!
Saturday, May 5, 2007
Have you ever noticed that people using Discover Cards are generally 15% tippers? Sometimes even less?
Not sure what the connection is, but one of my coworkers pointed this out to me a while ago, and I have been paying attention ever since. She was right. As soon as I see the card on the table, I cringe. Especially if the check is a large one.
$6 on $42
$8 on $54
$4 on $28
Hmmmmmm - and these were the only tips tonight that were less than 20%.
In fact - one American Express user left me $20 on $82!!
And cash tips tend to be rounded to the nearest $10.
Maybe tonight was just a good night, I don't know - but I am pretty convinced that Discover Card is running some sort of special for cheap tippers.
Thursday, May 3, 2007
Soo, I spent the afternoon in a meeting with all of my coworkers! Seriously! But they paid me for it - They paid me minimum wage (no idea what that is exactly) to drive my gas guzzling SUV 20 min to work, sit for 1 hour, then drive back. I think I spent at least $10 in gas.
You may have figured out by now that I work for a large corporate company. So, they have all of these little incentives to motivate us. (As if getting tips and paying my bills wasn't enough!) We have currently been working on a new "motivational project". They gave each of us a book with little stories about guest experiences. We were asked to read the stories and answer questions and provide comments about how we are going to work to improve. (Again, I like $$$, so I'm already a pretty hard worker.) We had to come in early -HA HA HA!! - or stay late -HA HA HA!! to work on these books because they were afraid we'd lose them if they left the building.
Today's meeting was a culmination of everything we've supposedly learned. We sat in groups, we discussed, we "improved".
And tomorrow when I get home from work, I'll be sure to let you know how much my improvements helped my bank account!
apps - Appetizers - Yes, we are usually in such a rush that we can't say full words.
Behind You! - A term yelled when someone is behind you. Don't back up, and if you're walking, don't stop - just get out of the way.
Campers - Customers who have eaten, had dessert, coffee, paid, and are still sitting in their booth. You may even hear a waitress say something like "Table 57 has pitched a tent and moved in." This usually applies to parties who have been in their seats for more than an hour and a half.
FOH - Front of the House - Everyone not in the kitchen
Galley - The waitress area containing our sodas, desserts, napkins, silverware, etc... Don't EVER go in there if you don't work there!
GM - General Manager
HOH - Heart of the House - Kitchen Staff
MOD - Manager on Duty - usually an assistant manager or a shift manager
Michael Jackson - The microwave. (Can't explain this one - I think it may be exclusive to our store.)
Regulars - People who come in so often that they are recognized and known by name (and sometimes drink!)
MY Regulars - People who come in and ask to sit in my station. Many of my regulars will wait longer, just to get a table in my section. (I'm just THAT good!!)
Sidework - The cleaning or stocking that waitresses are assigned each day. (Hate this part - Still making $2.63 an hour, and no tips for time spent cleaning!)
You're Up! - One of your tables has food in the window.
Weeded - In The Weeds - WAAAAY in over your head. Too many people needing too many things at once.
Apparently miscommunication is ultimately responsible for the "part time" punishment. While I told one manager, who told the other, the details were not spelled out as clearly as they should have been. And the "offense" was not considered as severe as it should have been. In addition to that, many of the problems that the other had experienced were never even detailed and recorded by management.
Either way, this should not have gone on as long as it did. Even though we are not responsible in any way for what happened, we are responsible for making it stop.
I know that I am not alone in this situation. And I can personally tell you how overwhelming it is to go in and make a stand. But in the end, it is worth it. (Although I will probably NEVER clean out the ice cream coolers again...)
If anyone out there ever finds themselves in a similar situation, please go straight to management. If they are not as supportive as my own management team, go over their heads.
Here is an important Link:
Know Your Rights:Sexual Harassment At Work
And remember that you are not alone. There will be plenty of support for you along the way. And you will feel like a weight has been lifted in the end.
Wednesday, May 2, 2007
What other job forces you to be cheerful to get paid?
This is an important point to remember when dining out. Waitresses are human. While most of us are usually in a good mood, we all have our off days. And when those days come, we could probably use a little compassion.
I know, I signed up for my job. I like the gamble of maybe getting paid every night, because usually it does pay off, and sometimes I even hit a jackpot night.
However, there are some days when I have been kept up all night by a screaming baby and I need to go home. But I have groceries to buy and bills to pay, so I arrive at your table with a silly little grin, and I take your order. And I hope I don't screw it up - so you'll pay me.
When I started this blog on Tuesday, I mentioned that Saturday was a VERY bad night. I failed to mention the worst parts. One of the cooks was caught staring at my backside as I cleaned out the ice cream freezers. Apparently, he was also making obscene gestures.
I mentioned this to management and the waitresses who witnessed the whole thing were also spoken to. So were the others who have been caught bent over in daily sidework by this "peeping Tom".
When I made my report, I was told that this was the last straw for the cook because he has already been spoken to on several occasions for similar behavior. Imagine my suprise when I arrived at work last night to find him once again behind the line.
Slightly shaken up, and definitely irritated by the whole situation, I went straight to the manager who had been on duty Saturday. Apparently, he was also told that this cook (I'll call him Tom.) would be dismissed immediately. Upper management made the last minute decision to change his "punishment" to part time instead of full time. How exactly does this work?
Fully irate, and feeling a little left out in the cold by the management team (With the exception of Sat. night MOD) I began to ask around to find out what the other waitresses thought about the situation. What I learned disturbed me even more. One waitress had been cornered against a freezer as he pushed himself on her. Another had been assaulted verbally so badly that she would check the cook schedule before coming in to work. She has called out more often than not in the last weeks. And Tom was still on - but only "part time". Well, I work part time as well. And we seem to have the same schedule.
So, with no less than a little urging from my husband, I went to work tonight with the intention of finding a solution to this problem. Somebody needed to stand up for us.
Luckily, the Sat. MOD was on duty tonight. He is now my hero. I walked in and refused to go on the floor. It is certainly the most gutsy thing I have ever done, but someone needed to stand up and be heard. How much more are we really expected to take? Who knows how many others have had experiences like mine? Or worse, like the younger girl's?
Needless to say, I was on the floor within an hour, and the problem had been "resolved". I am not bragging in any way about what I did, and I wish that I was not the one to have to make a stand. But my husband was very supportive. And sort of pushing the issue. And there will be no more uncomfortable moments - at least until a new cook is hired.....