Tuesday, December 2, 2008

We're All Facing "Difficult Economic Times"...

Um, Yeah - I noticed.

I tried to explain that to my mortgage company, but they didn't really seem to care.
Anyway - Last weekend, some of my regulars came in for a visit. Jokingly, I asked where they had been, and the wife - who was never really a friendly person to start with, looks right at me and states "Well, some of us have to cut back in these difficult economic times." As if I am the sole reason for their economic troubles.

In fact, people like them are the reason for MY economic troubles.

So we've been painfully slow lately. So we have to work harder to make the tips - with no guarantee that they'll even be there. No sweat. Just turn the nice on, come out of your shell, and start enjoying yourself on the job.

I have found that if I am willing to stay and close the restaurant, I am still able to make some money. People are simply looking for the best deals. No one is simply throwing money around any more. If you want that 20% tip - You'll now have to WORK FOR IT. And don't let it get you down if you only get 10%. Many people assume that we get paid an hourly wage, so if they don't tip well, it won't make that much of a difference. So let them leave and move on to the next table.

July?!? Has it really been that long???

Clearly, I've been too busy having fun...

Well, even though I may not be blogging like I used to, I'm still thinking in that "I NEED to tell this to someone" sort of mindframe. So, every time I see something that needs to be shared, I jot down a little note in my server book.

Ok - so it's been months - and I don't always have the neatest writing, and I am pretty sure there is some hot fudge on part of one of the pages... But here goes:

more servers=better attention to customers
Superstitions?? Red Shirt?? Discover Card?? Smiley Face??
Drinking on the Job
10 Surefire ways to get fired
There is no greener grass...

Hmmm... There's more, and I'll try to decipher them later...
In the meantime...

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Art of Upselling

For those unfamiliar with the term, upselling is when a waitress (or any other type of salesperson) can talk the customer into purchasing something slightly better and more expensive than they initially asked for.

The company encourages us to do this because, in the end, it means more sales for them, a higher check average for us, and a more satisfied customer.

Yesterday, I worked an afternoon shift. People don't tend to order as much at lunch, so I had to make the most of the tables I did have.

Upselling is not just about offering the wonderful options. It needs to be done with a little finesse. Servers need to be able to read their guest to gauge the best way to approach the suggestions.

There is a certain stigmatism associated with words like loaded, smothered, king size, super size, monster, etc. So if a customer orders a baked potato, don't ask if they want it loaded. Explain the choice in descriptive words that make it harder to resist. Would you like cheese, bacon, and chives melted on the top of your potato?

You can always upsell by getting the customer to purchase a larger size of the item they already ordered. Many of our appetizers come in a regular and large size. When they are ordered, I don't ask if customers want small or large. I offer them 8 piece or 12. The same goes for our salads and several of our steaks. I offer by ounces. 16 ounces is a respectable size for a meal. But you have no idea how many people can't resist the thought of a 24 ounce plate of steak.

When you offer an appetizer or a dessert, be sure to have a specific one in mind.

Did anyone save room for some chocolate cheesecake?
Ohhh That does sound good. Hmmmm... All right...

It takes a bit of practice, but for the most part, I can raise my sales by quite a bit, just by knowing the menu, and discovering how the customers need to be approached. It definitely shows in my tips at the end of the night...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Trash Picking???

There is a continuous silverware shortage at my restaurant.
This is a serious and very frustrating issue for the entire staff.

Well, to make a frustrating situation even worse, we have opened several cases of forks and knives. SO WHERE HAS IT GONE?

Obviously, the wait staff is throwing it out. That is the only possible solution.
So, how do we resolve this issue? Well, we try the magnetic thing that goes over the top of the can to catch the silverware. It didn't work. We STILL ran out of silverware.

Obviously, the wait staff MUST be intentionally shoving it deep into the barrel, just to mess with us...
So, how do we resolve this issue? Place a pan over the top of the barrel for all servers to dump their trash into. Then make the dishwashers pick through it to get all the silverware that the waitstaff insists on throwing out...

I wish I were kidding.
Am I the only one who has an issue with this?
Is there a better solution for "Silverware Retention"?

I Quit My Day Job

Every now and then, I dissapear...

I always promise to be back, but sometimes... well, you know.

I am a junior high teacher by nature, and I spent the last year teaching preschool (I KNOW, HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?!? Well, they offered me free preschool for my 3 yo. son...)
Anyway - teaching preschool didn't exactly pay my bills, so I still had to waitress. So basically, I gave up a 3 hour waitress shift and picked up 15 hours of daytime work. How I managed to think that would work out, I don't know... I spent many days teaching in the morning and waitressing the same night. Exhausting...

But I made it through the year and I just gave up the teaching job. Now I am back to waitressing again.

I really liked teaching preschool, but the waitress perks are just too much to resist. That everyday payday is my favorite.

It Ain't My Hair!

Umm - Yes, it most certainly is!!

I put the dressing on the salad! I carried it out to your table. I would have noticed a GIANT hair in the bowl of dressing.

AND - I do not have LONG BLACK HAIR!!

But, I'm not in a position to argue, so I'll apologize and take it off your check.

(AND can you believe that they had the nerve to walk out on their check?!?!?)

Friday, March 21, 2008

No Pressure Here...

This quickly became one of my favorite tables. A couple, the man very cocky and full of himself, and the woman in charge of everything. Thank goodness she liked me.

The time came to order, and the woman had decided, but the man had spent the entire time on his cell phone, so he wasn't ready. I took the woman's order, and looked at the man.
"Oh, just give me a second! I'll find something."
There are over fifty items on our menu - you won't find it quick enough.
"That's ok - I'll come back."
"No! I'll find something - Just put the pressure on. Hmmm. Wild Bleu Salad, what does that have? Hmm.. Maybe a cheeseburger... Oh Steak..."
"Yeah - I'll give you a few minutes." And I left. It was the middle of a busy Friday night. I was in the weeds already. Don't do this.
When I came back back to ask if he had decided, he had the nerve to tell me that he had forgotten because I took so long. I swear his wife kicked him under the table.
I said nothing and returned to the computer to place his order.
I proceded to check on the wife throughout the meal. She was a doll. And the husband suddenly became very sweet and kind. Maybe he was afraid she'd kill him if he was rude again.

I love people.

Stillllll waitressing - - -

Yep, so I had a meltdown a while ago...
In addition to my crappy job and the stress of the holidays, I was being sued by a bunch of liars for almost $200,000, and I am fighting with the car dealership because my new car is a lemon. It was only a matter of time before I snapped....

So I took a little break. I gave away a bunch of my shifts. I worked a few extra hours at my other job - the one I actually like....

But now I'm back - and nothing has changed, except for my attitude.

I have found that keeping things bottled up inside is not a good idea! As servers, we take crap from people all the time - and if we want to keep getting paid that $2.63 an hour, we smile about it.

So I decided to stop doing that. And it feels liberating. If you want to be rude to me, you are just going to have to wait to do it, because I will walk away from your table at the first sign of disrespect, and I may not come back. If I like the people you are with, you might be able to get them to order you something.

I have plenty of stories to share....