Tales from the Restaurant

Tales from the Restaurant
Where you'll find all the restaurant dirt you'll ever need.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Dreams of a Waiter

I woke up in a cold sweat last week, and I immediately panicked and began wondering what had led up to that moment. I was running late for work, and I had decided that throughout the routine of throwing on pants, half-hazardly applying deodorant, and pretending to brush my teeth thoroughly that the whole reason that I was in this bind was because I had had difficulty sleeping the night before.

I had been having restaurant dreams.

Anyone who waits tables or cooks can tell you all about the dreams they have at least once a week. Here’s how they go;

Ultimately, it's all a typical subconscious montage of you essentially fucking up over and over and over again. Since service has become your way of life, you fear anything happening which would jeopardize your fragile income, and all of those things become the focus of your nightmares.

So when you show up drowsy-eyed to work, the people you're waiting on sometimes show a modicum of concern.

But usually they don't. They tend to expect the same service from a 9AM full-time waiter (who is so committed to his job that he dreams about the basics of failure) as the person who works one day a week and has infinitely more promise as a junior media-slide specialist. Except with the heart of a champion.

So can you tell the difference between the two types? Show up first thing in the AM to a restaurant you love and see what kinds of infrences you can make about your servers' career commitment.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Urgency of "When you get a minute."

After a while in the service business, certain phrases will begin to tick you off. Eventually, repetition of these phrases might even start to make your blood boil. Enough of this, and you might even become a hypocrite and start using these phrases yourself whenever you go out to eat, making you into the very thing you've grown to hate.

Describing it like this, one phrase in particular comes to mind;

"...when you get a minute."

At face value, it's intended to be a considerate and relatively polite way of saying "As soon as possible."

Underneath that, whenever someone actually says it, it means something entirely different.

I understand that it means "immediately" because I have often made the mistake of interpreting a request like that as "when you get a minute." It wasn't taken too well when I came back with an extra spoon after three or four minutes.

When someone asks you for something, that request should actually jump right to the top of your queue of things that need to get done.

The sad thing is, I find myself saying it all the time whenever I go out to eat. By the time it comes tumbling out of my mouth, it's usually too late to explain to my server that I don't mean that I need a straw or whatever it is immediately, but truly at his or her leisure. I know that my server is usually thinking the exact same thing I do when he or she hears 'when you get a minute,' and it explains why I get what I asked for almost immediately.