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server

Features

BARS & RESTAURANTS AND THEIR STAFF ARE STRUGGLING DURING THE PANDEMIC. YOU CAN HELP…

April 21, 2020

CHEFS, SERVERS AND BARTENDERS TAKE CARE OF YOU. NOW THAT BARS & RESTAURANTS ARE CLOSED YOU CAN TAKE CARE OF THEM. HERE IS HOW YOU CAN HELP

Even as states like Georgia are early to open, much of the country remains in lockdown, compounding lost wages and heightening poverty issues such as housing and food insecurity. When the country comes back to business it could be months and months before those working in the hospitality industry find their financial footing once again. If at all.

In preserving the lives and livelihoods of those who are always there to serve you, your help can make a difference. Explore these links below to see how:

NATIONWIDE RESOURCES
https://www.barmagic.com/relief

GOFUNDME
Courtesy of Camila Fernandez (formerly of Osamil, NYC)
1. Osamil link: https://www.gofundme.com/f/1xnrl3duo0
2. SoHo Restaurant & Bar (Ecuador) link: https://www.gofundme.com/f/support-for-soho-team

FOUNDATIONS/501C3
USBG (United States Bartenders Guild) – https://www.usbgfoundation.org/

Features

LIFE LESSONS

December 6, 2012

10 Things Being a Waiter Has Taught Me
By The Bitchy Waiter

Our colleague, The Bitchy Waiter, has plenty to say about life on the floor. Some of it you may have even said yourself. Whatever the case, these insights shared in this column are great life lessons worth embracing as you engage in the business of hospitality. Read, learn, enjoy!

Working in restaurants for the better part of two decades has done a lot for me. True, it has given me a life-long disdain of lemons in water but there are many positive aspects that have come out of slinging hash for this many years. As I get older, I realize that many of the things I have learned in restaurants have carried over to my regular life and made me a better person.

1. Save for a rainy day. When most of your income depends on fluctuating tips, you get pretty good at holding on to money once you have it. A really great Friday night shift where you walk home with $250 can be followed by a Saturday morning shift during a blizzard where no one comes in and you only make twenty bucks. Waiting tables has taught me how to count my pennies and save what I make because you never know when the financial rug will be pulled out from under you. Or when the only people who sit in your station are going to think a dollar is still a decent tip.

2. How to make small talk. Going into any situation where you are surrounded by strangers can be difficult. Whether it’s a party, a new job or a meeting, the first impression you make is a lasting one. Being a waiter has given me the skills to make conversation with anyone and everyone and I don’t get nervous when I have to talk to strangers. It’s as easy as asking them how they would like their burger cooked. When all else fails, compliment their outfit.

3. Don’t sweat the small stuff. There was a time when I was a newbie and I would run into the kitchen to stress out until the burger for table 12 was ready. One day, an older server told me something I will never forget: “It’s just lunch. There will be another one tomorrow and there is no such thing as a lunch emergency.” I have carried that calming thought outside of the restaurant. When I am stuck on the train or in traffic or in a long line at the store, all I have to remember is that in the scope of world events, this is probably not a very big deal.

4. How to get along with others. A restaurant staff is ever-changing. People come and go and you never know who you will be working with each shift since it’s very seldom that you have a set schedule. Because of that, some days you work with people you like and some days you don’t. But working in a restaurant requires teamwork. Whether you like everyone or not, you still may need to ask someone to water your table and they will ask you to take some bread somewhere. You quickly figure out that it’s easier to just get along than it is to not. Suck it up. You don’t have to like everyone, but it’s pretty easy to get along with everyone.

5. Time management. Having a station full of people all needing things at the same time is a real lesson in making the best use of your time. If table 1 needs to have their cocktails rung in and table 2 needs more water and table 3 needs a spoon for their dessert that will be up any minute, you get real good at figuring out which one is the most important. (The spoon. Duh.)

6. Multi-tasking. This goes right along with time management. If you ring in the drinks and then grab the water pitcher on your way to the side stand to get spoons, you can then drop the spoons at table 3, fill the waters at table 2 and then breeze by table 1 to tell them their drinks are on the way. This is handy in the real world at places like grocery stores, malls and while cleaning your apartment.

7. A smile will get you far in life. When someone sits in my station and has a sour-puss look on their face and then tells me they want the happy hour price for their beer even though happy hour ended five minutes ago, I am not going to do it. In contrast, if someone is friendly and smiling and asks nicely, it is very possible that I will simply hit the happy hour beer price for them. A smile makes a huge difference.

8. How to treat other people. Being in a position of subservience really teaches you how to treat others. When I am treated poorly, it’s very obvious that the person doing the mistreating is used to having people to push around. I know what it’s like to be told what to do and to never hear the words “please” or “thank you.” When I am out in the real world, I make certain that I always make eye contact with anyone who is doing something for me and I make frequent use of “please and “thank you.” We are all people and we all deserve to be treated kindly. Servers know that. Vice Presidents of big corporations? Not so much.

9. Patience. It’s not easy to have patience when a three year old at your table wants to order for herself. The mom is saying, “You can do it, honey. Tell the man what you want,” but I can feel the stares of the four other tables who are needing my attention as well. Patience is learned and when your income is dependent on how patient and attentive you are, it’s learned quickly. That’s why when I am at the grocery store in the 10 Items or Less line stuck behind a senior citizen who has 15 items, I know to breathe deep and let it go. Patience is a virtue. Learn it.

10. Good shoes. I am on my feet all day and the shoes I wear are very important to my health and well-being. Cheap shoes don’t support your soles and they fall apart too soon. Waiting tables has taught me to spend the extra 25 bucks for the better shoes. They last longer, they look better, and they are more comfortable. Wear good shoes.

My point of writing this is to let everyone know that no matter what job you are in, there are things you can learn. These are just ten lessons from waiting tables. If you are a server, please share this and then share the lessons you have learned from your job. Every job can teach us something that can make us better people. We just have to open our eyes and recognize what it is we are being taught.

For more invaluable life (and work) lessons, check out Bitchy Waiter at: www.thebitchywaiter.blogspot.com.

Features

LET’S PLAY A LITTLE GAME

August 3, 2012

By Patrick Maguire (7/24/12)

Last night a customer tried to “play a little game” (his words) with one of our servers, where he put twenty dollars on the table and said, “I’ll take one away (from your tip) every time something goes wrong.” I asked to speak with him outside of the restaurant and put an abrupt end to his “game.”

Where the hell do these people come from? Demeaning fellow human beings is never funny or cute. You don’t play games with hard-working people who are just trying to make a living. We need to continue to call these people on their shit, or they will continue to get away with it.

I guarantee you that the guy who came in last night will never try that again, and if the woman he was with ever dates him again, she’s a fool. I believe in the old adage that if you really want to know someone’s true colors, observe how they spontaneously interact with service industry workers.
Have you ever had anything like this ever happen to you or anyone you know?

I’ll provide the details of how my confrontation with the customer ended after reading your comments and recommendations on how you think I should have handled it. (The outcome will surprise you.) (Comments here: http://www.servernotservant.com/2012/07/24/lets-play-a-little-game/)

And here is the rest of the story:

I returned to the restaurant, with our general manager, on Monday night to a nearly full restaurant, after distributing food at a neighborhood block party. The servers quickly told us what happened, then got back to work immediately. It was busy. After making a lap through the diningroom, and watering all of the tables, I saw the potential tip money on the table.

I actually had another server tell me a similar story a few years ago, but never saw the 3rd Rock or Cheers episodes that several commenters referenced. It was appalling to believe that someone actually had the nerve to try this charade in real life. As Andrea Grimes at Eater National said, this might be funny on a sitcom, but it ”plays out like a serious dick move in real life.”

My first reaction was; This violates what we stand for, and we need to end it now. Our restaurant actually has a page on our menu called, Law & Order, in which the following two items are included:

– The customer is NOT always right. However, the respectful customer is always right, and the asshole customer is always wrong.

– … Just don’t be a douchebag.

The server who had the douchebag’s table was very busy, and really didn’t have time to think about the implications. Witnessing her anxiety and thinking about how demeaning the ruse was, made me and our GM, Suzie, incensed. Suzie went to the kitchen to check out the status of the couple’s meal, then came up with a brilliant plan: Continue Reading…