Saturday, July 21, 2007

Behind The Scenes

Ever really wondered what was going on while you were sitting and waiting patiently?

Every restaurant has rules. Rules of conduct. Rules to be followed. Rules to add order to chaos.

Sad to say, that when a server approaches your table, 90% of them have to say something specific. Usually our sales pitch. It is required of us to spiel you. We have to lure your attention to something more specific. It is a main part of my job and the only part I dislike. I think it makes us sound like a robot. As if I have a huge computer chip shoved up my ass. I can see it in the eyes of my patrons as I am speaking. Thank goodness for creativity. I endeavour to do my best to read my table. Judge and see if they mind if I toss in a joke. Humour lightens the mood. Thankfully, most of my guests tend to have a sense of humor.

The next step of the behind the scenes is timing. Most have a time limit on when everything has to be served. At my particular restaurant, drinks must arrive within two minutes, after we leave the table. Not an unreasonable goal. Except on weekends. Thirteen servers. One drink station. Utter catastrophe.

Then the appetizers must reach you in a certain amount of time. That one depends on the cooks. Trust me when I say don't piss them off. The better you are in with your cooks, the quicker you will get what you need.

Next, the salads. Here is the tricky part. After you have received your appetizer, we then have two minutes to make your salads and get them to the table. It is usually a toss up (no pun intended). If you bring the salads to quickly, you take the chance of angering your guests. If you bring them out too late, the meal could arrive to quickly. Again, offending your guests. One salad station, and 13 servers. Good Luck!

Finally, your meal arrives. That is when servers go crazy. Not intentionally. But simple things, such as extra butter and A1 (which is made with raisins, and a true steak lover would NEVER use it) could have been asked for at time of order. The worst, is that someone will ask for one thing, you bring that, then they will ask for another. One item at a time. Stresses me out. Makes it difficult for any server to keep up with all tables then. I actually had one table asked me for ten different items, as I brought out each prior request. Personally wanted to scream.

Desserts. Believe it or not, it is 99% mandated that your server ask you about them. What sucks about this, we don't care if you have dessert or not. Your server, does not care if you order it.

In the alley, as we call the area we run around in, we have running side work. Things we must do, such as bake bread, stock ice, fill dressings and bring up plates. Good luck on that happening. Servers are divided up. Fifty percent lazy, Fifty percent hard working.

The slower the night, the less that gets done. Never understood that. Probably never will.

Tomorrow I will return to my regularly scheduled bitching and tell you about how lazy some servers can be. Maybe a list of 10 ways you can tell you have a bad co-worker. That sounds more fun to me. But I have such a huge list. I will need to narrow it down. So stay tuned.


Jean-Luc Picard said...

A few interesting server secrets served up there!

ZoeyBella said...

Can't stand A-1 on my steak! ;)

soccer mom in denial said...

I only worked as a server once when my husband was catering a monthly Cajun dance night. He was entertaining fantasies of opening a restaurant.

Someone was really rude to me and I gave it right back to her. Couldn't stand that she would be so mean because I was a "server". My husband nearly died and told me I would never be the matron d' at his place.

Never wanted to be darling. Never wanted to be.

So I tip HUGE amounts after meals unless the server is a jerk. You do a job I could never, ever do.

Christine said...

Since John has been a server ever since I met him, I have learned the term "alley" and other things of interest in a restaurant. It really is a sales job when you get to the better places. Knowing what wines go with what entree etc.
I could not do your job. Someone would eventually have their dinner on their head.