Saturday, July 19, 2014

I Have A Work Question

     I have a question for ya'll.

     We had a meeting where I work as a server and there was a bit of a debate. Feel free not to side with me if you think that I'm wrong. Feel free to side with me if you think I'm right. I just want your opinions so I know how I can do my job the best that I can and make good tips.

     What happened, was that hostess said that there are a lot of issues with accidentally seating somebody more than once if a guest comes in and picks a section or table they want to sit at, when the server in charge of that table was just sat. (Don't do this. It fucks everyone up. Seriously. Just sit where you're told.) Then servers get mad because they end up "in the weeds", which basically means that they're trying to get everything done at the exact same time for the tables and they can't catch up.

     I said, "Once you get behind, it's hard to catch up until all of the tables are cashed out." The manager looked at me and asked why that was, so I explained. "If you're sat with two tables, you have to get everything done at the exact same time as well as take care of whatever tables you already have. It feels like you're playing catch up and that you don't have time for anything else, when you're also trying to keep up with side work and helping out the servers around you."

     A server said, "That's why we ask for help. Or rather, why we should. Most people don't until it's too late and they can't catch up."

     I completely agree with that. I'm bad at asking for help. Usually, I just pre-bus a table and ask somebody to take the dishes on their way back if they have empty hands or ask for bread to be run out. Very few times have I asked for anything else. It's something that I do know that I need to work on because sometimes, I just don't have enough arms.

     "I agree. But we should always do our best to be at the table ourselves. We want to be remembered. Getting our name out there means people might want us and to sit in our section if they see us again." I pointed out.

     The server agreed but then added, "But let's say that you're at a restaurant. Jose takes you to your table and gets your drink order. Bob brings out your drinks and bread. Jose takes your food order. Susie brings out your appetizer and makes sure you have what you need and refills your drinks. Lucy brings out your food. Oh you want ketchup? No problem, she brings it out. Jose checks back and sees if you want desert and your check, then you pay and leave. That's four people but you have what you need when you need it."

     "I agree with speedy service but at the same time, coming from a customer point of view before I ever became a server, I had that happen and wondered where my server was. I understood they were busy but I wanted to know why they were so busy that I only saw them three or four times." I replied.

     The manager and server looked at me like I was stupid.

     "So you're saying that if you have to ring in an order that takes two minutes, but your table needs ketchup, you would make them wait?"

     "No. I would ask somebody to bring it out, but I should have brought it out before their meal even arrived. But I should be the one at the table as much as possible." I replied.

     The manager still didn't seem to fully agree with where I was coming from, even if he understood. "Greeting the table, getting drinks, taking the order, and cashing out. Those are the four major times that a server should be at the table. Everything else is just fluff and doesn't really matter as much."

     I agree that the rest is not as big of a deal, but I still believe that I should do everything I can to be at the table. Do I need somebody to bring ketchup or bread out for me? If so, then please do, but I would hope that I could just get a tray and use it to get whatever I need to all of my tables in one trip.

     That can't always happen if I also have four salads and a pitcher of tea in my hands, but I should at least make sure that I try. And if I can't, I ask somebody else for help, but 99% of the time, they don't have time and it ends up being "I'll have that right out for you".

     So far, my tables seem to understand when I just don't have enough arms to carry 2 salads, drinks for 3, ketchup, a book with a check in it, and bread. Only the drinks and bread went to the same table. Seriously, that was one trip out of the kitchen a few weeks ago. I had six tables at once and nobody was around to ask so I did it myself and told 4/6 tables, "I'll be right back with a pitcher to fill up your glass".

     Now I would like you to weigh in. Have you worked in a restaurant? What is your opinion? Would you prefer to see your server more for the "fluff" or have a constant stream of people taking care of you instead? Another opinion? Because seriously, I do want to know so I can do a good job.

P.S. I have the poll up for naming the upcoming series that I plan on starting next month. Please vote for your favorite title!