When dining out, have you ever wondered just how much of your conversation your waiter has heard? What is he thinking? What is he saying about you back in the kitchen? Why does he think you’re an idiot?
Well, you’re about to find out.
A little background:
I’ve worked as a waiter for more than 20 years, almost exclusively in upscale restaurants. It’s been my ‘real job’ since I graduated from college. The original plan was to have a decent-paying gig that wouldn’t take too high a toll on my energy and psyche so I would be able to pursue my dreams of writing for a living. Part of this equation has been successful. While I have not acheived a successful career writing, I have been able to do it all these years. About ten of those twenty years I spent focusing more on being a musician than on writing, but I still kept my hand in with the digital pen. I’ve written three novels, four or five teleplays, and a few feature scripts. And, no, haven’t had any sales. But I’m still doing it.
Through the course of this blog I expect to relate many anecdotes that I might otherwise forget. I’ll also drop in old stories that I do remember.
Foodserving is a pretty unique occupation. You are often dealing with people who have a few drinks in them, so they loosen up to reveal their true selves, for better or worse. It’s an emotional environment for the guests – breaking bread has always been an important (and sometimes sacred) component of relationships. People are being fed, rather than feeding themselves – it’s a dynamic that puts the diner psychologically back in the role of a child. They are grateful when the experience is a happy one, and oftentimes petulant when they don’t get their way or something goes wrong.
As a waiter you have a special opportunity to make your workday go very well, and it usually depends little on the ‘product’ you are selling. If you can win over your guests on a genuine emotional level, they will put up with an overcooked steak, a forgotten salad order, slow drink service, and a high check total – and still leave with smiles on their faces and a warm feeling for you and your restaurant. While of course all is better if the above typical problems do not appear, you are still making a good life for yourself and your employer. These people will be back.
So enough background, etc. Let’s do a first typical post and get it on!