After many long weeks full of long days full of long hours, I am finally finished. My 2-weeks-notice was 2 weeks ago, and I am officially unemployed. My job was tough and horrible at times, but it taught me more about life than anything ever has. A dear co-worker even told me, “If you can work here, then you can work anywhere.” Let’s hope that is true. Here are a select few things I learned about people and restaurants and the world in general.
1. The customer is not always right. But you can convince them that they are while you slyly correct their mistakes. Example: a woman ordered a hamburger cooked medium rare. She instructed me to make sure the chef cooked it properly, as it usually comes out too rare. I punched the order in as a hamburger cooked medium. Her reaction? “This is perfect!”
2. Don’t order tea. Or coffee, for that matter. Whenever a customer ordered hot tea, a little part of me died inside. Hot tea is so annoying to make. I need to find a pot, heat up some water, find lemon, honey, sweetener, a cup, and the box of tea bags. It takes at least 4 minutes of my time, which may not seem like much, but when you have 3 other tables demanding other things, 4 minutes is an eternity. And coffee? There is no guarantee that your decaf coffee is decaf, nor is your regular coffee in fact regular. As for the cream? It’s probably half-and-half. I might throw in some water if you asked for milk with your coffee, but then again, I might not. Again, I don’t have the time to deal with petty requests when I have so much to deal with.
3. What do I recommend? The most expensive item is absolutely delicious! Because my workplace has a no-tipping policy, I earn a commission on what I sell. So I’m like a car salesman, in that sense. Upsell, upsell, upsell.
4. You want a wine recommendation? No guarantees. I’m not old enough to drink, so whichever wine I recommend has been pushed by my boss as a wine we “need to get rid of.” I don’t know if it tastes dry or full or oaky because I’ve never had a sip.
5. If you ask me, “How is the … ?” I will always say it is excellent. I won’t tell you, “Oh sir, that tastes terrible. I would rather starve than eat that!” Plus, I don’t think the chef puts bad-tasting items on the menu.
6. The soup of the day is Cream of Leftovers. We already throw away your half-eaten chicken that you refuse to take home in a to-go box, so of course we are going to save perfectly good leftovers.
7. How to talk to people…
Customer: Why is my food taking so long?!
Me: It will be ready soon, sir. Would you care for something to drink?
Customer: Why didn’t we get bread?!
Me: It is baking, so it will be fresh and warm for you. Would you care for something to drink?
Customer: I’m in a hurry and I need to be out of the restaurant by 7:30!
Me: I will do my best, sir. Would you care for something to drink?
8. Kill them with kindness, and ignore rudeness.
Customer: YOU ARE A TERRIBLE WAITRESS. GO HOME.
Me, with a smile: Would you care for something to drink?
9. If your food is taking too long to cook, or is cooked incorrectly, it is not your server’s fault because we didn’t cook it. Seems pretty obvious, yet this is something that even I myself have failed to grasp on occasion. Not anymore.