It’s been one heck of a busy day (ok, couple of days) so I thought I’d do a cheeky lil’ repost from way back… here it is.
I quit my job today. It’s been 8 months, and although I had fun I have decided it’s time for me to put down my tray and notepad, and focus a little more on school work (because it’s not like this is an important year or anything).
This post will probably resonate with anyone who works in catering or even customer service in general. It lists everything I have learned from working in a fast paced, cut-throat yet slightly fun establishment.
The customer is always right.
This is something I picked up fairly quickly. At the end of the day, waitressing isn’t about who’s right and who’s wrong; it’s about pleasing the customers. If they said they wanted no mayo, that’s what they said. If the beef was undercooked, it was undercooked. If she claims Piri Piri is spicier than Cajun, just… take her word for it, smile, and walk away.
Organisation and good memory are imperative.
I would often be on my way somewhere to complete a task and someone would ask me for something, which I would just add on to my invisible list of things to do…which I would usually forget 5 minutes later. I sometimes had 3 separate drinks orders to take to 3 different places, and I couldn’t remember what the customers looked like or where they were sitting. Basically, don’t bite off more than you can chew, and do not be afraid to ask for help if you have your hands full.
People are picky about their steak.
The rib-eye was among the most popular dishes on the menu, and on my first evening shift I soon realised the difference between ‘medium’ and ‘medium rare’. Infact there is a whole spectrum of ways a steak can be cooked: well done, medium to well done, medium, medium rare, rare, blue. I also learned that people don’t find it funny when you mix up their order, or if the chef doesn’t cook it for long enough. The amount of steak I saw being sent back to the kitchen could probably feed Africa for a week.
A smile can go a long way.
This may be obvious, but smiling is so important even if you are in the worst mood imaginable. I often fake smiled so much it actually put me in a good mood! One time a friendly old man complemented my smile. I didn’t really know what to think, but I took it. He left a ten pound tip.
Don’t take stuff for granted.
When I had been walking around for five or six hours straight, I envied even the thought of sitting down for half a minute. When I hungrily placed a 6oz cheese burger with chunky chips in front of a customer, I realised how much I would love just a piece of bread or a chip.
Chefs are moody.
The chefs like to think of themselves as the top dogs. They are usually big, bolshie middle aged men, and when you get three of them at once asking why on earth someone would want their burger without a bun, it is difficult to remain sane. You have to play it safe with the chefs and always try and assess what kind of mood they are in before making any kind of sassy remark.
Endure the pain.
Do anything you can to avoid causing a scene. If that means carrying five plates across the room in an awkward position to avoid dropping them all, just do it. If it means carrying a red hot plate to a customer and burning your hand in the process, do it. If it means walking around for two hours in agony because of killer blisters, suck it up and do it. And remember to smile.
Get on the right side of your boss.
I never really got on the wrong side of mine, but when she was in a bad mood, you knew about it. Everything was so much more fun when everyone was cheerful, and that is what I will miss the most: the friendly, back and forth banter between staff, the kind that sends you home with a smile on your face.
I’m not saying waitressing is difficult, I am saying it’s underrated. I have come to the end of my waitressing days (for now), but I’ll certainly miss it. It’s been a ball!
I wonder, does any of this relate to you? Feel free to let me know!