How Waiting Tables Prepares You For Your Baby’s First Month

Matt AbrahamMatt Abraham currently lives in China with his criminally insane cat Durden, his beautiful one month old son Kal, and his supportive wife Jenny. For more, check out his critically acclaimed debut novel Dane Curse (available for 99 cents) or contact him at authormattabraham@gmail.com and danecursepi.wordpress.com

I was terrified when I had my kid four weeks ago. He was tiny and fragile, screaming and shaking, and all I knew was that I wanted to succeed as a parent. However, the only skills I possessed dealt with waiting tables. What was I going to do, upsell him a bottle of wine or crumb his bib between courses? But after four weeks of fathering I realize there was no need for concern, because as surprising as it sounds, the skills I gained from working in restaurants were the only ones I needed to successfully deal with an infant. After all, he was just a weepy egocentric human who was demanding all my attention, and even on a slow Tuesday night you’ll see four of those… So if you’re a waiter who’s expecting their first kid you can rest easy, the following six lessons from your time spinning trays are guaranteed to get you through the crucial first month of parenthood with ease.

Kind of.

Lesson 1. No matter how bad it gets, don’t panic.

It doesn’t matter if your apps are dragging, the POS machine is down, or table twelve just found a human finger in the flan; you don’t panic. Personally, I apply this cool thinking to everything I do as a dad. Like right now my baby’s been crying for ten minutes straight, the cat’s crapping on the new white rug, and smoke from the toast I forgot I was making just set off the fire alarm. But am I freaking out? No. I’m writing a blog post. Because waiting tables taught me to keep a level head. Or maybe because I got six fingers of gin in me. Whichever. The point is I’m not panicking.

Lesson 2. You develop an iron bladder

It’s happened to us all: You have to go to the bathroom, but you’re weeded like Snoop Dogg at Reggae Fest with no one around to cover your section, so you seal up your bladder like a sous-vide bag and wait (sometimes an hour) before finally finding three minutes to sneak downstairs and drop your urine like one of those planes that fight wildfires. Congratulations. This ability comes in crazy handy when you have a baby. See, the first thing you learn as a parent is never wake the baby. Never. Even if they’re lying on your chest and you just drank a gallon of tea you sit there as still as possible like the kid’s pinning you to the sofa like they’re fucking Mjolnir, because the hard truth is a quiet baby trumps dry pants every time. Seriously. I’ve never wet myself to keep my baby quiet, but I wouldn’t judge anyone who has. It’s the right call every time.

Lesson 3. You’ll eat every meal like it’s a shift meal

If you’ve never seen a restaurant worker eat before their shift picture a team of piranhas working on a cow, except with more silverware and fewer niceties. And there are two reasons why: first, there’s only a tiny window in which that food can be consumed before the barbarians arrive, and second, there are precious few actual edible bits in a shift meal, and you got to fight for them. Seriously. I’ve seen cooks throw shoe leather into a hotel pan of Salisbury steak to add mass. Basically I’m saying if you want to eat you’ve got to move quickly.  Which is the same way you eat around a baby; you just power it down like it’s the Nathan’s Hotdog eating championship, because you got maybe three minutes before that cross between Golum and a potato you spawned wakes up and starts asking for shit. But whatever, tasting your food’s for pussies anyway.

Lesson 4. Booze won’t make it better, it’ll make it a lot better

Alcohol’s your friend, ally, parent, therapist, and old war buddy poured into a convenient bottle. I heartily recommend it to restaurant workers and new parents alike. But only AFTER the shift. And never when you’re breastfeeding. Unless you’re the feedee, and not the feeder. Then your freak flag’s flying so high I don’t think a glass of pinot will do much damage so go nuts.

Lesson 5. You only have friends like you

Thanks to the vampire hours most restaurant folk keep it was impossible for me to have friends who weren’t also in the industry, simply because my schedule guaranteed I’d never see them. The same thing happens now, except it’s with my kid-free friends, and if I ever do see them I have no clue what they’re talking about. “Taylor Swift’s twitter feud? China’s currency? Trump?” What the fuck are those things? I live in a world of diapers, man. Let’s talk about that.

Lesson 6. Babies and customers are NEVER right, but you still have to give them what they want

Every part of waiting tables is great. Except for the diners. They suck more than if a black hole manifested in the Dyson testing facility. With complaints like, “Where’s my food, I screamed my order at you a minute ago… This bottle’s too cold, warm it up… and, me me me me me me…” it’s amazing more of them aren’t killed annually (probably because it’s illegal, thanks Obama). So all you can do is shove whatever they’re crying for into their mouths in the hopes it’ll shut them up.I forgot if that point was directly about babies or restaurant guests, but you get my point, it works both ways.

Bonus Lesson. When it’s over you’ll miss it

Sure the industry sucks with all the doubles and clo-pens, but it’s full of the best people in the world. And you get to work and drink with them all night before waking up at noon in some strange place with no recollection of what you’ve done like a God damn werewolf. It’s awesome, and I miss it a lot. They say the same thing about newborns. That they grow up so fast and you’ll miss the time when they were itty bitty. It’s hard to believe, but I guess if I still long for my waiting days, despite being bossed around by bald assholes who thinks they’re the center of my universe, I don’t see why I won’t miss parenting a newborn despite that very same thing happens here on a daily basis, too.

Your Story: First Name Basis

 

cropped-thewaitressconfessions1.jpgLaCrecia wrote to us a few months ago about one of her experiences serving.  We’re sure that you’ve been through a similar situation, so feel free to write to us with your story here!


 

Dear Waitress Confessions…

I will never forget one of my cocktail shifts.

It was my first serving job. I always try to go above and beyond for my guests (we weren’t allowed to call them customers). So these 3 ladies were there after work drinking to unwind from a long work week. I introduced myself with a “Hi ladies my name is LaCrecia. I will be taking care of y’all tonight”. I was being my sweet ol’ Texas girl self when I asked “Is there anything else I can do for y’all? I would like for you to have the best experience possible tonight.”

Then that’s when everything went south! One of the ladies looked at me and said “Well we would like for you to go f**k yourself.” I was so mad that I cried. I went to my manager and told her I didn’t want to serve them anymore. She went out to check on them and they were deeply offended saying I was mocking their race (African american) because of what I told them my name was. I’m Caucasian. My manager assured them that was my name but they still were unsatisfied with me so they didn’t want me to serve them anymore. A nightmare!!!

-LaCrecia

What to Get a Waiter/Waitress for Christmas

giftIf you know someone who is currently a server at a restaurant, you may be wondering what they may need as a Christmas gift.

Servers work extremely hard over the holidays, serving parties and people celebrating, with no days off to celebrate with their family and friends and may need an extra little pick-me-up after all the hours they put in at work.

Here are a few ideas that may help these hard workers get through the busiest and most stressful time of year.

1. A massage

Servers are on their feet all day, bending over backwards to carry plates and trays and could really use a wonderful massage to get out all the stress of the day.

2. Gift certificate to a restaurant

Waiters and waitresses are constantly seeing other people dining out and enjoying their evening, having people serve them and not having to clean up afterwards.  I, for one, would love to have that opportunity.  Seeing all these people celebrating makes us a little jealous…well, envious.  Just a piece of advice, don’t get a gift certificate to the restaurant they work at.

3. A nice bottle of wine

For those servers at fancy restaurants with a nice wine menu, it would be nice to get in on that type of wine-action.  A bottle to share with friends over a delicious dinner would mean the world to them!

4. A little getaway 

Whether it be just for an evening or an all expenses paid trip to Cuba, every server needs to get away from their job and not have to wait on people hand and foot.  Getting away allows us to let go and relax without the worries of work.

I hope this helps and gives you an idea of what a waiter or waitress might really need around Christmas.

Happy Holidays!!

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The Waitress Confessions Mentioned in FoodTender.com Article

As you all know, The Waitress Confessions has been featured in quite a few articles from blog posts to How to be a Good Waitress by wikihow . So, we are very excited to be mentioned over at FoodTender.com in an article written by Jason Boies called Build a Winning Restaurant Staff: Part 3 . So please feel free to check it out!

Cheers

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What’s Your Order? : Shake, Shake, Shake…


What’s You Order is where The Waitress Confessions leaves telling the tales of the service industry up to you!

If you’d like to be part of this segment and share your story,  just write to us!


Dear Waitress…

Okay, so I’ve been hostessing for three years now to make money for college. I’ll have a few more expenses coming this fall, so when offered a second job at a different restaurant as a server, I took it.

Now I’m not new to serving. My mother owned and operated a restaurant for 40 years before she retired. So obviously being around the industry my whole life, I know the difference between good service and bad service. I just needed to learn the menu and any required phrases when I took this job.

So I’m serving one night, and this couple comes in. First off, the floor changed and I was not told this. More so, the floor chart was shoved to the side and not displayed where I could actually see it. So they sat there for a bit before I got to them. I apologized and got their shakes and burgers out asap. I came back multiple times to make sure everything was okay. “Oh yes, everything is good, thank you.” was what I was told. It was when they ordered a shake to-go that things went bad. They waited for-ever for that shake because the shake person was behind. I did everything I could besides going back there and and forcing him to make it. That’s when they asked the manager to come over, and they told him that both the food and the service was horrible. He comped their check, and then after they got their shake, they left – without leaving any tip.

Now okay, I’m not saying I didn’t make any mistakes here. I could have been more attentive to the stations, and I could have asked the manager to make the shake. BUT at the same time, and I’ve seen this countless countless times at my other job too, the couple could have TOLD me their was something wrong with their food BEFORE they ate it all. We are servers, not mind readers. If customers do not tell us there is a problem, then we can not help them. Fortunately my manager was understanding, especially since I’ve been giving great service to all my other customers. However some are not so lucky. Obviously if there’s a complaint on the service then it’s on us.

It just tears me up that full grown adults cannot speak for themselves when they have a problem, and then get upset when said problem isn’t magically fixed. Even if it’s just a small thing, TELL US! Not only will you get a great dining experience, but we will know that you are 100% happy with your meal.

Sincerely,
Angela

 

Twitter Confession @WConfession

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Customer Confession: What Is the Best Way to Tip a Server If You Are a Camper?

Dear Waitress Confessions…

I have a diner question, well a camper diner question. A friend of mine and I only see each other a couple of times a year.  We meet at a Cheesecake Factory typically on a Friday night around 5pm and leave around 10pm. We let our server know that we are gabbers, will be staying long and will tip accordingly.  That being said I want to know if there is a proper way to calculate a tip for camping.  I’ve been searching and searching and only find, “don’t do it – the server isn’t making the right amount” or “tip accordingly”.

We know we are taking a really long time.  We know we are coming on one of the worst nights and times to do this.  We order throughout the visit – generally putting in our dessert order and hour or so before we’re officially done.  We know we are potential PIA’s so we want to make sure that the servers leave feeling as happy with their campers as we, their campers, are!

We keep an eye out on a neighboring table and keep tabs on how many times the table was turned.  We calculate a 20% tip on our bill (tipping on the total amount after tax), then multiply that by the number of times the nearby table turned and round up to an even number.

For example, tonight we had a bill of $86 (it was about double what we typically spend because another person joined us for a while).  I noted the nearby table turned four times (for at least the last hour, the table was empty as were quite a few in the section).  We tipped $17.20 (20%), multiplied by 4 for a total tip of $70 ($50 in cash and $20 on a credit card).  The server seemed put out.

On our previous visit, the bill was $45 and the nearby tables turned three times.  We left the server, who was wonderful, $40 but then we lingered about an hour longer and left an additional $5 cash on the table.  The server was thrilled and let us know.

I generally feel that the tip is appropriate but by the time I get home I start to worry!

We are going to camp so I want to make sure that the server is compensated fairly from us.  What is the right formula for campers to tip so that the server is compensated properly?

(p.s. please don’t hold back – if this formula is stupid and we’re not doing it right, I’d much rather know than continue to do short change servers!)

 
Sincerely,
Happy Camper!
 
 

Dear Happy Camper…

Seems to me like you are a very considerate customer! 
 
Most people don’t realize that staying for hours and hours at a restaurant could be ruining someone’s night financially.  Although paying customers do have a right to enjoy their night as they want, they also need to understand that it is a business and yes – people are there to make money.  Waiters and waitresses mostly rely on their tips as their income, so having a table of two people where their bill is $40.00 for over the span of 5 hours is not going to give them the income they rely on to get by…because let’s face it – on a $40.00 bill even if you leave %20 that means a tip of $8.00 (divided by 5 hours…well…it’s really not a lot).
 
Unfortunately there is no rule or formula for this sort of situation, but I have to say – you may be on to something.  In all honesty, if I had a customer like you who took the time to notice how often my other tables turned and tipped accordingly…well I would be as happy as a clam! 
 
First of all, letting your server know that you will be staying for a long time is a great way to start out.  That way the server can mentally prepare themselves for how they will be serving you…and give them time to accept the idea that they have “lost” a table for the night.  Starting out with that, you may see the disappointment in their face, so following up with the fact that you will try to tip accordingly will lessen the blow a bit.
 
Second, I think keeping track of the tables turning beside you is a great way to somewhat judge how many times the table you’re seated at could have been turned throughout the night. 
 
That being said, I’d like to give you a few pointers on how to use your formula a little bit better (if you would permit me to do so).  Keep in mind, I am in no way saying that “This is the way it should be!”  I am merely suggesting other angles that you may not have considered.
 
#1.  When you’re seated at a table and you know who your server is, ask them if the table next to you is theirs as well.  Some restaurants have the sections for their servers spread out so it creates more movement within the restaurant.  So, if you’re judging the amount of times a table turns next to you in order to gauge how many times you should multiply you tip…well be sure that table belongs to your server.  Why?  Because if that table you’re basing your math on belongs to another server who slacks off and doesn’t care about turning their tables then you may only see it turn over once, whereas if your own server is a great server who can turn it 5 times then in reality your math would be off.  Ask your server if the table next to you theirs and if it is, use it to count the turns.
 
#2.  If you are going out with one other person, upon entering the restaurant I would suggest asking the host/hostess for a table made for two people.  If you’re really worried about being fair and not “screwing” a server over then this would be an important point.  If you don’t mention it, the host/hostess may seat you at a table with a maximum capacity of 4 people.  If you take that table all night, then the server is missing out on getting bigger tables (tables of 3 or 4 people) with bigger bills.  All that they’ll see are groups of 4 people being seated elsewhere and it may put them out that their table of 4 is taken by a table of two.  That way, you can also watch other tables of two and how many times they turn in order to calculate the appropriate tip.
 
#3.  After you have received your dessert and coffee, feel free to ask for the bill right away.  Some servers have to stick around until their customers have paid and even though their shift is over they are not supposed to force you to pay.  So they will wait and wait until you are done so they can finally go home.  Paying doesn’t necessarily mean you have to leave!  Ask your server if it’s alright that you pay them right away and if you stay a while longer.  They will be thrilled!
 
#4. Don’t be taken advantage of!  If you let a server know that you are a “camper”, but will try to tip accordingly and they DO NOT server you properly…I say screw it.  As servers we are supposed to serve everyone equally, whether you stay for half an hour or five hours.  You want to be served by someone who is a good sport and who deserves that fact that you take all these things into consideration when going out to eat.  Because, let’s face it…you don’t HAVE to do this, but it’s amazing that you do.  Don’t let a server’s bad attitude make you tip more because you feel bad.  Do it because a good waiter or waitress deserves it.
 
#5.  Point #4 being said, if you find a server who is thrilled by your tipping formula…stick with them.  Always ask to be served by them.  That way they start to know you as a customer.  They know your likes, dislikes, the pace that you like to be served at, etc.  That way when they see you, they know what to expect for their evening.  You’ll be comfortable knowing that your server knows how to serve you.
 
#6.  If you are at a fancy, expensive restaurant spending only $50.00 when the average bill is $100.00 then yes – you are kinda being “cheap” with the tipping.  If a server would normally be making $80.00 off a a table turning 4 times and you use your formula of %20 tip times 4 turns then the server is making half of what they should be making.  If you are just dining at good places where the average joe goes out for a meal…then don’t worry about it.  Fancier, high end restaurants would be different though.
 
#7.  A point made by Bubba Aldridge on this post shared by The Service Industry on Facebook brought up a very good idea.  “There are some restaurants who make their servers stay until all their tables have left. So, for anyone who knows they may stay an extended amount of time, when you arrive, ask for a closer’s section.”  A very good suggestion!  One to definitely take into consideration.
 
#8. A recent email from Lauren wrote that she would like to just add that “if you are dining at a restaurant that accepts reservations and want to camp that you should inform the person taking the reservation that you plan on spending a long time at your table.  This is  because those restaurants will plan on re-booking the table after a set time from your seating.  Just remember that if you are in a restaurant on a busy night that you will cost the business a loss of revenues as every table is expected to generate a certain amount of income for the night.”  Now, that being said don’t worry about having to spend more because the restaurant will be at a loss of income.  It happens all the time.  But if a restaurant is based on taking a lot of reservations and double/triple booking tables in an evening it would be a great idea to let them know you will be staying a long time so as not to affect another reservation.
 
Anyways, I hope this helped you out, but in all honesty (and in my opinion) you can just keep going the way you are.  I wish more people took the time to think about these things and I would be happy with someone just trying to take the server into consideration while “camping”.  I hoped this helped, and thank you for writing!
 

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The Pros and Cons of Being a Waiter / Waitress

Serve chilled.

There are a lot of different points to think about before considering a job as a waiter or waitress. To some it may seem like a step back in their career, but don’t really understand that it has the potential of being an excellent line of work, whereas others may think it may be the best job without realizing the pitfalls.

So, no matter which attitude you’re starting out with, it’s important to consider a few things before getting to the Pros and Cons of being a restaurant server.

Think about the following:

  • What kind of lifestyle do you want?
  • What kind of pay/income to you need in order to feel secure?
  • Are you willing to give up your weekends?
  • Can you manage a customer service job?
  • Are you willing to go above and beyond for customers?

So, moving on along from that, let’s start off with the list of pros of being a waiter/waitress and serving tables.

PROS

  • Always having cash on hand. You make your money mostly on tips, so leaving with your cash after every shift can be refreshing and extremely motivating.
  • Working less hours, but still making money. A lot of times you have the chance to work busy shifts, but end up making a day’s pay in a few hours. Instead of a 9 to 5, 8 hour days, you can make your money in sometimes 5 hours or less.
  • Always active.   Serving tables means running around grabbing this and that, carrying trays, bringing plates to tables, etc. By constantly moving you are constantly keeping fit rather than sitting in one chair for hours at a time, staring at a computer screen. You’re always on the move.
  • You’re around people. Being around people means hearing interesting stories, interacting and laughing. You also get to witness some pretty crazy stuff (read our True Stories) because, let’s face it, there is always something interesting happening if you’re around people. If you’re a social person than this is your best opportunity because the friendlier you are…the better the tips!
  • You have the ability to control your income – a bit. Since most of your income depends on your tips you have a bit of control of how the customers will show their appreciation for your service. The better service you give, they better tips – or at least the better chance of getting a good tip. So if you can charm your way into your hearts and give them the service they need…ka-ching!
  • The ability to be replaced. A lot of restaurants will allow servers to replace other servers as long as they are equal in their capabilities and experience. Being able to be replaced for a shift is excellent if you want a night off or have plans with family. With other types of jobs sometimes you have to take a sick or personal day, whereas with waitressing sometimes you can just call someone up last minute and have someone work your shift!
  • You don’t have to bring your work home with you. Once you’re off the clock, you never have to take work home with you in order to meet deadlines or carry the worry of wondering if the stress of your shift that day will bleed into the next day. Once a day is over – it’s over. Tomorrow is another day, another chance to better your day!
  • Once you’ve worked as a waiter/waitress…you can pretty much work anywhere as a server. Restaurants are always hiring. It may not be the classiest of restaurants, but if you need to move or are stuck without a job you can always turn to serving tables. You can work in hotels, on cruises, fast food restaurants, family owned restaurants, diners…I mean the choices are endless. As long as there are restaurants, there are jobs for servers.
  • Extra money during the holidays and special days. Days like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and around Christmas time you make a lot of extra money. Those times of the year bring in more people, bigger reservations, parties, etc. So there are times during the year where you make a little more than usual. Consider it like your bonus!
  • The good coworkers. What makes working as a server worthwhile sometimes are the people you work with. Your coworkers who have the same kind of work ethic as you will band together and create a strong bond. If you’re lucky, you’ll have other servers helping you out when you’re in the weeds, rooting for you to make more money, help serve your tables if you need a bathroom break, etc. Some coworkers will go above and beyond for you if you’ve got each other’s backs.
  • Employee outings and get-togethers. If you work with a good team, chances are you’re going to want to hang out with the people you work with. Sometimes people plan outings such as going out to a bar for a drink after work, playing team sports on your days off, paintball, going to see movies, house parties, barbecues, staff Christmas parties, etc. If you have good people you work with it’s like a second family where no one is left behind.

CONS

  • With experience and loyalty comes great responsibility. That basically means that the more you know about the restaurant, whether it be from hostess to the back of the house, the more work you may have to do compared to your coworkers. People will rely on you and expect more of you, which could make for even more stress from you. Will you get paid for the extra weight you pull? Maybe not.
  • Having to work weekends. If you’re working in a restaurant, there is pretty much a 100% chance of working weekends. While all of your friend, family and loved ones are off on weekend getaways and having dinner parties, you are the one “stuck serving” all the people out for a night on the town.
  • Always having money on hand. Yes – this is also a pro! But, people who are apt to spending the cash they have could have a major problem with managing their money. Cash is so easy to spend, especially if all the staff is going out for a drink afterwards.
  • After a while – it takes a toll on your body. So many times, servers who have been working for years will feel the effects of carrying heavy plates and constantly being on their feet. Back problems and knee problems are not uncommon. Being a server puts a lot of stress on your body.
  • No benefits. Whereas other companies give their employees benefits from sick days to dental, most restaurants do not provide that for their employees. Are you sick? You have to show up or you don’t get paid.’
  • Having to deal with @$$holes. Yup, I hate to say it, but it’s true. People can be jerks and you will deal with a lot of them. It varies from people who know nothing about the restaurant business, impatient people, people who think you’re their slave, and just plain down-right MEAN people. I’m not saying you have to take whatever crap people throw at you, but if you don’t have a thick enough hide to let some thinks just roll off of you…then this is not the job for you.
  • The bad co-workers. Oh my goodness…there are so many of them! Bad coworkers will ruin your day and can make you lose your mind. It’s always the co-workers who are always late, constantly check their phone in the back, sneak out a million times a night for a smoke break, ignore their customers, talk back to the kitchen, are rude to your tables, asking for replacements but never replacing anyone, and run around looking like they are busy but never actually lifting a finger. It can drive you NUTS!!! Sometimes it makes you think “Why do I bother working so hard?” and can make your motivation just plummet to the ground.
  • Having to work with a different set of “rules” than other jobs. What I mean by that is that the restaurant business has a different way of working. Sure you have the same set of work code and rules as other places…but sometimes not. Now, how shall I put this? For example, the busiest Saturday night you could ever imagine. There are people everywhere! A large party in the back corner is partying it up and talking and laughing loudly. There are kids running around the restaurant and their parents don’t seem to care. The ticket printer at the kitchen is running non-stop and drinks are just flying out of the bar. It’s loud. It’s chaotic. Suddenly, you make a serious mistake. You sent a table’s order, but they wanted to wait. Now the customers are furious that their food came out already and they want you to bring the plates back to the kitchen because they are in no way ready for their meals. You’re scared, because you screwed up and walk back towards the kitchen. Whoever is managing the kitchen is working in overdrive, trying to control everything. They’re sweating from calling out orders, yelling out directions and trying to stay on the ball…and now you have to tell them that you effed-up and throw their whole system off. They look at you at first like they don’t believe you…then you get the “Are you f*cking serious?!?!” look. Next think you know they kick a small garbage bin into the wall and call you an idiot. Is that the way people deal with mistakes in other jobs? No…not really. But, in the restaurant business there is a lot of frustration, especially when under the pressure of a jam packed restaurant. People lose their cool, managers yell, dishwashers quit on the spot with no notice, hostesses won’t seat your section if you do something they don’t like, people back stab and try to screw you over. That’s just the way it works sometimes.
  • The high possibility of becoming angry and bitter. Serving tables after a while can leave you feeling angry and bitter. If you’re not careful, you could find yourself constantly bashing your customers to other servers in the back, judging customers as soon as they sit down, getting down right pissed off about the tips that people leave you. It can get so bad that to a certain point there is nothing good about serving any more. You lose your faith in the good of the human race. The worst is that this kind of behavior is contagious. If you’re around other servers who are constantly angry and complaining about the little things, you’ll start to feel that way too unless you are of VERY strong character. You can turn into someone you don’t like…so be careful.
  • Dining out. Some servers aren’t able to dine out in the way people who don’t serve tables dine out. They will start judging their servers more, especially if they are horrible waiters, and constantly be cleaning up the table or stacking empty plates. They expect the same level of service as they give…and sometimes that’s just not the case. They’ll watch the way people work, hear the phone ringing, watch as their drinks just sit at the bar as they wait, and they know when their steak is over or under cooked. They know how things work and it can distract them from just enjoying their night out. That and sometimes being in a restaurant just reminds them of work.
  • Alcohol/drug abuse. Being in the restaurant business and serving tables can lead to all sorts of alcohol and/or drug problems. Where are you going to go to unwind with co-workers after work at 1 am? Most likely a bar or club. And what do people do at bars and clubs? Well, the answer is pretty obvious. Also, the stress of working in the business can lead to people looking for ways to relax and escape the realities of life. If you’re working as a server at a bar, people by you drinks, shots, and are looking for you to have a good time with them. Sometimes it’s just too hard to say no.

 Just remember…

Not all restaurants are the same.  Each individual restaurant has their own sets of advantages and disadvantages to working as a waiter or waitress.  Part of the decision is at least knowing what could potentially happen and having an all around idea of the good and the bad.  Take both sides into consideration when opting to serve tables and be ready for the best…and the worst.

Good luck!

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Where’s My Food?!

“Serving up the surprising truth about waiters and waitresses”


The Waitress Confessions
recently received a post on its Facebook Page (join the club and like us!) about a documentary film that is in the works by Telsius Productions called Where’s My Food?!.

From what we can gather from the 1.5 minute trailer is that this awesome documentary is about the reality of being a server and how the restaurant business actually is – because let’s face it, you have no clue about it until you’re in it .  Nine food servers are interviewed and spill their guts on the reality of the crazy amounts of money you could make in one shift, the kinds of tips people leave, the disgustingly low hourly salary rate (and that’s my opinion), and “the dark side of the industry” – alcohol and drug abuse.  Not only does it discuss the dramatic side of serving tables, but also the fact that as servers we live off of our tips.  Out sick one day? Well then we don’t get paid.  No sick days means sometimes having to choose between staying home and getting well or going in sick and running ourselves to the ground just so we can pay our rent.

“Great blog, Marie! You should probably be aware of our soon-to-be-released documentary “Where’s My Food?!” that looks deep inside the world of America’s
hard working and underpaid waiters and waitresses.”

 

We thought this would be an excellent trailer to show to you all, whether you are in the service industry or not.  Take a look and tell us what you think.  Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @WConfessions!

 

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When Your Tips Just Don’t Add Up

tipsToday was such a great day.  I had an amazing lunch rush for a Sunday and everyone seemed to be in the best of moods.  And you know what good moods mean?  Good tips!  I won’t lie, I schmoozed a little bit, but was genuinely happy to be serving our customers today.  Life was good and the tips were generous.

The night shift was slow, but I had a couple of good tables that left me $20.00 so that helped me out quite a bit.  At the end of my shift, I tallied up the tips that I had made throughout the day (I keep a record so that I have a good idea of what I’ll be leaving with).  So, here’s the number all my tips added up to:

$173.00

I felt very happy about that.  I worked hard, served my customers well, ran plates and drinks, cleaned and helped other waiters.  Seemed like for the amount of work I put in…well it was fair.  When it came to doing my “reading” or my “report” (where the manager checks all my credit cards, interacs, cash, and tip-outs) I was left with $120.00.

$120.00?!?!?

It didn’t make sense to me.  Didn’t add up.  So when I checked how much I tipped out ($22.00) and deducted that from my total, I was left with $151.00 (which would make sense).  But where was that $30.00?  The manager checked everything again and even went as far as to go through all my bills with me in case another waiter was ringing up orders on my code and closing it cash.  Hey..it could happen.  But that wasn’t the case.  I was missing $30.00

What a bitch, lemme tell ya!  What happened to that money?  Other servers were asking “Did you put some money aside? Put it somewhere else by accident?” and the answer was plain and simple: NO!  I am very careful with my money when it comes to counting and keeping it safe in my apron. So what happened?  I honestly have absolutely no idea.  The only thing I can think of is if it accidentally fell out of my money clip.  But everything stays together in one place and it’s pretty secure.

So, I had no choice but to accept it.  Everything else balanced and the restaurant isn’t going to reimburse me for any lost money because it is…technically…my fault.  But, when you’re a stickler for precision and money, it’s really hard to believe that I misplaced it.  I just left.  Took the hit and left.

Getting home and opening a cheap bottle of wine to drown my sorrows in, I keep going over my day – wondering if I somehow miscalculated or put money aside without realizing it. But my thoughts also dance around the idea of relying on technology to calculate all of my sales, tips, taxes and discounts.  Could the computer I use somehow be deducting money without me realizing?  Is it possible that somewhere in the computer system there is a glitch?

The idea of the possibility of technology being the culprit scares me, because to be honest I have no idea how it works.  All the deductions and calculations it automatically makes.  As an owner or manager, you can set the computer to pretty much whatever you want, so in my mind…is it possible that something somewhere in the computer is making a deduction it shouldn’t?  Now…that’s a scary thought.

But us, as servers, how are we supposed to know this? Just take the word of the people we work for who are mostly there to make money?  Sounds like it could be fishy to me, especially when they are the ones setting the conditions for the computer system. We can’t exactly approach them and say “What’s the deal here? I’m missing money!!” and expect them to pay out of their pocket when they believe you’re the one who lost it somehow.  There’s no way to prove it, no complete record of cash (because a server could just pocket it), no way to show that you made the money you made 100%.

So it’s a problem – at least in my eyes.

I’ll take it as a bad day.  A day where I lost money somewhere and it cost me in tips.  There’s nothing more I can do except write about it and then move on.  But in reality – it does come down to money.  And I need money to pay for bills, food, rent, etc.  The missing money is almost my cellphone bill for the month.  When you look at it that way, when your tips just don’t add up, it’s not just a few dollars here and there.  It can be a whole big difference.

 

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Sometimes It’s Worth It – by Ashley Parsons


Here at The Waitress Confessions we love hearing about your own daily lives as a waiter or waitress.  Here is a post that we found called Sometimes It’s Worth It by Ashley Parsons over at Why We Waitress.  Click here to view the original post.


Sometimes…image (1)If I had a dollar for every time I thought, “I can’t take it anymore. I’m quitting tonight,” I wouldn’t have to be a waitress.  We’ve all had those nights: it’s a half hour past closing time, and your table asks for a dessert menu, or right at last call, the birthday-drunk customer asks for 15 flaming Dr. Pepper shots. You think of responding with a laugh (or maybe flipping the table over), but you don’t. You plaster a smile on your face, ask if they’d like whipped cream on it, and tell them to enjoy the rest of their evening.

…but what about the good nights?

All too often, us servers forget about the times we don’t care how bad our feet hurt because we’re counting the cash in our hands. Every now and again, we get lucky, and customers actually give us what we bust our asses to earn. For example:

About a year ago, this cute couple came in for dinner. She was a nurse, and he was a writer – I guess opposites DO attract. Sometime during my usual schmoozy-small talk, I mentioned that I was an English major and very much into creative writing. When I handed them their check, WriterGuy started telling me about this old typewriter they had: no idea how old it is, but totally beautiful. It was just collecting dust in their attic.

(Side note: I’m obsessed with old typewriters.)

I spent about five minutes drooling over the details they gave me and fangirling over how cool it must be. Then NiceNurse said, “You want it?”

Uh…what?

They didn’t want it to go to some antiques road show. Said it should be with someone that will really cherish it. They didn’t know how much it was worth and didn’t care to.

A month later, they brought me the most beautiful machine I’ve ever seen: a 1936 Royal portable typewriter in almost mint condition, traveling case still totally intact.

Like I said — sometimes, it’s worth it.

by Ashley Parsons