That Restaurant Life by vickyamartin


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 That Restaurant Life by vickyamartin.  Check out her blog and read the original post


 

Back in 2012…

waitress pollwhen I was looking for a summer job, I remember countless people saying to me “Become a waitress!  You will make a ton of money.”  As a college student I thought, how bad could it be?  The money that came from tips sounded appealing and I worked as a cook in a pizza shop since high school so I had some restaurant experience.  I got hired at a Buffalo Wild Wings and there I learned what waitressing was all about. And after swearing to myself that I would never wait tables again for any reason after quitting that job, I decided to work at a local bar and restaurant once again this past summer.

On a busy Friday night, restaurants are a nightmare. Waiters and waitresses are bumping into one another while running food and drinks to tables, cooks are yelling at one another to complete orders, and the printer is spitting out orders to the cooks almost constantly.

As a waitress at a restaurant that has a bar, I have become accustomed to staying up until 2 a.m. waiting for a handful of customers to drink their final beer after last call.  I have met some customers who are always a delight to wait on.  Those people understand that the servers and bartenders are working for far less than minimum wage ($2.13 an hour) and their positive attitudes make it easy to enjoy my job.  They also understand what gratuity is fair and our paychecks are hardly enough to buy dinner at McDonalds.  Their tips are what we use to get by; they are the cash that goes into our pockets at the end of the night.  Then there are the people who do not understand said tipping concept, or the effort being put in my cooks, bartenders, and servers to keep the restaurant sailing smoothly. Whether it is ignorance or a bad experience that prevent these people from tipping, it still should not be the servers pay that suffers.  I work at a restaurant that does not add gratuity to checks and many of times have found that it should be mandatory.

One busy Saturday night in January, I was running around from table to table as usual; refilling Pepsi with the one soda machine in the restaurant, running beer and drinks to customers, taking food and drink orders, and checking to see how my eight or nine tables were doing.  I introduced myself to an older couple got them their drinks and took their food order.  While waiting for their food to come up, I ran checks to other customers who were leaving and took drinks to new arriving customers.

When the older couple’s hoagies were ready, I took them to the table and asked if they needed anything else, and left.  When I returned to their table, what I experienced was something worse than scorn you would receive from your own mother.

“This is unacceptable!” the old man shouted at me.  The woman chimed in and added that my service was terrible as they had watched their hoagies sit on the oven for a whole two minutes while I brought drinks to my other customers. When I offered to get them something else to eat on the house, suddenly nothing was good enough.  If they were not the center of my attention the whole night, I wasn’t a good enough waitress either.  I gave them their check and got a 13 cent tip.  The inability to understand how a restaurant works and lash out at your waitress for something they could not control shocked me. When waiting on many tables at once, it isn’t right to skip out on taking care of one table because of the impatient needs of another.

I realized from this experience why I enjoy my job as a waitress.  Interacting with people and making them smile and laugh while they are out to dinner also puts a smile on my face.  Seeing families together having a good time helps me suck up the fact that I am getting paid $2.13 an hour. And most of the time, goodhearted people are the understanding ones who have worked for minimum wage or less and are generous.

It is possible some people will find a reason to be cheap and skip out on tipping their waitress because of just about anything.  I came across an article from the Huffington Post about a waitress from New Jersey who was left a note instead of a tip by a family of four.  It read “I’m sorry but I cannot tip because I do not agree with your lifestyle choices.” The woman, who was gay, also happened to be a marine and posted a photo of the note to Facebook.  This is an example that people are unethical and look for reasons to not tip.  In this case, the family was banned from the restaurant and the waitress received an outpouring of donations after this incident went public.  While I do not believe that all non-tippers should be banned from restaurants—because sometimes there is good reason for not tipping—I believe if you are eating out at a restaurant and have a server provide you good service, gratuity should be mandatory.  Many people raise children, pay for their education, and pay living expenses from their tips as servers.

As a server, you have to have a backbone.  The bottom line is that if people are not working hard at a restaurant, the restaurant will likely fail.  If all restaurants added in gratuity that could be taken off in the event of terrible service, which does happen, servers would still work hard and things would run efficiently, perhaps even better.  Waiters and waitresses can go home with money to pay their expenses like workers of other occupations, rather than having their wallet pay because of someone’s personal issues.

Written by : vickyamartin

 

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Dear Waitress Confessions : Applying for a Job as a Waitress Without Experience

Dear Waitress Confessions…

“Hi there!

I decided to contact you because I am looking to start waitressing. I read some of your posts and found your stories really  interesting. I just moved to a new city (Calgary Alberta) and was wanting to try out something I would not back home, waitressing.

I’m not someone that goes to the bar often but would to get more comfortable to the restaurant environment. Can you give me some recommendations how I can start? My previous experience was in customer service. This would be a part time opportunity for me.

How should I approach or find an opportunity? Should my resume be different than my bank opportunity? How should I dress for an interview? How do I know if a restaurant want me to wear a certain type of clothing I’m not comfortable with, example Moxies. Thank you so much for your time, hope you can help me with overcoming this experience.”  ~Kitty

 

Dear Kitty…

First off, thank you so much for taking the time to write!

Part time waitressing is great, especially if you are just looking for make some extra cash on the side.  Since this would be your first experience waitressing, you may have to opt for “less fancier” restaurants.  Higher end restaurants ask for years of experience and it is very competitive.

The best approach, in my own opinion, would be to look for places that are willing to hire based on your experience working in customer service.  Even if you have no servingg experience, they may be just dying to find someone who excels in that area.  That, in my opinion, is definitely worth a shot.

Your resume should reflect exactly who you are and what skills you believe you have in order to convince them to give you a chance.  Are you a good multitasker?  Are you active? Do you learn quickly? Are you great with people?  Take the time to think of the great qualities it takes to be a waitress.

As for the interview process, it could depend a lot on what type of restaurant, but I would always for for the professional look.  Wear your hair up in a very professional, clean cut way if you have long hair.  Working in the restaurant business, you always need to have your hair tied up.  It will give them the chance to see what you would look like that way.

Upon entering a restaurant, have a pen ready, ask to speak with the manager and be really nice to the hostess since they will be the one who is going between you and the manager.  If you’re rude to her and if she is very close and open with the manager, she may tell him that you aren’t worth his time and miss out.  Find out when the quiet hours are to go in order to meet the manager/owner face to face, because there is nothing worse to a manager than having someone come in during a rush. Do NOT be that person…shows you don’t know how the restaurant business works.  Call in advance to find out when the best time would be.

Smile…..A LOT!  But, you know, not in a scary way.  Ask questions and be honest.  If you’re concerned about what a restaurant would want you to wear, then ask them what the dress code is and if there are any ways around that.  If you’re not comfortable with the dress code then move on to another restaurant.  You’ll be saving yourself the trouble and won’t be wasting their time either.

Also, there is nothing that people in the restaurant hate more (ok—im exaggerating just a bit) than someone who says that they have more experience than they do.  Because they will be able to tell right away.  It’s just the way it is.

I wish you all the luck in the world!

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Applying for a Job at a Restaurant: When To Bring Your Resume
Tip of the Day: Looking to Work in a Restaurant

Happy Anniversary to The Waitress Confessions!

cropped-thewaitressconfessions1.jpg“I year ago I decided to start a blog….”

Originally, The Waitress Confessions was started to help me vent about the problems at work and everything revolving around the restaurant business.  But something happened.  Instead of wanting to (excuse my language) bitch about the woes of waitressing, I realized that I wanted to help servers find ways to improve their work ethic and customer service, while at the same time providing them with true stories that they can relate to and helpful tips that they can implement into their every day serving skills.

Not only did I want to help servers, but diners as well.  There are so many people out there who, through no fault of their own, don’t realize what goes on behind the scenes at a restaurant and wouldn’t really know exactly how things work.  It’s no ones fault…but people need to speak up about the do’s and don’ts of eating out.  I really wanted people to know proper dining etiquette and realize that servers are regular, normal people – not servants.

I wanted to take a moment and sincerely thank The Waitress Confessions’ loyal readers.  I appreciate all the feed back and comments more than you’ll know.  I also wanted to thank Total Food Service – Metro New York’s Foodservice Publication at www.totalfood.com for giving me a chance to publish one article a month in their magazine.  It was certainly an unexpected surprise to hear from them one day and I am glad to have been invited to be part of their publications.

So, what’s our plan for the upcoming year?  Well, we’re hoping to build more of a community by inviting people to type in their email address and follow us and send in either their true, tips, or comments.  We’ve gotten a great response from our Twitter Confessions (send us your Twitter Confessions @WConfessions) and are hoping that waiters and waitresses from all over will start using the hashtag #wconfessions when wanting to dish out any secrets or confessions about serving tables.

So feel free to be a part of The Waitress Confessions community by following us! And once again…thank you!

To be part of the community…

 

Follow us on Twitter
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Today’s Twitter Confessions

The Waitress Confessions’ Twitter Confessions are found on a weekly basis from tweets either tweeted to @WConfessions or hashtags related to serving tables.  All of us need to vent off the troubles of the day or brag about the amazing tips we got.  Take a look at what fellow servers had to say this week!

 

Want us to feature your Tweet?

Follow us on twitter and send us a tweet @WConfessions! Or, simply use the hashtag  #WConfessions for the chance to be featured on our blog!

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Today’s Twitter Confessions

The Waitress Confessions’ Twitter Confessions are found on a weekly basis from tweets either tweeted to @WConfessions or hashtags related to serving tables.  All of us need to vent off the troubles of the day or brag about the amazing tips we got.  Take a look at what fellow servers had to say this week!

Want us to feature your Tweet?

Follow us on twitter and send us a tweet @WConfessions! Or, simply use the hashtag  #WConfessions for the chance to be featured on our blog!

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Happy New Year!

Dear readers,

I hope this holiday season has been treating you well and all the best for the New Year.

I’ve finally finished working crazy hours and double shifts and am looking forward to some well deserved days off.  How about you? Was this holiday season a rough one for you as a server?

Please stick around for new articles and posts this upcoming month.  I’m looking forward to hearing from you all.

Here’s a little picture I thought might brighten your days.  As a server, I’m totally feeling this one.

Cheers!

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True Story: The Proposal

Romantic Dinner
Romantic Dinner by Samantha Ombregt

Last Wednesday, I was replacing a coworker of mine since she needed the day off.  I was getting ready for work when my boss calls me, saying he forgot to schedule a waiter to come in at 4 o’clock and asked if I could come in early.  I said “No problem” and headed off to work.

As I get to the restaurant, I see that there is a table just being seated and since I know it will be mine, I change as quickly as possible.The day waitress has already taken their wine order and is explaining to me the specials of the day when I see another couple being seated two tables down. I’m excited, since I won’t just be waiting around for tables to come in.

I head over to the table, say a friendly hello and inform them of the specials and ask if they want anything to drink.

Just water, thanks.” They both say.

I get them two glasses of water and give them time to look through the menu.  As I head back towards the kitchen, I start a fresh pot of coffee and see the man from the second table get up and head towards the washrooms.  I smile at him as he passes and he motions to follow him.  What the hell? I think.  I walk towards the hallway leading to the bathroom and ask “May I help you?”

He calls me further down the hallway without saying a word, and when we are out of sight of the rest of the restaurant he says:

“I need a really big favor from you.”

“Okaaaay…” I say hesitantly.  He’s reaching around in his pocket for God knows what.

He pulls out a little, tiny plastic baggie and says:

“I’m proposing to my girlfriend and would really appreciate it if you could put it in the chocolate mousse and bring it to the table.”

At first I felt relieved to see a beautiful ring inside and then extremely happy.  How cute!  Then the nerves kicked in after he left the ring with my after I promised to do my part.

What if I lose it? What if I drop it? What if she says no?

All these thoughts were going through my head and I could not imaging what he was going through. I tried to act normal at the table as I took their order.  He was drinking water like a fish (probably because of the nerves) so I made sure to refill it as much as possible, especially after he finished his meal.

She took 15 minutes after he was done eating to finish her meal.  I could feel the nervers as he played nervously with his napkin and probably thinking “Hurry up and finish eating! I want to tell you I want to spend the rest of my life with you!

Then I realized, as I picked up her plate (finally), that I never asked him if he wanted me to just bring the dessert or go one with the service as usual and he’ll ask me for it.  What if he’s changed his mind at the last second?  So, I went to get the dessert menu and told them I’d give them a few seconds to choose.  When I went back to the table I asked her if she was having dessert.  She said “Oh God, no.  I’m way too full!”  So I turned to him and asked if he’d saved any room.  He ordered the chocolate mousse and I said “Excellent choice. It’s my favorite.

So I went to prepare the dessert, place the ring on top of the mint leaves we use to dress-up the mousse, and started walking to the table.  Don’t drop it, don’t drop it, I kept thinking.  I decided to come from behind the woman so she wouldn’t see me approaching with it and so that he would see me from afar and prepare for whatever speech he was going to give.  I placed it on the table, gave him a confident nod and walked away.

There was a gasp and a huge smile, but she never put the ring on and he never took it to put it on her finger.  Did she say yes?  So after 2 minutes I walked by the table without looking, turned around to the man and he gave me a thumbs up sign.  Phew!  She said yes!  There were tears of joy, squeals of delight, kisses, hugs, and phone calls to family.  I brought them a little bottle of champagne “On the house! Congratulations!” I said.

He paid for their meal and hand in hand they walked out of the restaurant.

I was a part of someone’s big day, helped a man propose to the woman of his dreams.  It made my whole night.  Thank goodness I didn’t screw it up.

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Waiters’ top 20 ways to not be a horrible restaurant customer

Ralph DailyA coworker of mine showed me this article in our local newspaper and just had to share it with me and the rest of the staff.  Most of us can relate to it, so I seriously encourage you, as a server, to take a look and realize that you are not alone with these feelings! Most of them are completely normal. Some we agree with, some we don’t, but it’s important for us to feel like there are other people out there going through the exact same thing day after day.

There are so many things that customers do, whether intentionally or not, that really irks us as servers.

If you are going out to a restaurant, please check out these Waiters’ top 20 ways to not be a horrible restaurant customer.

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Today’s Twitter Confession: Napkin No-Nos

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Follow us on twitter and send us a tweet @WConfessions! Or, simply use the hashtag  #WConfessions for the chance to be featured on our blog!

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Surviving the Holidays as a Restaurant Server

DO_Lakeview Restaurant_ChristmasAS THE TEMPERATURE DROPS and December nears, you can feel it in the air that the holiday season is upon us.  Restaurants are a zoo this time of year and already you start to cringe at the thought of hearing those dreaded Christmas songs over and over again during your work shift.  Just knowing that this time of year brings throngs of family get-togethers and staff holiday parties will either make you ecstatic at the thought of all those tips you’ll be earning…or make you want to rip your hair out.

Before the holiday rush starts, you need to be mentally and physically prepared so that you don’t become (as my boss says) “burnt toast” by the end of it all.  Accepting the holidays for what they are is a big part of getting through it, but there are also a few things you can do to make this time less stressful.

Start shopping now.

If you’re giving gifts to loved ones this holiday season, do yourself a favor and start buying your presents as soon as humanly possibly.  The last thing you need is to scramble to find someway to get your shopping done on your break in-between shifts.  Just finding parking will take you at least half an hour!  Not to mention the lineups to pay and having to push through crowds of people at the food court.  You’ll end up feeling frustrated and rushed, which never helps when you have to get back to the hustle and bustle at work.  Getting this done sooner will help clear your mind while on the job, allowing you to focus less on all the things you need to get done for the holidays.

Accept that you will be working longer hours.

Sometimes it’s difficult to transition into the holidays as a server.  If you’re used to getting off work, for example, at 8:00 p.m. on Thursday nights and then all of a sudden you’re staying past closing time, it can be quite a shock to your system.  Plans you make fall through because the restaurant is busier than usual, your feet and arms are even more sore from serving more tables, and you finish your shift feeling like you’ve got no free time for yourself.  It can leave you emotionally discouraged and possibly make you bitter towards your manager for keeping you longer than usual, but you need to accept that that’s the restaurant business.  The sooner you accept that you’ll be working longer hours, the less of a shock it will be when you do.

Get plenty of rest.

I know it’s the time of year where friends and family gather and you’re invited to parties every single weekend, but keep in mind that going to too many outings or staying out until the wee hours of the morning is going to end up catch up with you at work.  Try to get the best of both worlds without compromising your sleep.  Trust me, you’ll feel fresh and alert and keep you going strong rather than waking up with hangovers, wondering how you’re ever going to get through your double-shift.

Remember to stay calm.

We all know the holidays bring around many different types of guests.  You’ll get customers who have never been to your restaurant before and will ask a million questions in the middle of the rush, you’ll have guests who are unaware of proper dining etiquette and leave you feeling like there is no hope for humanity, and you’ll serve tables that seem to have no clue about how the tipping process works.  Just remember to do one thing….breathe.  Go easy on your customers because they are just as stressed about the holidays as you are.  Some people only go out to eat around the holidays in order to treat themselves or just going along with what their family and/or friends want, so it’s part of your job to make them feel comfortable.  Smile and be patient.  If you’re constantly getting frustrated, it’s going to wear you out and tear you down before you even realize what hit you. The calmer you are with “difficult” customers, the more relaxed you’ll feel overall.

Stay healthy.

The holidays bring along a huge assortment of mouth-watering feasts, tasty cocktails and decadent desserts.  Try to stick to your healthy ways by remembering to get plenty of exercise and make sure you don’t overindulge in food or drink.  It will help keep up your energy while serving tables.

If possible, celebrate the holidays on your days off.

Having to turn down holiday plans because of work can really take a toll on you.  You feel like you’re missing out on family time and never get to see your close friends.  While everyone is off of work for the holidays, we as servers are stuck serving.  Our loved ones tell us “Just take the day off!”, but we all know it isn’t as simple as that – but, oh how we wish it were!  Try to organize a dinner party or holiday breakfast on your days off so that you can partake in the festivities as well.

Rant about work with your coworkers after your shift.

There’s nothing like letting off a little steam with the people who understand your job the best.  If you have some coworkers that you really get along with, go out for a drink after work and let it all out.  Get mad, laugh, go on and on about how great or how bad your shift was and get it all out of your system.  Holding everything inside will eventually cause you to explode – possibly taking it out on a customer or causing you to quit in mid-rush.

Reward yourself.

While everyone has time off for the holidays, you’re running around like a chicken with its head cut off at work.  So, after the holiday rush is done and before Valentine’s day rolls around, see if you can find some time to take a few days or even a week off for yourself.  Think of it like a reward for working your butt off.  Or, if your prefer, put aside some of that extra money you earned and treat yourself to something that will help you recharge your batteries.  You honestly deserve it.

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Ellen Degeneres Gives Waitress a New Car!

Sometimes a little goes a long way…

As waiters and waitresses, we need to do our best to remember that sometimes all the little things we do for our guests can go a long way.  We can brighten someone’s day, help make two people’s first date go smoothly with good food and good drinks, sometimes give a little something on the house when it’s someone’s birthday or anniversary, etc.  Just a smile can change someone’s mood for the better.  Every little bit counts.

Now, we may not all have someone like Ellen notice and give us a $10,000 tip or a brand new car, but we should still do all the small things that make everyone’s life just a little easier.  The perks of being a server.

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Featured in Total Food Service : November Issue

The Waitress Confessions - Total Food Service

I’m happy to announce that The Waitress Confessions was featured on another website!

Please check out Total Food Service  or click on the image on the right to view the article “To Write or Not to Write? The Pros and Cons of Memorizing Orders “ on page 48-49.

Also feel free to browse previous featured posts:

August 2013 : 8 Tips on How To Train a New Waiter/Waitress

September 2013 : Regular Customers: How to Keep Them Coming Back For More

October 2013What Not to Do… According to Customers

See you soon!

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Today’s Twitter Confessions: Awkward Moments

Want us to feature your Tweet?

Follow us on twitter and send us a tweet @WConfessions! Or, simply use the hashtag  #WConfessions for the chance to be featured on our blog!

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