LaCrecia 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!!!
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.
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!
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.
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!
Tell Us What You Think!
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.
- 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 co–workers. 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.
- 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.
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.
“Serving up the surprising truth about waiters and waitresses”
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!
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…
when 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
Share Your Story With Us!
Dear Waitress Confessions…
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
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!
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!
There’s a special place in hell for people who tip on the amount after the coupon is applied #waitressproblems
— WaitressProblems (@WaitressProbs) November 23, 2013
— katelynn (@katelynnwatson) January 19, 2014
When I have coffee pots in my hands & the elderly customers look at me & say “Nice jugs😏” #waitressproblems
— Queen K (@kimmariexoxo) January 21, 2014
Having dreams about the restaurant long after you’ve quit. 😁 #waitressproblems
— Celia ☯ (@ceefunshinee) January 21, 2014
Want us to feature your Tweet?
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!
— Smoky Mo (@bluebirdie2424) December 5, 2013
— samantha baca (@samanthabaca84) December 23, 2013
— Susan Gwozdz (@Sue_Q311) December 31, 2013
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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.
— samantha baca (@samanthabaca84) November 19, 2013
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AS 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.
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.
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.