Sunday, July 17, 2016

A pleasant surprise.

Today was a weird day. I walked in to everyone running around, the kitchen backed up, because there were a bunch of larger parties. I get sat with one table, once they're taken care of I start doing what I can to help my coworkers. Run food, bus tables, the usual. I'm still not really getting sat because my station can't accommodate the bigger parties, so I'm just doing busywork.

I'm cashing out my one table, with my MOD because they have a coupon, and as I'm walking through the kitchen again (I have not been away from my station more than five-ten minutes) he stops to ask if 43 is mine. I say yes, and he tells a couple says they've been waiting for 20 minutes with no service.
I said, "That can't be possible! I've only been away from my section for as long as I was with you!"
He says, "I know that was an exaggeration, just get over there and tell them I grabbed you to take the table. You're not blaming anyone and it sounds like you're doing them a favor."
Verrrrry clever.

So I'm not looking forward to this. The exaggerated wait time means they're going to be difficult. They're rolling their eyes, but I grab their drinks and their order and tell them I'm very sorry, I'll take care of them. Of course, I mess up their order. 
Completely my fault, I hit the wrong button on the POS. They're rolling their eyes again, I get the right order out and of course have it comped. At this point, I was going to take care of their check if it wasn't because I was so embarrassed.

Okay, so I've run their card and I can tell they're still aggravated, but they're all boxed up and ready to go. I give them the receipts and a pen to sign and tell them again, I'm very sorry. She hands me a cash tip, which was about 20% on the bill before the comps, and says, "I know it wasn't your fault."

I was really, really shocked. I told her the order mess-up was my fault and I was sorry again, I hope they come back soon. And you know what, I meant it.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

I figured it out.

I'm making the same per-hour tips as I did at the diner. You know, like 40 in 4 hours. But I honestly feel, throughout the day, that I'm making nothing.
The reason is, I'm making the same tips, just on higher bills. At the diner, I was grateful for a five because the bills were only 15-20 for two people. Now, I have a two-top with a $50 tab giving me 5.
So, I'm making the same money because the tips are the same - but my percentage is way low. I know it's not me. That's all I keep telling myself, "I know it's not me."

Saturday, July 9, 2016

"So.. what's your REAL job?"

I think I've posted about this before. People seem to think of servers as servants, obviously, and there must be something else for us.

A few weeks ago, a customer had stopped me to give me his rewards card and I ran it. He had hidden his credit card to pay behind the check slip and I simply didn't see it. He asked me for his card back and I said I didn't receive one. So, already knowing where it was, he pulled it out and said, "are you going to college or something? Probably Biology."
Whatever that means, I laughed it off and said, "hey, close, it's Anthropology." He responded, "I could have guessed." Again, whatever that means. Dude probably didn't even know what Anthro is.

So for the 4th I'm with my mom and some friends who ask about the new job. One of them is pretty concerned if I graduated and what I'm doing now.
My mom snaps back, "Exactly what she's doing."

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Well, that was new.

Okay, so I've never worked in a place that sells alcohol before. I've also never worked corporate before. You might be able to see where this is going.. I had to cut someone off today.

A man and his girlfriend came in today for lunch, ordered cocktails. The man finished his before I had their order, maybe 10 minutes, and ordered another. I probably shouldn't have even given him the second so quickly, but I didn't even think twice and they were sitting and eating. They finished their appetizer, their meals, and he ordered a different cocktail. When I was going to put it in the computer, I realized it hadn't even been 45 minutes since his first.

I know when I was hired, it was dug into my head to always check ID and be careful when serving liquor. So I asked my manager to double check, I wasn't sure what the time frame was when serving cocktails. She said no, don't give him another.
So I went to tell the guy that according to policy, I couldn't give him another right now, but if they wanted to sit a little, maybe order something else, they were welcome to hang out and enjoy the company and another cocktail in a bit.
"Are you serious?"
"Well, what if I cash out with you and go sit at the bar?"

I told him that probably wouldn't work, my manager was right there and she keeps track of the cameras so she would know he came from a table (kind of trying to hide the fact I had said something, also just kind of nervous and unsure what to say). Well, he didn't like that. He wanted the manager at his table, come to find out he wanted her to SHOW him the policy that he couldn't have another drink.
So she's in the office, trying to find the appropriate paperwork to print out, and he's at the kitchen door every time I come and go, saying how he wants to see the policy, he wants his receipt, and more "are you SERIOUS?!"

I was actually kind of nervous at this point. This is a big guy, pissed off, hovering around in my station so I'm actually embarrassed going to my other tables. Finally, I gave him his change and receipt ($10 change from a $100 bill, the book empty when he left), and the manager showed him the paperwork, although he still said he was going to book a BIG complaint.

Luckily, my manager, as I was cashing out, told me she had my back and I had done everything right with that table, from double checking the drink timing to cutting him off.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Run-in with an old customer.

Today, I guess Sunday is a family-type day, we had a bunch of big parties. I didn't take the 9 or 13, but I only had a few that were less than 4. I took one of 6 out of my section because that server hadn't arrived yet, but right next to my own couple tables.

I go and start to get their drink orders, as I do I recognize one man from my old diner and immediately regret it. He just needs attention. So I grab all their drinks and tell them, "I'm just going to check on my other tables so they're okay and I can focus on your order, guys."
Only two checks, Diner Man and his wife, and then I guess somebody's daughter/husband and their two kids on another. I take their order, DM's wife literally replacing or getting on the side everything on her sandwich. I saved the order pad to show my boyfriend when I got home, her little section was just full of small scribbles and cross-outs. Of course they give her the wrong onions, but that turned out alright I guess, she took both home.
So as I'm trying to clear out my station so I can make sure I'm there for when the food comes out, I see DM talking to my manager. I don't think anything of it, maybe they know each other. After it all comes out and I get them settled, my manager comes to me and says, "What happened at table 10?"

Me: Uh.. ?
Manager: Well, he came to tell me they waited 30 minutes for their food and they didn't see you once in that time.
Me: (explains I recognized him and I probably shouldn't have taken the table at that point knowing how much attention he would need) I mean, I was walking by them, I was peeking at their drinks, no one needed refills or anything, what was the problem?
Manager: (checks the computer, their food had taken 20.) Well, it's not just after their food, you need to constantly be checking. And he wants a ginger ale.
Me: Did they need something?
Manager: No.. they just didn't see you.

Now, this is a tie for my favorite manager. I think he knew the guy just wanted something to complain about but needed to say something. So the guy gets his ginger ale and a refill (not free) before they leave.

So they're done. Keep in mind he is the ONLY person that complained about anything and the rest of the table was super understanding at the *wait* (20 minutes for 6 people in a full restaurant) and found me delightful.
I bring the checks, he opens his and says, "Well, you're going to take the ginger ale off my check because I had to wait so long for my food." Allllright. I take the checkbook back and say, "okay I'll grab my manager to do that," and he stops me saying "WAIT, don't you NEED my CARD?"
Like I was being silly for assuming he would want a correct print-out before he handed me his payment. Then he had me stand there for a good 30 seconds while searching his wallet for the card. And after he had me run his card, double-checked the ginger ale was off.
He gave me 15%, the other check gave me 20%, it worked out. And my manager didn't say another word.

I mentioned it to a coworker and she said, "Well, what are you supposed to do besides refill drinks if you have to? Just go over to say howya doin?"

Some people just want to complain, I don't get it. Why not enjoy time with your family instead of worrying about how long your food is taking? I would understand if I felt someone was looking for a reason not to leave a tip, but this feels like whining for the sake of whining.

Otherwise, today was a great day. I worked with good people. My tables were great and understanding and I'm really getting the hang of my timing. And my foot/ankle is holding up which I am so thankful for because this is the work I enjoy.

Friday, June 24, 2016

One step at a time.

I've been having those server dreams again. This time, I can't get the orders in the computer because my swipe card doesn't work and no matter who I grab (manager, GM, even more higher-ups) they can't figure it out and keep leaving me on my own and I have a horrible customer following me around telling me what a shitty job I'm doing.
I think I'm feeling very overwhelmed because I know I'm a great server, but I just can't quite get my timing yet with adding the computer in. But, as with anything, it's one step at a time. You may be overwhelmed with tables and feel like you'll never catch up. You may not be able to get this customer out until you chase down your manager to key in a coupon, but it WILL END. My server mantra has always been one step at a time, keep moving forward.

Get that refill. Get that order in. Forgot a ranch? Grab it while you're running past the bar to get that Corona you also forgot. The shift will be over soon enough, especially if you're running around, and then you can take a breath, a sip of water, and that pee break you've been holding in for 2 hours. You might be suffocating for 30 minutes, but it always ends! That's the beauty of it!
Just remember to keep a smile on your face, apologize to the customer (even if they haven't actually been waiting that long, if they see you're a little overwhelmed but still committed to them they're likely to be more understanding if they have to wait for something else), and just take that next step forward.

Monday, June 13, 2016

You know how some people just take up a lot of space?

I don't mean physically, like overweight or anything like that. They just have.. a big presence and you can tell they figure they think they always have the right-of-way? We'll call her Miss Big (the boyfriend just caught me typing and made a Sex and the City reference, so we'll stick with it).
She comes off nice enough, asking for favors and calling you honey baby sweetie. But really, she's just using you to get all the work done so she can bother the host stand to triple seat her and just go around making the money. "Can you follow me baby?" "Do me a big favor and take this to 43?" I'm sure you can picture it.

Well, she's a stickler for sidework though I never see her doing any (squeaky wheel gets the grease and all that). So every time I'm trying to leave, I ask at least two or three people, "how's the kitchen look? do you want me to stock anything? I'll double check silverware one more time." And it's always, "No no everything looks good just get on home I'll see you later!" I never ask her because it's always "go grab one more box of straws, you need to do silverware."
I was opener last week which means I give out the sidework AM shift, and a new girl asked me what should be done. She was a host before, so she's known Miss Big. I told her I just checked the silverware, we can just go through the kitchen but we should be good. Miss Big starts talking to her in Spanish right in front of my face! I asked when she walked away, and New Server Girl said, "oh she just told me to double check the silverware." How rude is that?

Anyway, I don't know if she doesn't like lemons or is just lazy, but she's always on me about the damn lemons! One day last week I had opened and been there late, I had been clocked out twenty minutes just waiting for my boyfriend to pick me up. I go to leave and she's on me about the lemons. The silverware. Another girl said "just GO HOME it's fine." Apparently after I left, Miss Big said "well, now YOU'RE going to have to do her work."
So today as shift lead I give out the sidework again. I gave a girl I like an easy one, took an average one for myself so I didn't look like I was trying to be sheisty, and just distributed the rest to whoever was there with no thought. I noticed we're running low on lemons and checked to see who had that today... guess who? I didn't even say anything to her just let her see it when she saw it. Accidental revenge, but still felt pretty good.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Well, this sucks.

I never got stiffed at the diner. I mean, eight years and maybe 3 times. Now, it's like a once-a-shift occurrence. When I got hired, the GM told me this store has a pretty bad tipping average. I mean, I'm averaging 15% on checks that are three times diner prices - I mean, 30 or 40 dollars for two people at lunch and they're still leaving that same 5. I know it's not me. I mean, yes, I'm still learning the ins and outs of a new place but I'm a good server so I know it's not me.
I'm just putting in my dues right now, I think. A bunch of people got hired with me, some hosts moved up to server, they're just figuring out the schedule and who is going to stick. But they are giving me 4-5 days a week, so they must like me.
Soon, I'll write about the lady who I do not like.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

I get it now.

When I worked at the diner, we tipped out the busboys on our tips. We didn't make money, they didn't make money.
I got the concept of tipping on sales, but I didn't realize what a dent it actually made in your pocket if you're making big sales with small tips - or worse, stiffed. That's what people mean when they say they have to pay to wait on you when you don't tip.
My first table today, very pleasant, took my drink recommendations, smiled, said please and thank you. Paid with a credit card, crossed out the tip line, nothing on the table. I was really upset, I couldn't think of what I did wrong. I eventually figured.. I did my best, they might have just been looking for a reason not to leave a tip. Then I got a 10% tip, they were obviously just cheap.
But what really got my goat was the couple with the coupon. They got the complimentary app, he only ordered soup and salad, and she ordered the most expensive seafood dinner. The coupon took off her entire entree, about 20 dollars. Of course, he tipped on the discounted amount like I hadn't been refilling their iced teas six times each. That was just depressing.

Anyway, not that I would have ever tipped any less than I do (generously, obviously, I know the game!) but I didn't realize the effect this different way would have on my own pocket. PLEASE make sure you always tip before any discounts or coupons. Just.. please tip in general.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Training Complete!

I have taken menu tests, I have shadowed for 5 days, and I passed my "mock serve" with a manager.
I didn't even get to serve their fake food, she stopped me and said, "Don't worry, you're approved, I think you're adorable, I just want to work on the name-drop upsell portion."

I was completely overwhelmed my first day of training, I've only used handwritten checks and thought my trainer was performing magic, but once she gave me her swipe card and I started greeting tables, taking orders, and putting them into the computer it was just gravy.

So after 8 months of unemployment, at least 4 on the job search.. I'm back in the restaurant and couldn't be happier. Tonight is my first night on the floor alone and of course I'm scared to death but I'm so excited! I will certainly take notes for you, Dear Reader, to hear about the crazy people that exist in our world.