Top 10 Things I Learned From Serving

After 5 long years this month I finally waved goodbye to the serving industry forever - and it felt amazing. That's not to say I hated it, quite the opposite! Where some people feel like smacking their head against the wall working with the general public I always found it entertaining - just when you think you've heard it all someone comes out with something absolutely jaw dropping and Twitter-worthy. But what I would say is that working with the general public makes you really appreciate the day to day shit people in customer facing roles put up with and in turn makes you become a better and more patient person yourself - it should be law that everybody has to work at least 1 year with the general public, it would definitely make the world a better place!

So I've definitely learned a lot, and though I'd pack together a little Top 10 things I've learned from working in the serving industry!

1) The customer is NOT always right. OK, I get the sentiment of what this mantra is getting at, but let's face it - anybody who has worked with the public knows this just isn't true. For instance, no matter how much you insist that when you visited last week you got a jacket potato with your steak , the fact remains that we don't sell jacket potatoes, haven't in the past 5 years and probably can't get you one today. You're wrong - get over it.

2) If you're nice to me, I'll sort you out. This is so so true, especially in instances where things aren't going so great. If you're polite, patient and friendly we will go the extra mile to keep you happy. And you might just get a little something extra out of us. OK, so a few extra chips on your plate isn't the most amazing gesture in the world but we feel like it's the thought that counts!

3) If you're a nightmare, I'll make things difficult for you. If you talk to me like dirt, or are rude, I will do little things to annoy you. OH you ordered a Coke a while ago? Sorry, must've forgotten, let me go get that for you right away! *Definitely 'forgot' on purpose because you're gross and I enjoy watching you get frustrated as you wait*

4) Busy servers don't make good babysitters. And a lot of us can't STAND children! (Mostly as a result of working in the service industry). Please don't bring an entourage of screaming toddlers and expect us to deal with it. I am not here to mind your kids, cut their food up and keep them in line - that's your job. Oh, and we'd appreciate it if you could stop them racing around our feet whilst carrying multiple hot plates, thanks!

5) Trust your server. I've got you. I haven't forgotten that you LITERALLY JUST ASKED for sauce, or a refill - I just have a mental list of things to do and I'll get to you in due course. For things like sauces or refills that you need right now chances are I'm probably getting sauces or refills. Don't ask the subsequent 5 people for the same bloody thing, because the likelihood is that in about 5 minutes you're going to have 5 bottles of ketchup arrive at your table. Asking once is enough, I promise.

6) There is such a thing as a stupid question. Think before you speak. Seriously, unless you're sat in the restaurant on a dead Monday afternoon, chances are we're busy, and every minute we have to stand at your table and listen to you ask what the difference is between chicken and chicken and shrimp is time that could have been better invested grabbing other tables refills or putting orders through.

7) You're not getting anything for free. I don't owe you anything. I don't know you. And even if I do know you, I'm not risking my job so your cheap ass can suck down a free Coke. Not gunna happen, so don't bother asking. And if you do feel the need to ask don't be a dick when the answer is no.

8) I don't care that it's your birthday. Seriously, you're like the 10th person today who has excitedly whispered in my ear that it's their friend's birthday and can I please make this extra special. Just know that you're getting the same bog standard birthday treatment - pathetic free slice of cake and JUST AWFUL birthday song sung to you by people who clearly hate you. ENJOY!

9) You fit into a category. That's right, those of us who are veterans to the industry have a list of pre-set categories, and the minute you walk into our section we're analysing where you fit and ultimately whether this means you're going to tip us or not. And the service you receive from us reflects this analysis accordingly. Sorry 'bout it.

10) Serving is difficult. The ultimate worst insult is when people assume they can do this job with their eyes closed. A wise man once said to me that serving is the easiest job that people make difficult for themselves, and whilst that is true it doesn't hurt to cut your server a little bit of slack because you are probably oblivious to the shitstorm happening back of house. And also I've seen grown men reduced to tears because they couldn't hack the grind of serving, so I guess it takes a certain kind of grit to really be good at it!

I hope that has enlightened those of you who have never worked a serving job and I'm guessing those of you who have are nodding along in agreement - night!

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