Perhaps you've heard the ironic phrase before:
"You can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose, but you can't pick your friend's nose!"
Of course, there's also the phrase "For every rule, there's an exception."
Well I'm here to tell you, the restaurant business is one where "Exceptions are always the rule." It's a business like no other, where one day you might actually decide to pick your friend's nose.
Let me explain.
Fast-paced decisions have to made regularly by servers and bartenders that might not be what "the rules" always dictate. Say you're a waiter, and you know you've been out of your "section" (the group of tables you're assigned to wait on today) for a whole three minutes making two deserts (an eternity!).
You're walking back in, deserts in hand, and here's what you see as you survey your section before taking that plunge yet again:
Table 109 has two empty tea glasses, and dang you didn't think to bring a tea pitcher. That's going to adversely affect your income if not handled immediately.
Table 108 has been seated with two new guests. The "rule" is that new guests must be greeted within two minutes (60 seconds at some places). For all you know they've been there the whole three minutes you were gone. That's going to affect your income too, if you don't get there fast - especially if they see you do two or three other things, basically "ignoring them".
No matter what you do, you're already trouble with management for not "acknowledging the guests in a timely manner" and you know it. And for all you know, they're 5 seconds from walking back up to the front to find a manager to complain.
But just because you're visible, now Table 105 - not your section - is waving you down, obviously trying to get your attention.
What's going on there? Needs more sauce? Wants to pay but hasn't seen their server for five minutes? Hair in the food?
And is it really your problem?
Seriously, to what extent are waiters expected to be responsible for "every guest in the restaurant" - even at the expense of not properly serving the ones in their own section?
What rule applies here?
So ignoring them (?) in hopes "their waiter" will be right there... you roll by 108 without stopping, and just say the lame "I'll be right with you folks..." then walk to deliver your deserts. You already know what you're going to do when you walk away from that table and hope they talk to you - because you also just spotted the nearest tea pitcher (silently praying there's something in it)...
BUT THEN some kid knocks their coke all over the floor... your section or not, doesn't matter. You gonna walk right by that, and just calmly take a drink order for the people right next to them, while this unlucky family needs some napkins and attention asap?
So yeh, fast-paced decisions like these are our every day life.
Source : TripAdvisor
So anyways... Ruby Tuesday, Knoxville Tennessee, my first and therefore unforgettable "waiter job" ... more years ago than I now care to admit:
My friend and co-worker Shannon makes a snap decision - one that you might argue goes against every rule, in every book, that ever existed. I'm hurriedly walking out of the kitchen with a tray of food in one hand and other goodies in the other - 'cos I'm skilled and efficient like that. He's hurriedly walking into the kitchen, probably with one or two handfuls of dishes.
When for no reason other than perhaps God's good graces, Shannon glances at me... and with great authority, he stretches his hand out like a police officer, and quite literally commands me to "STOP!"
So I did.
And without a word of explanation, without wasting 10 precious seconds (of you wondering where your servers are) to look for a cocktail napkin or something, he reaches toward my face, puts his finger in my nostril, and pulls out a booger.
Obviously, it would have been seen by the people whom I was about to serve their food.
Showing it to me he says "I couldn't let you go out there like that man."
And then he wiped it on my apron.
Judge it all you want. He did the right thing.
He continued on his way, as did I, no time for even a "thank you" that neither of us had time for to commemorate the noble deed. But thanks Shannon!
And now you know from whence this all too easy "lifelong camaraderie" restaurant people seem to share is born out of.
Welcome to the restaurant business Dear Reader.
Such are my peers, and such is my life.
Guy's Work Blog : Chapter 3 "Turns Out, You CAN Pick Your Friend's Nose!"
Stories about restaurant life, from my current & past waiter/bartender jobs. WHAT THIS ISN'T: I'm not here to complain about my guests, job, co-workers or tips. I'm not mentioning names, except positively. I have around 25 years "in the biz," some fun stories to tell, and at times some pretty unique life lessons to impart. Hopefully, I'm both informing and entertaining you as I go.
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