December 28, 2013

10 More Things...

...that you should know about your neighborhood deli or any restaurant for that matter. I am no longer a waitress but I sure as hell feel like one most days. Here to lay it all out there once again after this recent job-change. This applies to dining out altogether. I now work at a high-volume deli chain that processes several hundreds of dollar per hour in a town of about 10,000 people...doesn't sound like much but when all of these people decide to come eat at the same damn time...uh...yes. A few things need to be said.
Again, from the bottom:

10. Come during rush-hour. We're fully staffed and ready to go at peak hours (11-2, and again at 5-8 in most stores). I'd love a table of 20 during lunch rush far better than a table of 20 after I've got things cleaned up and sent everyone home. 

09. I hate when I've got plenty of clean tables but the one you want to sit at is dirty and you need me to pull away from what I'm doing to come clean it up. I'm on my way but damn-it, pick a clean table if you'd like to sit at a clean table!

08. Please don't come behind the counter! During peak hours, I may be slow at getting you whatever it is you need but with a customer moving to get their own stuff from behind my work space is hazardous to everyone.

07. Fast-food and quick-serve are two different things. Figure out your time limitations before going to dine-out.

06. This is going to be a long one. As hourly employees and as a manager, myself, we get hours docked or pay cuts or written up when there are major complaints that go directly to corporate. We do all we can as employees - they hired us as hospitality workers - one such instant in which a Sunday rush brought about a 20-minute wait-time for a couple of people, the gentleman that asked about his food was told it would be another two minutes (and it was, not a second longer). He sat down and immediately sent the owner of the company a novel concerning his wait-time and thereafter pointed out all the trifling other details he didn't like about the restaurant as well. This trickles down onto the hourly-paid workers like fire. We got hell for this. Before writing complaints, ask to speak to a manager on duty- I'm always willing to go above and beyond so that you're happy before you leave! That's what they pay me to do! I can't give you back time but I can make it up to you one way or another. The gentleman went over my head, I didn't have a chance to fix anything. 20-minutes, during peak, isn't bad at all for us and our regulars know that. Sure, shame on me for not noticing they were from out of town and on a "schedule" of some sort but shame on them for not voicing complaints to the immediate managers who could have saved everyone a bit of heart-ache.

05. Customer: "Oh, you're out of _____?"
      Employee: "Yes, I'm sorry."
      Customer: "You know, they sell _____ down the street."
This is the most pointless exchange of words I'll ever encounter. Restaurants depend on deliveries and bulk food delivery services are probably the most poorly organized industries ever. They leave things off of the order, they'll send yogurt instead of fresh fruit, they don't send enough of something we ordered plenty of, etc. I have no control over this as an hourly and if they sell _____ down the street, don't expect me to go get it. Unapproved products and brands in the store can cost me my job. 

04. No one in any restaurant ever has ever been excited for customers 10-minutes before closing. It's not just me, as a cashier, but my cooks are trying to go home, my dishwasher is trying to go home, and hell, I'm trying to go home but coming in to sit down 10-5 minutes before I lock the doors is something I find nearly insulting. My hours are posted on the door. And personally, I won't bother with a restaurant that's closing down. In clean-up mode, it's better to just walk away. I'll get you a drink, I'll sell you some of the finest pre-packaged deserts, chips, cookies, anything, to go! But don't make us cook during this time. It'll suck for us and you, I promise.

03. Know when to leave. Squatting at a table for three hours is fine but don't do it an hour before close and complain that someone's sweeping near your table and the place is starting to smell like bleach. We have to clean up, lock up, and go home on time.

02. If your kid is shy, doesn't want to talk directly to whomever is taking the order, whispering, or if he or she can't choose - pick for them! As a parent or guardian, you know what they'll eat and what they won't eat. If your little one is holding up the line trying to choose between a pizza or salad or if I can't hear what the hell they're saying because they're scared to tell to me for whatever reason, pick for them.

01. Once again - we're all human, customers and employees alike. I know who's worked in food and who hasn't. Those who've worked in food generally have more patience and sympathy. It's a great job most of the time but there's a few people who make it hard on us and makes us rethink it all before clocking out and going home. Trust us - most of us know what we're doing. 

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