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Life is only what you wonder.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Just Sit Back And Let Me Take Control

You wouldn't go to a play or a live performance and tell the actors what to do or the players how to play, would you?
If the Stage Manager and Director have done their jobs well, and the performers have genuine talent, chances are you're going to enjoy yourself.

It's the same exact thing with dining in a restaurant, only except of it being a "performance", it's more interactive.
The guest needs a waiter to take care of him, the server needs a customer to wait on. Without those two elements, there is no "show".
The main reason things go awry when dining out is when the guests try to control the action.
"The waiter is here to do what I tell him to" is the (misguided) thought behind it.

I can tell it's going to go bad usually within the first minute of coming to the table. Especially if I'm interrupted during my opening monologue.

    "Hello!" I say cheerfully, "My name is Jimmy, and I'll be your ser--"
    "I needa glassa watta!" they'll bark, "With extra lemon on the side!"
And I groan inside, because I know it's going to be one of those tables: They'll be asking for things before I even have a chance to offer them, having me running back and forth for extra this and extra that, they'll use every damn sugar packet in the caddy to make their "ghetto lemonade" -- and then bark for more.
In short, they're going to be a total pain in the butt.

They would have a better time (and save me from wanting to pull my hair out) if they just let me do my job.

Being a waiter isn't just plopping down drinks and plates of food on a table. If that were the case, you could train a monkey to do it.
A good waiter is a people person and a good judge of character. We can provide the optimum amount of service. Not too much, and not too little, which varies from guest to guest and table to table. Some people don't want to be bothered, and some people need you at their table every five minutes.
A good waiter instinctively knows how much service to give.

A good waiter is an expert at anticipating guest's needs, and providing them before the guest(s) even know themselves that they wanted it.
If a guest's drink is less than half-full, I see it, I know it, and I'm already on my way with a refill. I know my guests are (probably) going to want A-1 or Worcestershire sauce with their sirloin steak, sour cream and chives with their baked potato, and Tobasco with their country fried chicken.
Like magic, it's right there without even having to ask for it.

A good waiter also knows how to clear plates without disrupting conversations, the right moment to offer after-dinner coffee, and the perfect time to bring the little tray of mints.

I'm not just someone who dashes back and forth to bring things and take them away.
That's part of it, but along with that: I'm the person who's primary function is to make sure you have a fabulous dining experience. I want you to have the best time possible with absolutely no cares or worries.
Leave it to me, I'll see to everything.
I want you to tell your friends what a great time you had in my restaurant, but most of all I want you to return and to ask to sit in my section the next time you come.

I take great pride in being good at what I do.
But I can't do my best if someone won't let me.