Before the baby we country folk went to the big city. No not Lubbock, Dallas! While in Dallas we decided to go out to eat. There may be a lot to see and do in Dallas but I love the restaurant scene.
I was am ambitious teenager. As soon as I could have a job (age 16) I had two jobs. By day I was a camp counselor and by night a steakhouse waitress. Both jobs fit my personality and satisfied everything I was looking for in a summer job. Two paychecks didn't hurt either...IF ONLY I had saved that 'fun money' and not eaten Chick-fil-a every day! Then again, only in my teens could I get away with eating Chick-fil-a every day.
I digress... There is a HUGE difference in Dallas restaurant experiences and country restaurant experiences. I'm not talking Kenichi vs. Cracker Barrel. I mean really....the service in the country is slow. This is expected and embraced. Ok, maybe not embraced but it's dealt with because you have no choice. There aren't as many people in the country, so the waiter is going to enjoy your company, your food will be made fresh (or freshly defrosted) and you'll find little to complain about when the only other table is across the restaurant. This slower pace was a huge transition for this city girl but I've grown accustom to it.
However, in Dallas?! No. Not expected and not embraced. With the restaurants so packed and waiters flying all over the place you expect attention and therefore fast service. During our recent trip, at this un-named restaurant, our waitress was as slow as molasses. Seriously. I understand if you're double sat or in the weeds, but this chick WALKED slow and TALKED slow. Think Daria. (Remember Daria?) I always thought she talked slow.
The worst part of the entire meal was towards the beginning when my dad asked for lemons for his iced tea (why didn't the tea come with a lemon to begin with?). She left the table for the lemons and went somewhere (not the kitchen because we could see the kitchen door). We see her walking towards us with the lemons but in route she decides to grab a water pitcher and refill water from another table and they ask for the check. So she goes to a POS, waits for the person using the POS to finish, and then prints the check and drops it at the table. THEN she brings my dad his lemons.
Thankfully my parents had their back turned and didn't see this. My sister, husband and I saw her entire journey and knew we were doomed! I am a firm believer in the common saying "everyone should work in a restaurant or retail at one point in their life". I totally agree. I even agree with Maria who writes "7 Things you Learn from Working in a Restaurant" Her final thought is working in a restaurant gives you the "inability to tip anything less than 25% for the rest of your life." I've been known to over tip. I even have my husband over tipping!
HOWEVER, after you've worked in a restaurant you realize that it's NOT THAT HARD. That there are certain things you ALWAYS do. Like:
- Greet your guests as soon as they are seated so they know you saw them and they know they are important to you. There is nothing worse than looking around the restaurant like a pound puppy thinking "doesn't anybody love me?" Hubby and I have been known to leave restaurants if we don't get greeted in a timely manner. First impressions people, first impressions.
- Bring lemon with iced tea (and water) <-- why has this stopped being the norm? Know that your table is probably watching your every move. And if you would rather stand in line at a POS than serve a table they will feel under appreciated and have a bad experience.
- Do the 360 turn! When you leave a table turn around in a complete circle and check ALL the tables around you- yes, even those tables that aren't yours. You'll notice something is needed, or a guest will ask you for something. It's a guarantee! Don't just walk away! Do you want your table to walk away from the check? Didn't think so.
- I agree with Maria, in that the wait staff isn't a servant or a slave. However, they are the only way to get anything at a restaurant...if I could I would have grabbed those lemons out of her hand and given them to my dad!
My husband paid for that lunch and I was sure to write a note on the check. Back in MY days the manager would read the credit card receipts to be sure you input the correct tip amount. So I always leave my notes on the credit card receipt. Is this still the case?
Am I turning into a bitter old lady? Sorry for the rant.
p.s. I would never work retail because I know I wouldn't have a paycheck after that job! I would spend everything on the inventory I was selling! I can only eat so much food so I took the restaurant route. Anyone feel differently?