Saturday, August 29, 2009

Restaurant Nights...

So this post is not specifically about food, it does not include recipes or measurements, it does not have fancy pictures of rolled sponge bread, or strawberry compote. I do not mention intricate baking pattern of famous chefs. No, this is a post about the madness and craziness that the restaurant industry can have. The stress, the emotions, and then the calm that is much appreciated.
I hope to give those that have never worked in restaurants a little blimp of what it is.
Last night the restaurant I work at, ran out of Alfredo sauce in the middle of a Friday night busy shift. OMG. The two managers on duty were overwhelmed when they started to realize that other dished were coming out, but hey the ones that had alfredo were not. The GM who had opened and was about to take off, stood watching as the cooks scrambled and hurried to not go insane with all the tickets popping up on the blinking screen, and the ones that were backed up. The servers having to deal with customers who had to wait up to 45 minutes for a bowl of pasta. Some took it lightly like my table, that laughed it off, and patiently waited, other however were not so lucky and got blamed for what was a culinary mistake.
"How can this happen?" asked the managers, who is to blame in this situation. the cooks for not making more, the managers for not checking? And who is held accountable?
Servers kept coming to the line and telling the manager expoing, "where is my food?" "my table has been waiting" "what do I tell them?" "they are mad". She was doing the best she could, the manager running the floor, probably went to half the restaurant and apologized to the tables. the managers aid ended up "comping" (taking off) many of the dishes so the customers would not pay. My whole table's check was paid by the restaurant. Oh, the loss of profit on a night like that.
At some point the manager on the line, yelled at the one running the floor... Oh, all the things that happen when people are stressed.
But as much as can go wrong, there are many things that go right, as you see other servers helping those that were behind, people helping the expo manager, apologizing honestly to their tables.
And it is those moments when the customers realize you care, when they thank you even though they waited an hour to eat, when everyone helps, and laugh it off. When after all is over, you can throw the towel on the line and exhale. Those are the moments that brighten my day. When you are so tired than instead of asking for a dessert you ask for sauce and everyone laughs. When you ask your table is they would like you to grate salad when you really meant cheese.
And when in the end, we are one big dysfunctional family.


Anonymous said...

Ah. . . being in the weeds! I have worked in restaurants for probably 20 years of my life.

I ended up in the high end restaurants at the end of my career - tabs, without drink, were $75 per person!

But I agree, if I see my server cares, stops by and they are hustling, 20% tip at the minimum!

But when I see my server talking with other servers, maybe sneaking outside to have a smoke - that's what I can't stand!

Glad you tables realized it was the kitchen and not you! :D

The P & A Food Chronicles said...

Oh yes restaurants are a handful, so much drama all in one place... but thats what I choose as my major so I'll take it...

Thanks for commenting...