Oye Vey. That is all I can say about my first server experience at a restaurant. There are so many aspects to waiting that people never consider. Waiters work hard and have to get a lot done so people can just come in and eat.
When I started training at sushi house, the manager told me to study the menu. I spent the next two hours just staring at the menu, trying to memorize menu items. When I finally had some of the names memorized with their corresponding menu items, I went up to start shadowing. Needless to say, I had memorized the wrong types of things. I needed to know what kinds of vegetables are in the food. I had memorized all of the wrong things. Damn. The manager chuckled a little and sent me to the back of the kitchen to start learning the kitchen.
The kitchen is straight forward unless you don’t know the menu, in which the kitchen is really confusing. There are multiple waiters moving around, preparing salads, soups, rice, and entrée dishes. The problem with learning everything is false confidence. You think you know how to prepare curtain dishes until you make it and learn you did it wrong. The scolding follows as you are shown how to do it again. There are curtain ways to hold glasses and poor water and everything. You have to do it their way. If you don’t, the scolding starts again.
The hardest part about being a server is the technology. Servers are supposed to know how to book tables, put in orders, separate sushi orders, hold dishes that take little time, print checks, print tip checks, and adjust tips. There is so much the computer can do. People always seem to want a special order for their meal. Whenever someone asks for something special, it takes extra time to input the order. Then, you have to go to the kitchen and make sure they understand what is different. If you don’t, and the cooks mess up the order, the server has to pay (full price) for the meal. Mess up one table and your night’s earnings are gone.
There is a lot of terminology among the waiting staff. Most orders are shortened because customers order quickly. Drinks are all abbreviated and even renamed. The lingo can be a big much as a new trainee. There was no warning or explanation with the lingo. Use context and figure it out. Thanks, that’s a lot of help.
In the end, the tips are worth it. It is strenuous work that requires a lot of mental and physical effort. Waiters work very hard and deserve the tips. Trust me.