UnderCover Waitress: Utensils

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


The comment card left in a bill holder a few years ago said it all. Customer made the valid point that in an establishment such as ours (or any restaurant, in my opinion) wait staff should not remove eating utensils from plates and place them back on the table for the customer to use again.

Yeah, I think I know which waitress that was and she sure didn't last very long.

It's a restaurant. There are drawers filled with clean, polished eating utensils. Now, if people were eating during a survival type training camp experience, I would understand everyone being limited to a bowl, knife, and canteen. Drives me nuts, however, when in a nice restaurant wait staff and bussers expect dinner patrons to slurp the excess salad dressing off of their forks before digging into their entrees.

Had a rare evening out with my husband and we went to a spot we both enjoy: unpretentious, great food, great service. Our waitress was a tribute to the profession. The busser, on the hand, could use some more training. Busser expected my husband to hang on to his used fork and knife for when our entrees arrived. He is an easy going guy and would have shrugged it off; however, I am not an easy going gal. When our waitress came by, I politely requested clean utensils for my husband. Her eyes got big and she took care of it right away, for which we were grateful. We tipped especially well that night because she earned it.

Now for some funnies:

Somehow, it's the spoons that get lost first. Seasoned waitresses sometimes hoard a few spoons in their apron pockets because they know that by the time people are ordering dessert, all of the spoons will be gone.

In our little spot, the soup spoons were disappearing into thin air. I think I know why.

We had some dishes that included lots of mussels. These meals required an extra dish in which to deposit empty shells. Used to be in the habit of placing a soup spoon (and sometimes a fish fork) in the extra bowl and bringing this to the table just before bringing the food.

Once food arrived the unwashed masses dived for the mussels with their grubby hands and threw the shells in the other bowl, never noticing the utensils for which they seemed to have no need. Bussers come along and toss the empty shells into the garbage, also never noticing the buried soup spoon (and sometimes fish fork.) No wonder we kept running out of soup spoons.

So, its a hot busy night and I've managed to hoard a couple of soup spoons in my pocket, but I know everyone is going to want the gazpacho. Are you sure you don't want salad? Salad is so refreshing...

Management, of course, told people to stop placing the soup spoons in the shells bowl. And they got the owners to spring for more soup spoons. Happy ending.

Clean utensils are a many splendored thing.    

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