UnderCover Waitress: Don't Start at the Bottom

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Don't Start at the Bottom

Went on an adventure with my eldest child. We picked up some beautiful fabrics for projects we are working on this summer. We had a successful expedition and it was past lunchtime, so instead of driving home and arriving ravenous, I whispered in his ear, "Name of Restaurant?"

It's a family-friendly joint on the highway near the fabric place. Wouldn't go out of my way to eat there, but I knew my child would be pleased.

We get to sit in a comfy booth and the waitress, a seemingly nice girl, said hello and took our drink order. Lucky for her, I only wanted water. As she was delivering our beverages, she accidentally tipped her tray and the water glass slid into her chest and spilled over and onto the table.
It Happens To Us All

I'm nice, and I know that accidents happen. As she apologizes I am helping wipe up the mess with extra paper napkins and tell her not to worry. To my surprise, she sets down the water glass and says she needs to get us different straws. I almost said, "What about a different glass?" but I didn't.

My son asked me if I had ever done that. I told him the truth, "Yes, but I didn't serve the drink. I got a fresh glass for the customer."

Now, it may seem picky to some that I find it disgusting to serve a glass that has just been against the server's chest and clothing. In my restaurant, that is considered unsanitary (and yes, we all know I am a germ-a-phobe.)

But it got me thinking. I remember a waitress awhile back who didn't last with us very long. My colleague and I watched in horror as she squatted at a table. She also had a bad habit of using the table as a writing surface. She joined us from a different restaurant where she had learned these techniques. My colleague and I gave her a "heads-up" about how to behave in our place, but she still didn't last long.

Am thinking it is better to apply for a position where you want to work, and not settle for the dive place any longer than you absolutely have to. It is easier for management to train a green worker than to break a worker's bad habits. We all develop habits wherever we work, and what is acceptable (or even encouraged, such as squatting) in one place may not be in another. Bad habits are hard to break.

The kids in our dish room are told not to hold piles of clean dishes against their chests for sanitation reasons. If a waitress served a glass that had rested on her chest and spilled, she wouldn't last very long with us, either.

Get a good job: How to Get a Job ... by Me, the Boss:

More insider tales from a fine dining waitress:
Eavesdropping secrets of a 4 star waitress. 

1 comment :

  1. Oh, man you are so right on this post!

    "It is easier for management to train a green worker than to break a worker's bad habits."

    When I worked at Target Stores many, many, many years ago, I developed an unwritten, unstated policy against hiring employees who had experience in WM or lessor discount chains. Target had some pretty rigorous standards (did back then when we were only 180 stores anyway) and it was harder to break bad, sloppy habits than it was to train someone who had no retail experience whatsoever.

    The same was true with sports photography in my soccer tournament company later.... and coding practices in our software division.. and on, and on.. You got me thinking about how bad habits picked up by employes who used to work at companies who shave corners decrease the overall productivity and standards of top-shelf companies. I'll bet by a lot!

    Makes having experience in an industry on a resume seem more like a liability than an assets... hmmmm.. I wonder if HR people ever thought of this.

    I'm working on a post about the REAL cost of free and cheap. I never thought to include "past experience" as a cost. I may just do that.. and credit you, of course!! Thanks!

    PS Ironically, it was because I had some time due to some maintenance I was doing on a Sunday morning because nobody gives us time to in the work week that I read this post....


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