I am the profiler...
I can read people like a book, from the minute they sit down, I don't even have to talk to them.
It is both a blessing and a curse.
It is a gift that helps me, and sometimes hurts me.
For better or worse, negative or positive I am right about 90% of the time.
About a month ago we had a whole new crop of new servers, as a "service" to them I guess they brought in a server that had left a few weeks before even I arrived.
Apparently he was some kind of rockstar waiter, corporate suck up type...
He was there to "help us" with our tables.
Now I'm all for new ideas if they're good, but he rehashed a bunch of shit that servers at our level of restaurant knew the first two weeks at their first server job at Applebee's.
But he did have one good point, know your guest, know their needs and know what they want before they want it.
Its nothing new to me, but he was right.
Which brings me to the profiler, I know its bad to stereotype and all that bs, but I do it, and while there are exceptions like I said I have about a 90% success rate.
I'm not talking about racial profiling or anything like that, I'm an asshole but I hate everyone, not any particular group.
(Yaya, I hate everyone get out of the service industry, get a new job, I sully our industry shit...)
I suppose I should use Wait Manager lingo as in "anticipate their needs."
But really its profiling, hell our managers in their own way condone this, just name it in a less offensive way.
Anyways after the meeting we're sitting up at the bar like vultures awaiting our scavaging of pocket change from people better off than us, and I see my first table sat.
I nudge the two rookie servers standing next of me...
"Remember what Rob was saying about anticipating peoples needs, check this out."
They both look at me curiously.
"Ok, check it out, its a family of four, two parents, mid forties, and their teenage sons." I say with the wisdom of an ancient Sage waiter.
"I bet I can predict their order before I even talk to them, hell I'll bet you your shift meal!"
Rookie #1 to me,"You're on!"
"alright, teenagers are easy, two Cokes, but they'll ask for Mountain Dew."
The rookies nod in agreement.
"Parents, glass of house chard for the lady, beer for the man, he's a lil tubby, Bud light, maybe Ultra."
"Are you sure about the bar drinks?" My rookie friends quandary,"they're a family."
I rub my prematurely graying temples,"Yup, but the parents will have one each and ask for water after they're done."
"On to food, I'll suggest calamari or bruscetta, but they'll want onion rings or maybe ask for cheese sticks, which we don't have."
Kids and their fried cheese, no wonder we're all fat...
Anyways, entrees,"Salad for the lady, probably chicken ceaser, pasta for the dad, he'll want spaghetti, but since we don't have it he'll go for something with red sauce and sausage.
"Rookie #2 to me,"no steak for the dad?"
I smile,"its a family, maybe if the kids weren't there, but families generally eat cheap, I'll stick with the pasta with red sauce, its cheap, basic, and honestly not bad..."
For the kids?
My prediction, pepperoni pizza...
Any desert?" rookie #1 wonders.
"No, families tend to split and not camp out, no, they won't even want coffee."
Probably because families don't like each other anymore, its sad, but is getting truer with each year, the family bond is weaker than it has ever been in this country.
I spot the server assistant dropping off their bread and water, its time to make my move.
It goes exactly to plan.
"Hey folks anything to drink? Glass of wine?" I say looking at the lady specifically.
I rattle of her options, her answer."Whatever's cheapest."
House it is.
Bud light for the gentleman.
My gaze passes to the teens,"guys how bout for you?"
"Sorry guys, we have coke products..."
Two Cokes, I'm damn good.
I come back and drop of their drinks,"ok guys, would we like an appetizer to start off with?"
"Ya, don't you have cheese sticks or something?"
"No sorry, we do have great onion rings," I say.
"Sounds good to me,"Says dad.
"Do we need a few minutes to decide on dinner?" I ask.
They're ready to order is the consensus.
"Well guys what'll you have," I say as I look to the kids for their answer.
Pepperoni Pizza it is.
"And then for you folks?"
This is where the switch is.
Chicken Caesar for the dad, pasta for the mom.
Well within my 90%
Their food comes out precisely when I want it, perfect timing.
They're finishing up and basically putting on their coats the second their meals are finished.
Family in a hurry.
Come to think of it I can't think of one word exchanged between parents and the kids.
Worlds a changing.
I return with their check folder,"folks you sure you don't want any desserts or..."
The dad reaches for the folder, guess they don't care for coffee either.
I return to my rookie friends,"Well guys, that steaks gonna be mighty good tonight."