I’ve mentioned before that its hard to befriend rookie servers, because you never know how long they will last.
Could be a week, could be year.
About half seem to make it, and half of them are actually quality employees. Yet another reason behind turnover.
Today I’m going to talk about the half that don’t make it. They seem to spout off catch-phrases like, “Well at my old place we did it this way” and “I thought Zinfandel was pink.”
Its best to filter them out as soon as possible. The downside to that is I’m a trainer.
That means I get to train wave after wave of replacement servers, the faster we turn over, the more work for me.
A month or so back, I had a kid from the Cheesecake factory, chain restaurant disciples are the worst.
They’re the type that actually believe in the mantras of corporate life, they’d make good little comrades if this was a police state.
The kid observed me for all of five minutes when he started to criticize my service.
“How come you didn’t tell them your name?” The kid asked.
I gave him the usual “I prefer to be called sir” bit and he was lost.
“At Cheesecake we’re required to tell our names and ask if they’ve dined with us before.” He replied.
“So we can guide them through the menu if they haven’t been here before.” He said
“Listen, you’re not at Cheesecake anymore, you can give whatever spiel you want and as long as you talk about the features you can do it anyway you want.”
A bit later in the shift I was jockeying about four tables and I had him help me set up a fourteen top.
“So do you have to split the table or are you taking it yourself since you have me today?” Asked the kid.
“Uh, yeah I’m taking it myself, I don’t split tables.” I said.
“I think you need to split it, at Cheesecake we have to split groups like that so they get the proper experience.” He replied.
“Kid, they’ll get the service they need, and if you want an experience I’d suggest something a little more adventurous than eating lunch.”
Part of what I teach noobs is how things really work.
For instance I don't push dessert at lunch.
My job is to get people in and out as fast as possible, they have places to be, I have tables to turn.
What he couldn't understand is that although my actions benefit me, they benefit the customer.
I suppose its that selling Cheesecake to people in a mall is hardwired, but he insisted on talking desserts to all my tables.
He didn't sell a one, they asked for their checks, not a description of Panna Cotta.
As it goes, lunch continued and I dazzled him with my ability to take more than three tables.
Fast forward a week.
I catch the kid crouching down to take an order, now my spot is pretty decent, maybe not fine dining but a good restaurant nonetheless.
We don’t play that Outback suck up shit, we give real service.
“Listen kid, we don’t kneel at our tables here.” Said I.
“It’s a good way to get tips, it brings us down to their level so they don’t feel we’re standing over them.” He replied.
“Okay, this corporate bull doesn’t fly here its embarrassing, you know how I said that we do our own thing here, well make sure it isn’t out of TGI Friday’s handbook.”
“It was Cheesecake Factory.”
“Same difference, its embarrasing to the other staff and we don't debase ourselves in front of customers,” I said.
He lasted about a month
His replacement came in, nice gal with a couple notable local restaurants under her belt.
She was corking the wine on the first table I gave her no problem and she was on the floor a day early.
Was the difference that she wasn’t corporate?
Nah, we all started somewhere.
The difference was she believed in herself, not an employee handbook.