#EATiquette

So when I first started this blog, I thought it would be a great place for people to come together and share their experiences in the restaurant industry, like Habermas’s ‘public sphere‘.

I was wrong.

What it turned into (and I’m okay with it) was a place for me to voice my frustrations… and for people to respond to them.

Fun for me. Kind of annoying and mundane for everyone else.

In fact, it’s eerily similar to how Wikipedia started out– with the Wikipolice deciding what was ‘discuss-able’ and what needed to be cut out.

So I decided that I needed a separate (but connected) sphere where people could actually vent their own frustrations. Not only because I love hearing the crazy stories of other people, but also because restaurant workers need a place to vent. We’re not allowed to do it at the restaurant (for fear a customer or manager will hear us), even though most of the time it’s the only thing we can think of during our entire shift.

And so emerged #EATiquette— a magical place full of memes and blog posts and articles and media meant to bring the restaurant worker community together full force– for a commiseration session (or two, or three) whenever our little fragile hearts desire.

There are a few things to note: While #EATiquette is completely open to posting by anyone, the platform Tumblr does not attribute names to the entries, so there’s really no holding anyone accountable to their posts. That said, this might incentivize some to contribute who otherwise might not… considering many posts are personal and can expose intense emotion at times.

Also, there seems to be no ‘Reply’ function on the platform, making it difficult to actually have a discussion. I attempted to begin a conversation or two on the site, but whether the Chat function actually works has yet to be seen.

Either way, it seems that the site has garnered a few followers, and at the very least a small base of contributors.

Enjoy diving into the mind of a restaurant worker– and be warned: We can get fiesty!

Wake up and smell the fresh air.

I’ve recently started working at another restaurant.

(No, I’m not sadomasochistic– I just need to pay RENT.)

Anyway, this place has an expansive outdoor patio area, consisting of twelve four-top tables. That’s in addition to the main dining area (with about 13 tables) and an upstairs (with about 15 more). The place isn’t usually packed, but given the great weather lately, people have been clamoring for the patio seats.

This would be fine, except for one detail: At THIS restaurant, average sitting time is an hour and a half.

And most people stay for well over two.

See, this isn’t a “family-friendly diner” or a cutesy little eatery. It’s pretty much a bar with fine-dining intertwined into the experience.

So here’s the fun part about being a hostess at a place like this: While the wait time for the restaurant is typically always “0 minutes”, the wait time for the patio runs between 45 minutes to an hour and a half. And for parties of six or more people, it could literally be a wait of “forever” (because we’d need to wait for two tables next to each other to get up so we could move the tables together— & we don’t hold tables for this purpose if someone else comes up asking for one)

So last night, a couple came in an requested the patio. There were three other parties on the list in front of them and no one outside had their check yet (although two girls had been sitting at their table for well over 3 hours by then)

(This is when they stumbled out, classy & drunk:)

 

I digress.

So, I told the couple it would be about 40 minutes until we could find them a table, but that we had really great tables upstairs by the window, which would be both cooler AND quicker (as they could be seated immediately)

After a brief period of deliberation, they decided to take the table upstairs. My manager led them up, while two more couples came in and put their names on the list for the patio.

About 10 minutes later, I saw the upstairs couple sitting at the bar and asked my manager why they weren’t upstairs. He informed me that they’d decided they wanted to wait after all.

Cue confusion.

I put them on the bottom of the waitlist, perplexed because, well, they had just given up a great table next to a window (AND the chance of even SEEING food in the next 2 hours) for… a patio seat?

HERE’S WHAT I DON’T UNDERSTAND: Why not just GO TO A RESTAURANT TO EAT FOOD– and then, when you’re done, WALK AROUND IN THE NICE WEATHER??!!!

Where the heck is the logic in waiting at a bar for 2 hours while the night becomes less agreeable, without the guarantee that you’ll even be seated outside after all?? You’re wasting your life away, people.

As it turns out, they sat at the bar for a little over an hour, staring me down in my periphery while I seated the tables in front of them at 40-minute intervals, until I finally went over and told them that no one was getting up outside and they’d probably be better off eating in the restaurant. They eagerly agreed, and I sat them inside. In the main dining room. Nowhere near a window.

So not only did they waste almost 2 hours of their lives WAITING, but they got the crummier table AND they lost out on precious outdoor time.

I just don’t get it. And honestly, I probably never will.

Servers Down?

This is fascinating and terrifying all at the same time.

So apparently a new gadget, called the Presto, is debuting around states like California and may very well redefine the way we eat out.

The Presto is a Kindle-like tablet with a touchscreen that lets customers order their meals and pay the bill– all without the need for a server.

Server response?

!@#%^$^%$!#$???!

What does this mean for the future of restaurant workers if they’re not longer needed??!

Some say these tablets could very well replace severs in the restaurant-place. Others have a more positive outlook, suggesting that perhaps this would benefit servers, since they’ll be able to spend less time and energy on menial tasks like dividing bills, running checks, and placing orders, and concentrate on more important parts of the process, like suggesting plates, providing information about drinks and meal options, and just giving an overall more in-depth experience to the customer.

Who knows? But I hope I’m well into my professional career before this happens. ‘Cause I’ve gotta make myself a LIVING.

One thing’s certain, though. This is VERY good news for people who dread human interaction of all kinds. Maybe this will get more people out of the house and into the dining experience?