TABLE BY TABLE

How does a waiter¬†do his job? Table by table,¬†just like that…

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The fewer the trips to a certain table, the better and easier it is. Forgetting items, like lemon for tea, sugar for the coffee, the proper wine glasses for an ordered bottle of wine surely creates hell during a busy time.

TABLE BY TABLE

From the people I have met over the years in the restaurant business many have gone on to other fields more suitable for them. Some of the old colleagues who used to wait tables with me are now happy in their dream careers. Others are still unhappy. I know x-waiters who are now bankers, attorneys, bus drivers, cab drivers, sales agent, nurses and teachers. At least one third of the waiters I have worked with, have disappeared the same way they appeared, one day here and the next day somewhere else.

If the money is good and there are always job openings for experienced wait people then why do so many choose to move on?

It’s a demanding field, the working as a waiter. It’s hard to pretend to be a waiter when you want to be someone else. Very few people can last in the profession unless they are “real waiters.” To be a waiter demands to show up. It demands to get organized. It demands the contact with the public. It demands quick thinking. It demands to be diplomatic. It demands to be able to stand on ones feet for many hours at a time. It demands fast reactions. It demands surefootedness. It demands math skills. It demands to be organized. It demands consistency.
To be organized starts with knowing ones own limitations, the knowing how many tables one can handle, how many people, how many orders. This lesson is a hard one. It cannot be taught by reading or telling. One has to be there, swamped with customers and up to the chin in tickets. It took a few of this being down under and swimming, wishing it would end soon before I started to say “No” to more than I can handle. However for some waiters three tables are too much, for others the limits are ten tables. Whatever the limit might be, to stay well below the maximum ability takes stress of ones feet, shoulders and head. So does the taking of orders at only one table at any given time. It also makes sense to find a pace, a steady pace comfortable for the waiter.

Table by table, I take the order at the first one, after this I go to the next table and then the next. Table by table is the only way.
If the orders are written down clearly and complete, there is no reason to go back to the table to ask for more instructions, all there is to be done now is the delivery of the ordered items. The fewer the trips to a certain table, the better and easier it is. Forgetting items, like lemon for tea, sugar for the coffee, the proper wine glasses for an ordered bottle of wine surely creates hell during a busy time.
There are certain customers who look for their waiter every time he turns his back on them. That cannot be changed, if I have to, I shall overlook their waving hand. Depending on where I work I have to adjust my attitude and ability to organize.

To group orders and to cut down on empty handed trips helps a lot. I might carry the food orders for several tables on the same tray — to cut down on trips — but I serve it to my guest one table at a time, table by table.

by helmut schonwalder