Sunday, 24 June 2007

I Believe Children/Monkeys are the Future

the future of the world is in his hands well the "waiting" world that is

The wonderfully named Tallulahbloom asked me if I passed my expertise on to the new kids that I work with. And I certainly do! As we pool our tips in the restaurant it makes sense to pass on my knowledge to the wetbacks. If I'm being honest I really enjoy it too. All I ask is that they have a modicum of intelligence, the ability to move quickly when required and most importantly of all a good personality. I can teach a monkey to set a table, in fact I have on several occasions, but I cant teach them the finer points of polite chit-chat.

And it's the chit-chat that makes the money. I've worked with some fantastically efficient, to the point of being Germanic, waiters over the years. They never made mistakes, they kept the tables clean, they were ever so polite and always well turned out. But they never made the cash that some of the other slightly absent minded and a little bit shabby looking waiters made that know how to talk (I mean me obviously). Don't get me wrong if you go out for dinner it's because you want something to eat not because you want to have a natter with a 30 something bald man. David Letterman can talk but I'm not sure he would make a good waiter. So the best waiters are efficient, knowledgeable and can talk.

More often than not I get buddied up with the new start. This can be a pain in the ass and also the pocket. If they work with me I give them a full cut of my tips right from day one. So I leave them in no doubt that they need to learn and learn quickly. I don't go for the Yoda style of training, i.e over a very long period.

"Teach you to open wine I will."

They need to get the basics down quickly and start earning cash. That's what makes the training so important.

I myself, was trained by a legend in waiting, "Our Eddie". He was old school in every respect. He himself was a product of the Grand Central Hotel in Belfast. It doesn't exist any more having been shifted to make way for a shopping centre, brilliant! Eddie worked under managers and head waiters who would have been trained by people from the reign of queen Victoria.

But Eddie himself was much looser than that might suggest. He was always immaculately dressed, this was a time before bloody polo shirts became the uniform of choice in restaurants. Eddie always had a smile on his face, and always had at least 2 Gin & Tonics in him no matter what time of the day it was. Most restaurant staff of that era were hard drinkers. Most restaurant staff of this era are hard drinkers. Clearly not me. I mean these people could neck a bottle of brandy during shift and still carry 6 soup at a time. Another waiter, "Stormy Wynne", had perfected the knack of downing a brandy/whiskey/vodka whilst carrying plates. He would kick the swinging doors open with his foot, down the drink, and balance his load on one hand all in one swift movement. I aspire to such skill levels. These people were grafters, they worked long and hard, and you never heard them gripe about needing a break or the way a manager spoke to them. They were the real managers.

Eddie never "taught" me anything, but I learnt everything from him. Well him and what became the "holy trinity", Eddie, Stormy, and my dad. All graduates from the GC Hotel, all hard drinkers, all absolute legends in what they did. I learnt the skills from Stormy, the chat from Eddie, the drive for perfection from dad. There were others too. Nora taught me how to set a room for 100 people in 30 minutes and still get 2 smoke breaks in. Now that's a skill.

Only Stormy is still in the game. Dad is done. Years of 13/14 hours shifts in a kitchen have taken its toll and he is retired at the age of 58. Nora is beaten too, washed up and well, drunk. And Eddie is serving G and T's in God's restaurant. He died a few years back, cancer, still young, still laughing, still missed...

So it's up to me now. So send me your monkeys/children and I will give you hard drinking, hard working, cash making waiters who can charm the birds from the air and percentages from your credit card.

you are all Manuel's children now....

15 People trying to get Manuel's attention:

Rodrigo said...

Oi, achei teu blog pelo google tá bem interessante gostei desse post. Quando der dá uma passada pelo meu blog, é sobre camisetas personalizadas, mostra passo a passo como criar uma camiseta personalizada bem maneira. Até mais.

Medbh said...

Kee-rist, restaurant people can party, Manuel. It was always "work hard, play hard" for us and there were also lots of extra powdery type stuff floating around as well.
You've earned your holidays coming up!

Manuel said...

Medbh: Ah but these were the days before white snorting powders. I dont like em. I dont like people who take em. Brandy drinkers are a classier bunch. As for my hols, it's all I can think about...

Rodrigo: Eh hello. Thank you n all that but I dont need any t shirts. Ningún gracias. Soy aceptable para las camisas de T

savannah said...

well done, sugar! (i've been partying) love the pic...and they all look soooo much like you!

ellie said...

Sometimes I read stuff like shits vs polo shirts and wonder if it is looking back with rose tinted glasses but I am sure its not, there is a slip in standards in all walks of life and no one really gives a damn. Sad :(

Im sure I know the guy at the right end of the back row and the girl 2nd left is familiar too, must be her tash!

Manuel said...

Ellie: When it comes to a choice between "shits" or a polo shirt I'll take the polo shirt. HEHEHEHEHE

Lord Milky said...

An army of waiters created in your mould. It's actually quite frightening.

Manuel said...

Savannah: All mine now, all mine. Hope your weekend was fun fun fun

Lord Milky: First time eh? Welcome. Every egomaniac needs an army...

Monkey Loving Marty said...

More of the monkeys of you eluded to in the title please. MONKEY MONKEY MONKEY

Fat Sparrow said...

Good job, Manuel. It's a fine line between "chatty" and "fucking annoying git" and you have obviously come out on the winning side. Now, if you could come over to America and have a go at the plate-flingers over here....

tallulahbloom said...

When I read about your pride and dedication to your work I get a warm glowing feeling all over!!
I will be sending my first born to the well done fillet summer training camp.

Manuel said...

mlm: You love the monkeys eh, mine are just for comedic purposes only. Sorry to tempt you like that.

Fat Sparrow: Hi how are ya? How are you today? Oh wow you look great.... that sort of jazz? [SHUDDER] Not from me or my army of Manuels

Tallulahbloom: I will return them in 3/5 years with a swag bay of cash

finn said...

what kind of gin does eddie recommend for god's G&T's?

Manuel said...

Finn: Welcome would you like a drink? G & T? Plymouth Gin is the daddy of all Gins and don't let anyone tell you different...

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