Monday, 10 December 2007

Black Friday is coming and the waiters are getting scared

The First Casualty of Black Friday is Innocence
the second is your feet....


The weekend was tough. Not the worst but tough all the same. Next Friday though, the 14th, is Black Friday. This was more charcoal Friday than Black. Black Friday is the busiest day of the year. It's like all hell is let loose and it needs to be fed in five 2-hour sittings. No other day is more eagerly anticipated and feared by chefs, waiters, and bar staff alike. I'm not doing it justice.....

It's fucking hell on earth. It's the perfect storm. It's the tenth circle of hell. It's 14 hours straight, no break, no food, no smokes, no coming up for air. It's not for the weak, the fainthearted or those of a nervous disposition. And certainly not for those who cant work four hours in a row without resorting to quoting European Employment law. All bets are off, all workers rights are put on hold. By the end of lunch you have served more tables than you would on a Saturday night and you still have three sittings to go. If you are unfortunate enough to die during service then you can expect to be moved to the side. Someone will send your next of kin a text message to come and collect you. This is the Champions League/Superbowl of restaurant work. The big fight of catering. The rumble in the restaurant. The Olympics for waiters. Anyone for steroids? It really doesn't get tougher than Black Friday....

It's all about the anticipation of what might happen. Actually it's all about what might go wrong. If we get it wrong on a Tuesday night we might annoy 2 or 3 customers. If we get it wrong on Black Friday we might end up with a riot on our hands. Hell hath no fury like a mid ranking Civil Service manager who has to wait longer for their turkey and ham than they hoped. And with communications being what they are these days you can expect a withering email of complaint before you have even got the tables reset again. I've never been involved in a Black Friday disaster, touch wood I never will. But stories of other restaurants serving desserts at 1 am and customers who had to wait an hour and a half for their first course last for years. It sends a very cold shiver down my back at the thought of it. Your adrenalin is fueled by the desire not to be the one that fucks it all up and personal pride in the job. But mainly the former reason.

Conversely, it's also the greatest rush you can get working in a restaurant. It's a fucking high. The adrenalin is pumping from the moment you put on your uniform. A restaurant in full flow is a beautiful thing. When it flows right, when all you can hear is the laughter of your customers and the popping of corks, when all the staff are moving as one as if choreographed, when the plates go out full and come back empty, when the chef still calls you by your first name and not fuck-wit then it truly is a joy to behold. Not that you have time to behold anything. You will work harder on Black Friday than on any other day in the year. You will also make more money than on any other day. Which is nice. Black Friday is also a very Golden Friday too...

And it's all I can think about....sweet Jebus I'm scared......and excited too.....but mainly scared.....

20 People trying to get Manuel's attention:

Upset Waitress said...

No worries Manuel. Maybe you'll have a waiter's nightmare the day before. These nightmares always help with coping. :)

Upset Waitress said...

Oh, our black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving over here. We were slow as shit this year.

Medbh said...

Many blessings and tips your way, Manuel.
May your charm and skills draw much cash.

MJ said...

Will someone please record Manuel's Black Friday for YouTube?

dave said...

You seem to have it in for us civil servants! Tsk, you'd almost think we don't do any work ;-)

Yes, and mine is on Black Friday. I will be the one crying in my soup, then throwing a psycho afterwards.
May your tip jar be overflowing with crisp twenties!

Now...where did I leave my ak47?

ellie said...

May all your Friday's be golden.

bendersbetterbrother said...

I need help manuel. I have to take 2 country gents somewhere in Belfast one lunchtime this week for a fat lunch and drinks. They're not fancy, though one gets as racy as Chinese, like their portions and I need somewhere I can have a guaranteed booking rather than a walk in and wait.
Can you suggest a couple of places that might fit the bill.
If so email me at my addy or leave it here.
Ta

Anonymous said...

Hi Manuel,

We're having our 'do' on Friday too.

What can you recommend from the cheap menu?

Queen Of Clean said...

What's the worst that could happen?

Vodka bottle, inside pocket, long straw....you'll be bulletproof!

Gypsy said...

Oh how I remember the anticipation, fear and dread that goes with one of those big days in the restaurant business. Hope you get tipped plenty and that your feet last the distance.

sheepworrier said...

redbull? check.
pro plus? check.
sacrificial hamster to ye gods of tips? check

Na, I think you'll be sorted Manuel. The city was feckin buzzin at the weekend. couldn't get a taxi for love nor money. They do seem to prefer money tho...

savannah said...

you'll be in the zone, sugar...you're a pro! happy waiting and mucho dinero!

Native Minnow said...

Yikes. Good luck!

nick said...

Good luck Manuel - over the top, up and attem! Reminds me of the last Saturday before Christmas when I worked in Waterstones. It seemed like they were buying every book in the shop, plus the fixtures and fittings if they could. Hope you get plenty of mega-tips to lubricate the mega-shift.

Anonymous Boxer said...

God Speed, Sir.

yoyo said...

Oh god OH GOD I CANT DO THIS ! I CANT DO THIS!!

*starts cutting off peoples ears*

Manuel said...

Upseto: Cheers, I think you need the fear .....it keeps you from fucking up.....

Medbh: Nearly at imac target already...

Mj: Oh you'd like that wouldn't you.....

Dave: It's not civil servants per se Dave it's the organiser one. They are always a pain in the ass....

Ellie: Thanks......

BBB: If it's Tuesday or Wednesday you shouldn't have a problem in most places. You have no chance after......Try Ginger....or Mourne Seafood Bar, but they don't take lunch bookings but it is so worth it. Was in there again today.....magnificent...or Aldens on the Newtownards Road or even Metro on Botanic Avenue.....

Anonymous: Cheap menu? ha......this is December dream on.....

Queenie: Good grief no way. It'll be nothing but stolen sprouts other peoples spuds and water all day.......

Gypsy: Despite all the pain and ball busting it is usually a great day to work......and you normally go home with a months worth of tips.....

Sheepo: I need nothing but the hint of cash to get me through the day.....Value Cabs computer(hamster on a wheel) went down for 3 hours which caused the city to die on it' arse......

Savannah: Thanks....

Native Minnow: Cheers for that.....

Nick: It's the amateurs that cause the problems..the once a year drinkers......[shudder]

Boxer: Thanks.....

Yoyo: yup that'll be me come Friday morning.....

AM said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bendersbetterbrother said...

Bloody Friday it is....

..but thanks for the tips.

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