Monday, 6 October 2008

They grow up so quick.....


looks easy eh?

I had just returned from a quick smoke break, that is to say a one smoke break as opposed to a two smoke break, and was surveying the damage of yet another fantastic Friday. It had been busy, bend over and take it sort of busy. My table of ten nutritionalists had just left. Lovely people, didn't order any fries or anything with fat but seemed happy with their steamed veggies and fish with sauce and flavour removed.


The restaurant was emptying, the guests were air kissing each other goodbye and trying not to trip over their own feet on the way out. Many don't realise how much wine they have guzzled over the past few hours until they try to leave. It's most amusing to watch seemingly genteel and strait-laced ladies do the earthquake walk in their heels through the restaurant. Most amusing indeed.

It's around this time that a whole new wave of energy ripples across the restaurant floor. It's like a giant can of Red Bull has been opened and cocaine is falling from the ceiling. Waiters who twenty minutes previous were labouring hard with every simple task and huffing and puffing about sore feet are suddenly energized. People start moving like characters in a silent movie, that is to say very bloody fast and sans the inane chatter that normally accompanies our toil.

Someone, normally me, sets a target finish time which is of course ridiculously short but it gets the kids moving. It's also ridiculous because we always finish at the same time every night, half eleven. Don't know how it happens but it's always half eleven. I mean I'm not sure what will happen when we have to work past half eleven some night. Unchartered waters and all that, a few may perish on the rocks of lateness.

Clearly as everyone else was busy clearing and setting I decided it was time for another smoke break under the guise of "leaving the rubbish out". This is normally a two smoke break. Lovely two smoke break. So of I toddled with the rubbish and waiter chum number one who is of course wise to my many ruses and deceits when it comes to smoke breaks. But this also when we pick the night apart and dissect the service. Guests get rated (arseholes or awesome, there is nothing in between), food gets scored, management involvement gets mercilessly criticized or on occasion praised.

We pulled hard at our last smokes and headed back in. We got to the bar where we spied one of the new younglings setting a table. She was a worry for a while but seems to have turned a corner following a particularly bad weekend. A bad weekend can make or break and in her case it's seems to have made her. Well she is still here so that's a good sign. We stood back and watched her set a four top. A few weeks ago her table setting was, if I'm being generous, a fucking tragedy. It was as if the cutlery had been dropped on the table from a great height. But now it was precise, perfectly symmetric, and set with all the love and care of a heart surgeon operating on their mother.

"See that?" asked waiter chum number one.

"Yup, just brilliant."

"Yup, brilliant." I concurred dabbing a tear from the corner of my eye with a napkin.

"She's setting at an OCD level now."

"She sure is."

And that's the sign of a good waiter, an obsessive compulsion for symmetry.

We are ever so proud.

24 People trying to get Manuel's attention:

Darragh said...

That's actually quite sweet Manuel!

belfastyouthworker said...

surely because it's the end of the night she should just fire the cutlery and napkins on the table, grab her coat and get to the bar? that's what i used to do!!

K8 the Gr8 said...

That was my favourite time of bar-work... the stage when the hoover's just been put away and you glance at your watch and find it's only 1:00 and there's still time for a pint. You're right, the grudgery totally dissolves.

Excellent ending :)

Manuel said...

darragh: well I am actually quite sweet......sorry I meant sweaty.......I'm actually quite sweaty

byw: yes and then I'd find you, drag you back, rub your nose in it like a bad puppy and make you do it all over again.......

k8: it's my second favourite part of the night, the tip distribution is my favourite part.....

MJ said...

My last restaurant outing in high heels resulted in tipsy swaying to the hotel next door as the restaurant loo was out of order.

Not a pretty sight.

MJ said...

But I remembered to tip.

Manuel said...

mj: classy lady! for tipping that is.......

savannah said...

so, himself is so concerned about tipping the correct amount now that he didn't even read the bill for room service and tipped 20% on TOP of the automatic 20% gratuity included! his response when i mentioned it this morning? "i read manuel, baby, just doin my part!" xoxo

Medbh said...

Pupils are only as good as their teachers, Manuel!
She had the benefit of your professional grace and talent to help her along.

samcrea said...

Manny, the younger ones dont understand the need for everthing to be just right... they think we is nuts...

RIP TM

Manuel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Manuel said...

savannah: no no no! we always tell the punter when they have done that. we dont want them getting all bitter later.....

medbh: and my constant nagging and tutting.....

Manuel said...

sam: i wish i could live their carefree put it anywhere lives.....

Waiter Extraordinaire said...

A great story on patience and some sweat to bring a new person along and see them do a good job.
You know a lot of waiters don't care to set a table properly or if they did we wouldn't have to do a table check on our section the following shift.This new one is a serious one.

B said...

how would you like having my younger brother work for you?

he's a perfectionist with asperger's.

sheepworrier said...

So are you looking to hand the reins over to this young padawan anytime soon, Manuel?

Maxi Cane said...

It's a proud moment when that happens alright.

Watch that shift when she gets out of control and begins to correct you on your little oversights.

Not so proud.

Manuel said...

steve: if only i coulde get her to set a table in under ten minutes

b: minty......

Manuel said...

sheepo: not a bloody chance......i worry about the place burning down when i'm on a break as it is.....

maxi: they've tried it a few times......like puppies snapping at the big dog

savannah said...

whoa, my comment shows just how tired i was earlier, so nothing to do with your lovely post! (no worries about the MITM, he's a good sort who bears no grudge) xoxo

to the point, good training is the basis for a happy and productive life! kids, dogs, husbands and now we see the same holds for waiters! ;)

Blondefabulous said...

Training then up rightly I see. Good for you. Careful though as soon they may be wanting you place...

Swearing Mother said...

What I really want to know is the difference between an Awesome customer and an Arsehole.

Any tips?

jen said...

Aw - bless 'er. It's always nice to see someone 'get it' at work and just crack on with doing a good job of things. Like taking the water wings off and seeing who sinks or swims.

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