Friday, September 18, 2009

Tips for the dining-impaired.

All of this should be common sense but, unfortunately, through waitressing I've learned it's not. I'll start from the beginning.


1. Honor thy hostess. Reservations. Some restaurants take them and some don't. The Hooters I work for happens to NOT take reservations. Getting cranky with the hostess will not help your situation. It is, however, helpful to call ahead to let us know that 40 of your closest friends are coming in. We'll TRY to keep some tables together open, but we wont make any promises. Why? Because nine times out of ten, less than HALF of the people will end up showing up, and most of them hang out for just fifteen minutes. This isn't your private pool house, and we end up losing money while your friends take up tables that could have been sat by people actually want to eat dinner and tip well.

2. Thou shalt not seat thyself. Hostesses seat you at a table for a reason, but we understand if you'd prefer to sit elsewhere. However, let the HOSTESS know before you're sat. You should also understand that, because of this slight disturbance to the restaurant's flow, it might take a few minutes longer for the waitress to get to your table. It's because she has other tables she needs to take care of. (I'm saying she because only shes' are waitresses at Hooters.) Another no-no is asking to move to a different table after you've been sitting at yours for some time. If you must, understand that you will most likely receive a different waitress, unless you move to another table in her section. We have sections because it's easier to keep tabs on tables that are all in the same area. It's a real pain in the ass to have to run to the other side of the restaurant to check on that table that "needed" to move because a booth opened up halfway through their meal.

3. Thou shall drink at the bar. We have a perfectly good bar, and it drives me crazy when a group of two or three strolls in during a rush and sits in my booth that holds 6 comfortably only to ask for two glasses of water and a bud light or two. I don't care if you're just hanging out before a concert or a football game. I don't care that you already ate. You're going to sit there for an hour, racking up your $6.75 tab, while there is a line out the door. Then, for my trouble, you'll leave me $7. I'm losing money. I have to tip out buss boys and the restaurant takes out a percentage of my sales to tip out the hostesses, breakers, bartenders, and kitchen staff. That is what the bar or even the patio is for. You may be low maintenance, but I'd take a high-maintenance high-tipper any day.

4. Thou shalt not monopolize thy Hooters Girl. I have other tables, and while I love a good conversation, I'm here to do my job. Fit in what ever you can into a minute or two, but when I have a full section, that is about all I can spare. It's rude to keep me there, and I'll have to seem rude to leave and tend to my other tables. It's also rude to complain about the amount of time I spend at other tables. I'll be honest with you. They're actually ordering food and drinks, which usually ends in a better tip.

5. Thou shalt not block thy Hooters Girl. Some people need help with basic navigating through the restaurant. Your Hooters Girl always has the right of way. Always. (ok, maybe not always, but if she's headed straight for you with 2 plates of 50 wings each, it's your funeral.) Hooters girls aren't waitresses. They're Hooters Girls. If we were waitresses, we would be allowed to give you only the basic service. (Normal service.) So when you see me walking towards you with two pitchers of beer in one hand and five ice cold glasses in the other, MOVE! Step aside. I don't care if you're a chick either. I have a million other things to do, dances to dance, kids to entertain, and beer to pour. I have the right of way because I'm at work, and you're here because you have nothing better to do. (Thanks for coming in by the way!)
*Note: Because of the informality of the Hooters Restaurants Guests are literally EVERYWHERE. At my location, during any type of game or event, it can be like trying to move through the mosh pit at Warped Tour. Not fun when you're, as I said before, carting around platters of wings and pitchers of beer.

6. Thou shalt not whine. Up-selling. I have to do this. It's part of the "16-steps" I've had memorized from day one. Also, the more you spend, the more I can potentially make. I know that makes me sound like a gold-digging hussy, but this is a business, and that is how we make our money. Did you really think we had "hooters girl" at the top of our "What I want to be when I grow up" lists? I didn't, so shut up and smile while I tell you how good our chocolate mousse cake is or about our awesome t-shirt deal going on. If you really don't give a damn, tell me straight up: "I am not a secret shopper. I do not intend to purchase anything other than what I will ask for." I will still make sure you receive good service because I am a good karma-fearing waitress.

7. Thou shalt not refuse to pay for a meal after it's been eaten. That makes sense, right? I don't need to explain this one, do I? If you don't like your food, for god sakes, tell me! I am required to check on you after "2-bites or 2-minutes!" and gosh darn it, I do it! Why? Because I should, and because it is something the secret shopper looks for. So, it is definitely not the time to whine to me about an entree, after dessert and coffee, when I drop off the check. That window of opportunity closed when I asked if everything was ok thirty minutes ago and you said YES.

8. Thou shalt not ask for separate checks after the meal. Need I say more? I always ask if I need to split checks if I'm serving a party of five or more. It's annoying and some people do look offended, but it's something I've learned I need to do. Occasionally I'll forget. So please, if you are not intelligent enough to add numbers and factor in tax, let me know that you'll need separate checks BEFORE you order. Things will flow much easier. (at hooters, we can put ANY amount you ask for on your card, and THEN we'll give you your receipt where you can add in the tip! You have 5 friends and 4 are paying with cards and 1 with cash? Perfect! Tell me how much to put on each card and if your friend is expecting change! Easy peasy!)

9. Thou shall keep a respectable distance between thyself and thy Hooters Girl. I cannot stress this one enough. I've been picked up, hugged, name it. And that's fine. But this issue is about the message it sends to other, much more intoxicated guests. It is also the reason why the boyfriend does not receive a kiss (which would be unprofessional anyway) or anything more than a friendship hug when he comes to visit me. And he only gets a hug when he's near the door and out of sight. There is a reason why we ask you to put your hands in your pockets during our delightfully tacky Hooters Hokey Pokey.

10. Thou shall tip at least 15% That's a given, right? I hope so. After all we do for your care and amusement. Coupons? Bring em!! But please realize that the tip should be calculated before the discount. We did serve you the food. The kitchen did prepare it. The bus boy does have more mess to clean because of it. Common sense people.

And that's it for today. I don't mean to sound like I have to wait on complete idiots all the time. Many of my guests are wonderful and entertaining themselves. They're a pleasure to wait on. But I have seen my fair share of the dining-impaired, so pass this indispensable knowledge on to your friends and loved ones. Please, on behalf of your Hooters Girls and Servers.


Sauce said...

Love it, however I don't agree with number five. I always give the guest the right of way. Maybe it's just me, but I don't think I deserve the right of way just because I'm a Hooters Girl. Being a Hooters Girl isn't some huge privilege, but in a way being a pay guest is a privilege. After all, doesn't being a guest anywhere mean you are catered to? Does this not include right of way in passing?

Besides, it takes just a second to step to the side and let a guest pass me or step around them.

brit said...

Thanks :o)

This post was written after a very stressful and irritating shift. I will always move out of the way if my hands are empty. However, when I am carrying something, i'm usually carrying a lot of it, making it almost impossible for me to step aside without dumping a plate of 50 wings on a poor, unsuspecting guest.

Also, I don't mean to offend any other server by appearing to think my job is more difficult. It is, and it isn't. We have less side work, but much more socializing and entertaining to do, which many girls might find a welcomed alternative. I, however, am painfully shy, and entertaining and pretending to be comfortable can be extremely draining.

Sauce said...

I agree that a guest should move if I'm carrying food. I guess I've never had an issue with people not moving though when I have plates full of fried goodness. You'd think most people would have enough common sense to move, but if I've learned one thing it's that common sense is really anything but common.