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Restaurant_Slave

it depends on how the restaurant runs really, mine we don't have to remember who ordered what, we just get to the table and ask who's had what meal. And i'd suggest only carrying the smallest amount possible until you can cope with bigger loads :) i started with 2 plates, now i can carry 5 starters or 4 meals at once :)

Caper

It's a small, family - run restaurant :)

Porn clerk

Ugh polishing chrome racks. We have to do that to. Always makes my hands break out in a rash for some reason. Polishing those bastards sucks. Get a foot stool to sit on while you do it.

Red

Most restaurants allow you to write down what a person ordered. Say there's four people at a table, number them off 1-4 and write an order next to each one. When their food comes out, just look at what you wrote and see that the guy at spot one had this, seat two had this, etc.

Not dropping things comes with practice. Just start with a plate in each hand or a cup in each hand until you're comfortable using a tray (if the restaurant uses them) or until you're able to carry more. If you want practice, try using plates at home. Try carrying two plates in each hand or try holding three or four cups at once :)

Caper

Porn clerk .. we aren't allowed sitting at The Basin, lol. I just refused to do it anyway - she couldn't do much about it. The sad thing is, because of this managers attitude - no one respects her. She's messing with other managers and department heads who have worked there longer than she's been alive.

Anyway, I'm happy I'm leaving that hell hole. But I will miss the two older women I work with in shoes .. they were amazing and hilarious people.

&&Thanks for the advice so far, guys. I'm hoping I do well.

Jess

I had all of these same questions when I had my first serving job. I worked at a family restaurant and it took me a couple of weeks to get a system down for remembering everything. Usually, if there were more than two people at a table I would start on the person to my left and jut work my way around the table so that when the food came out, I would be able to look at the order slip and know who got what. It sounds silly, but it helped me A LOT. I was really scared about dropping things as well... My advice would be to not overload yourself regardless of what the other waitstaff are doing. Only carry as much as you feel comfortable with. And if you need, as the other servers for help. Usually they're more than happy to help you if they have a free moment :) Hope this helps :D

mir

most restraunts make you do random mundane jobs that the owneres and auditors notice, so those jobs are thrown to the lowly servers. i remember spending over an hour soaking a brittle piece of wood with oil but because it was so dry it soaked it up. nice hour spent.

sometimes we number the seats, such as seat one, two, three, four if a booth or evens on the left, odds on the right. it's bad taste for certain restraunts to ask the people at the table what they ordered, they are there to have a good time and not have us auction off their drinks. that comes from the management tongue, i would gladly just put everything in the middle of the table and let them figure it out.

it gets easier though its a slow progression.

NC Tony

It'll come with practice. Some of the others have made good points (numbering each order, starting from the left and working around the table). Not dropping stuff also comes from practice, when I first started waiting tables I dared only to carry two plates at a time, as time went by I was able to carry up to four plates at a time (or a fully loaded tray if the restaurant had them). Like any job, it'll get easier as time goes on.

Retail Psycho

I hate to say it Caper but if I was the manager at The Basin I would have fired you anyway. Regardless of whether you want to do it or not and regardless of whether you think it should be done by you the racks DO need cleaning. You and all your co-workers were probably not happy with her requests that day because she was asking you to do cleaning jobs that need to be done but no-one ever does them.

Having worked in many retail service jobs I can say that there are a lot of cleaning tasks out there that people don't want to do but they have to be done.

You'll probably find at the restaurant too you'll be made to clean stuff that you don't think needs doing. Are you going to refuse to do it and quit there too?

Caper

Retail Psycho - Um, this manager has no say over my employment. It's actually the maintenance staff's job. The store manager, who does have say over my employment wasn't too happy about this either.

Thanks for making assumptions though.

Art & Amaretto

Oh man, welcome to serving, Caper! You'll get used to it, promise. Memorizing the menu / what dishes are what orders just takes some exposure; just approach it like studying for school. I found that taking orders around the table in the same general order usually helps (and after a while will become second nature), and you'll quickly get a feel for the balance of trays and plates.

Don't let anyone bully you into carrying "their" way, btw. Watch to see how various servers do it and then figure out what works for you. For instance, I have tiny hands. (Like, child-sized hands.) Obviously, I cannot balance four 32oz. cups in the exact same configuration as, say, a 6'5" man with palms the size of coconuts.

Oh, and my #1 pet peeve from my serving days: People who reach for the plate AS YOU ARE SAYING "The plate is hot." Get used to extending the plate towards them and immediately yanking it out of reach, because MAN, they don't LISTEN.

Buck Bait

No one mentions the gross jobs that go with serving -

anyways. be prepared, in your down time, to be clean clean CLEANING. Depending on your boss, you can probably expect some of the weirdest, grossest cleaning jobs - and the more mundane, repetitive jobs that drive you batshit crazy. Mine was always sweeping. I HATE SWEEPING.

Like other people said, do NOT carry things "other people's way" that is EXACTLY how I ended up messing up my shoulder and dropping a tray that my old manager had conveniently loaded up with 10 plates, then told me to "suck it up you'll be ok!"

Invest in comfy shoes. I know you're used to wearing heels to work, but even if it means spending extra cash, get the comfy shoes. You won't be sorry for it.

I know someone mentioned practicing at home, but I'd start hitting up the gym too if you're lacking in upper body/arm strength. One of the places I worked required that you carry trays with your arm straight above your head - it reaallly blows if you don't have the muscle tone.

And get used to your food schedule getting really messed up :) I'd keep a granola bar in your bag at all times.

Caper

Just to clarify, I'm not concerned about the dirty work and I'm sorry if I gave off that impression in my post.

I was upset because at The Basin, crawling on floors and scrubbing isn't our job. And the fact that she adds "Before you leave us" and "I know your quitting, but" to every sentence before she asks me to do something disgusting is what gets me.

I understand as waitstaff it's a different ballgame. Hell, I'm studying for an LPN diploma and that's full of nasty work right there.

I should have been a bit more clear though :)

Skittles

@Art & Amaretto Darn I'm one of those people who reach for the plates, to be fair I know they wont burn me as I can pull baking sheets out of the oven bare handed(yeah calluses). Good to know it irritates people though, now I know better I'll stop.

@Caper good luck!

BeautyQueen

The new manager got in trouble for "leaning"? What?

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