Monday, October 01, 2007

Why is he always so serious? What's so important all the time? How come he doesn't talk to us more? What's the deal with the fake smile when he's on the floor? Doesn't he know that this isn't brain surgery--that all this stuff really doesn't matter?

Few of our guests pick up on the rather severe countenance I carry most evenings. The reason for that is because when I talk to them [and I try to have at least a passing word with all of our guests each evening] I keep a little smile on my face, I make and accept small jokes and pleasantries, and thus I appear to be generally speaking a normal human being.

However, there is only so much of that to go around. If any group is going to be shorted their ration of happy-go-lucky Last One Home, it is my staff. I have tried to communicate the reasons for this situation to them on numerous ocassions, but still they often wonder aloud about my poor social skills.

So, if only to alleviate a little of my own frustration, here is why the smile dies the minute I step off the floor or turn my back on the tables--an actual litany of my concerns from a recent weekend service:

The valet is one runner short and cars are backing up into the alley, where they will be towed if found. The weather is turning and that means people will camp. Camping means we will back up into the lounge, where one of my cocktail servers, incompetent, is spending what little time she usually devotes to drink service trying instead to convince the bartender [male] to sleep with her. The other cocktail server, sometimes a bartender, is probably a thief--meaning that every time she makes up an excuse to go behind the bar I have to eye her every move. She is also nearly blind and awaiting new contact lenses but has not brought her glasses to work because, "they make her look ugly"--by 7pm she has already dropped two drinks and is taking ten minutes to ring in every order because she can't see the Micros screen. Behind the bar the automatic glass washer is hopelessly broken and the replacement is on back-order--expensive, dirty glassware is stacked up in piles like Jenga.

On the floor guests are crushing me with complaints over the one prime table, in clear view of these waiting masses, that has sat unoccupied for the entire evening. When I query my superstar maitre d' he informs me the the reserved guest that requested the table is here, but hasn't sat yet. Later, I recognize the guest as one who never makes reservations but will bribe handily for the consideration of a seat--sure enough the reservation name in Open Table doesn't match up with the guy--my maitre d', a modern-day Copernicus to be sure didn't even bother to get the fellow's real info to make the lie a little more believable. Two less-than-mediocre servers are bogging down in their three-table stations while I watch my new little coke-head make twelve trips to the bathroom [and those are just the ones I personally witnessed]. At the same time two long-time, rather jaded servers are having a conversation about the best ways to get around properly tipping out on checks transferred from the bar and lounge--all the while not realizing I am in the linen room behind them looking for extra napkins.

Our generally reliable broiler guy has picked this evening to cook with a hammer rather than a set of tongs, and by 7pm we have had four steaks returned overdone. Compounding the problem is the idiot's insistence on dissecting each rejected steak in search of properly cooked morsels, so that he might trumpet his innocence before begrudgingly starting on the replacement. At the third commencement of this ritual I took the rather extreme step of going behind the line myself to explain my dissatisfaction with Beefsteak Charlie face to face. [a manager, any manager going behind a working front-line when in conflict rather than trying to go through the chef is remarkable. It's not like a baseball manager coming onto the field, it's more like a baseball manager going into the opposing dugout].

One air conditioner under-performing, one women's restroom stall out of order, a party of sixteen arriving as twenty-two.

As the evening winds down I talk briefly and earnestly with both cocktail servers, the coke-head, and the broiler cook. I have a longer conversation with the scheming waiters, informing them personally and profanely of that which they already know--I consider transfer fraud to be stealing, I will fire someone on the spot for it, and I will be watching them.

I also have a twenty minute phone conservation with a guy who is positive the valet stole $8 in change out of his car.

Yeah, I should smile more.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

all in a day's work... hang in there!

11:34 AM  

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