Saturday, February 18, 2012

I Would Be a Waitress

You know that question – if you could have a different job than the one you have, what would you be doing?

Well, for today, I would say I would want to be a waitress. Yeup. A waitress. Not just any ol’ waitress, but a waitress that specialized in families with young kids.

Crazy, I know.

But wait, I can explain.

There is a certain care that needs to be given to families with toddlers… rules if you will.

Rules that trump any restaurant protocol.

For instance:

Restaurant thinking: Greet customer and take them the gazillion menus, a minimum of 4 per guest, regardless of age. Take them the dinner menu, the breakfast menu, the appetizer/dessert menu, and the drink menu.

My specialized waitress thinking: Greet customer and take them a menu or two for adults. Take a kids menu that is not folded up so tight that it rips right off the bat (causing upset screaming child). Keep it simple.

Restaurant thinking: Serve all guests water. All. A glass for every customer, including newborns.

My specialized waitress thinking: ASK them if they want water. Don’t overwhelm them with a gazillion glasses that are seen by a toddler as “things to knock over.”

Restaurant thinking: Ignore the customers that have a water glass spill at their table. Ignore the 7 of the 16 menus that have now been flung to the floor. Ignore. Ignore. Ignore.

My specialized waitress thinking: Within minutes of getting them settled, return to say “Before I take the tables orders, would you like me to start anything now for this cute little boy/girl? I could start an order of chicken or pasta or if you would rather I can bring you some fresh cut fruit?” SOMETHING! The idea is, buy some time for the parents to relax!

Restaurant thinking: Take the orders. Like a robot. Even asking if the parents would like to order something for the 2 day old baby. Then leave and not return for a minimum of 15 minutes.

My specialized waitress thinking: Bring any requested pre-order ASAP and take the orders for the rest of the family. Refill any tea, coffee, water, chocolate milk, etc.

Restaurant thinking: Plating is everything. Make sure to deliver all food on oversized plates. Bring every possible item to the table in additional plates and bowls: including, but not limited to butter, in a bowl; creamer in another bowl, additional napkins delivered on an additional plate; a saucer for every glass; and a saucer under the bowl that holds the lemon for the tea. PLATES, BOWLS, PLATES and MORE PLATES!

My specialized waitress thinking: Plating is everything. CONDENSE ALL PLATING. Families with toddlers can only use one half of the table space. The other half must be cleared of all things hot, sticky, breakable, spillable, or throwable by the adorable, normal, toddler that likes to grab everything. EH-VRE-THING! Therefore, think smart and condense plating. In addition, REMOVE plating no longer used. If there are empty plates, glasses, bowls and saucers no longer being used – GET THEM OFF THE TABLE!

Restaurant thinking: If something should be sizzling or caught on fire as part of presentation – make it BIG! Over the toddlers head.

My specialized waitress training: ARE YOU KIDDING?

Restaurant thinking: Ignore the family for another 15-20 minutes. Walk around, over, or leap across any food that has been flung to the floor around the highchair.

My specialized waitress training: Every now and then discreetly bend down and pick up a few things around the child. Make the parents feel comfortable and welcomed to the establishment. They are paying to eat out and to be treated well – therefore, treat them well.

Restaurant thinking: Give the bill to the youngest person at the table. Go behind drink station and giggle as you watch the parents fight for the bill from the toddler. See how many times the bill gets ripped, or see how many spills ensue do to the flailing arms.

My specialized waitress training: Keep clearing the table of any unused dishes, consistently making more space for the family to relax. Refill their glasses, keeping their tea cold and their coffee hot – but away from toddler. Give the bill directly to a parent.

Restaurant thinking: No eye contact, no smile.

My specialized waitress training: Smile while looking at the customer – all of them, toddler included.

::sigh::

If I ever meet a waitress that did this intuitively, I would come back every other night, give big tips, invite them to my home, and give them Christmas presents. I would marry them!

Maybe I should become a consultant for restaurants? I could travel across the nation to a variety of establishments and conduct workshops for how to wait on families with toddlers. And I would be loved. And I would receive fan mail. And I would be invited on to Oprah or Ellen!


Or maybe I should open my OWN restaurant? I would call it MackenCheeze :)

What would YOU be doing if you weren’t doing what you do?

P.S. – Tomorrow I may want to be something else.