Dear Wait Staff
Please take careful note of the simple truths about to be dropped upon you.
They are basic.
And I know you know them all.
But you do tend to forget...
...brought to you by someone who knows the kitchen...
#1 - Communication
This seems so simple. And yet, you would be amazed at how often this goes out the window in times of nearly anything happening. Take a moment to remember that, in the event of anything, and I mean anything, that could be out of the ordinary: let the kitchen know. And, no, I don't mean have a friend tell a friend. We all know the joys of playing 'telephone' as a kid...and as fun as that was, it seems to lose something when you become an adult and this is someone's meal we're talking about.
"Oh...'Gluten Free'...we thought you said 'Make three'! (and guess who's buying them now!)
Making sure you're always on a good level of communication with a kitchen can be the biggest difference between a good shift and a bad one. After all, these guys are in charge of the stuff you're selling! Which brings me to point two.
#2 - Remember Who They Are
These guys and gals are the ones who make the food. And, if you haven't seen the movie 'Waiting'...watch it. No, the people in the kitchen aren't really going to do horrible things to your food (hopefully - yeesh!). But! They are the people who can take their dear sweet time to do so if they wish.
"Looks like this order is going to run into some unfortunate hold-ups...bitch."
These people are probably the hardest working individuals you'll ever meet. They're in a cramped kitchen, sweating like crazy (but not on the food!), and they aren't just dealing with your table...they have every table. ...So when table 37 is flipping out because they 'specified, very emphatically, there was to be NO ground coriander on this loin, but [they] can taste it, by golly' ...just remember that letting the kitchen know needs to be something said lightly, but to the point, as they have 40-something other things to simultaneously pay attention to.
#3 - It's Not What You Say - It's How You Say It
You've heard your grandmother say it before. "It's not what you say, but it's all about how you say it, that's what counts!" And it's totally true! In all aspects of life. But when it comes to restaurants, crazy evening rushes, and that one order that somehow got screwed up...you bet all your tips it sure matters! Take the example from point 2: you've got a table that's freaking out because they swear up and down it's got some crazy mix-up going on. You know it's not true, and the kitchen is sure as hell going to know it's not true. (at least, that's what everyone will claim.) But your job is to make sure that customer is sold on the entire evening being amazing so you can walk out with a fat and happy wallet. Which leaves you with one dilemma...telling the kitchen.
Let's just stop to think of how this could go:
"Hey you guys f*cked up this dude's plate, and I need another one ASAP."
I'm not even going to attempt to comment on the levels of how awful this kind of comment goes over - and I've personally gotten these kinds of comments when I was running the kitchen and making sure things went out the way they were ordered.
Communication. Remember who they are. Then all it comes down to is being a polite human. Just kindly let the kitchen know the customer, right or wrong, has a problem, and you need another item, making incredibly sure it comes out to the customer's liking.
"Hey guys, the man at 37 says he tastes something wrong in the seasonings. Any way you can speed one of those out for me?"
That's all you really need. And on top of it, you're asking, not telling. This leaves room for the kitchen to actually communicate back. Remember who they are. (people too!)
#4 - Consistency
Kitchen workers have one easily pushed button for switching from friendly to fuming: that server who keeps and keeps and keeps screwing up. It will get to the point, like it or not, to where the kitchen staff will be taking note of when you work and dreading the whole shift because they know you're going to ring orders back and they will immediately need you to come talk with them about what to make of the mumbo-jumbo you just sent them.
"I can make a hat, or a brooch, or a pterodactyl!"
See that? You're making the lives of the kitchen workers worse. That bodes well for, hmmm, well, nobody.
However, this is also true of the opposite. Servers who have their orders under control, communicate, and effectively, politely talk to the kitchen are golden. I've personally worked shifts in kitchens where I didn't have a care in the world when it came to the servers needing, well, anything! This is solely because I knew I could depend on them to do their job just as amazingly as I tried to do mine.
And that's really what working anywhere is about.
Just some food for thought on recipes for success...
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