I'm well into my 4th (non-consecutive) year of serving tables. I've been a waitress at 3 different restaurants all which were very different. First I need to rant a little about this. People, remember that it is not easy to be nice and sweet to demanding strangers all the time. Most of us take getting the order right very seriously and get upset when we make a mistake. When you ask us stupid questions (which happens a lot) it's so hard not to just say really? you can't figure this out on your own? Yet, we serve you because we need the money that badly.
When I've been putting in long hours at work I feel awful, like my real thoughts are all bottled up. Not to mention my managers are not very good leaders. We are seriously short staffed and no one will do anything about it. My coworkers and I are getting overworked and making lots of mistakes. I know for a fact that they are interviewing people who can help fill in the hours that we need worked, but they aren't hiring them. The entire time I'm working I get told what I'm doing wrong and yelled at. When the shift is over I'm told I did a great job and am a wonderful asset to the team. I'm so confused!
Not to mention my knees hurt, my back hurts and my hips hurt. I asked if I could bartend or answer phones, but instead I got to host. I make so much less money doing this. I do make really good money serving but I'm starting to think it's not worth it and perhaps time to find a different job. I used to serve full time in a diner just fine, but everything is so heavy at the current restaurant I'm at that I'm having a hard time. I'm looking for something else to do right now, but it's so hard to hang on until I find something else!
I'm so sorry you are having such a hard time at your job. I never understood customers who go off on wait staff for a mix up. Like they have never made a mistake in their lives?!? I would definitely look for another job, it sounds like this one is draining you mentally, physically and emotionally! People can be so inconsiderate and it seems like management never really understands what their staff goes through. They never realize how bad it is because they don't have to deal with the crap you do.
I was in the hospitality business for nearly 20 years, and perhaps I have some insight that may be of help. 15 years of that time, I was a manager and a good leader. I lead by example.
There are a lot of demanding customers out there! Questions that you and I see as irrelevant are being asked mostly because the customer doesn't know. In other words, what may be obvious to you and I, sometimes just aren't to our customers. In an undescribed rule, it kind of is our job to educate our customers. Customers want to know exactly what to expect whether they are buying breakfast or a new car. In order to hae complete customer satisfaction, we need to make sure that the customer is getting what they have bargained for. (Yeah, it is an extra step and may seem like a waste of time... but put yourself in the customers shoes. You want to know what you're purchasing, right?)
I would also like to suggest that the reason that your managers might not be hiring people is that they don't seem qualified or otherwise able to perform the job duties. As a manager, I fell upon these times often. I felt horrible that my wait staff had to work harder. I used to pitch in where necessary and keep them focused. (Their hard work and professionalism would earn them better tips. A customer does not care what kind of a day you are having.... what about their day? They've come to escape that, even for just a little while. They want either a good meal and silence, a good meal and a friendly server, or even just and adequate meal and some peace and quiet.)
What I used to suggest to my wait staff is, do not be the reason for a customers discontent. Do everything within your power to make sure they are okay..... yeah, you're not going to make everyone happy all of the time and that isn't a realistic goal. What is realistic is that you can do your best for every table out there, regardless of how busy you are or how stressed you are. You can make a difference in somebody's day, and in return they can make a difference in yours. (Keep in mind too, you never know who you are talking too. This person could be your next big break, right!)
Quick story.... back when I was bartending (I worked in a real busy tourist trap) I had 2 real difficult customers. They had absolutely no bar ettiquette. Every time I'd finsih a trasaction, they'd want me in front of them again and they really had no concern that I had other customers to take care of and waitresses to help. These 2 guys literally thought they were the only 2 people in the bar. My patience was wearing thin with them, but I kept up the professionalism. Perhaps it was a look on my face that gave me away as being a bit off..... Making matters worse, as demanding as these guys were.... they were not tipping! (I'm thinking of how I handle myself as a customer..... but they are not me. Lesson #1 I learned that day.)
After about 2 hours of serving them and about a $100 dollar bar tab, they called me down yet again. First thing in my mind was, "what is it this time"? The first guy said...."Look, it looks as if you are having a bad time. (They didn't know that they were the reason for my bad time.) The guy introduced himself and mentioned that he was an attorney from California and introduced his client as the owner of Hang Ten surf wear, and Ocean Pacific surf wear. (2 real popular name brands back in the day).) I shook their hands and introduced myself. The other guy asked what the problem was, and thank god I was smart enough not to tell them that they were what was bothering me. I just told them that I was super busy and couldn't get everything and everyone lined out and in a rhythym.
Both men stood up, told me to keep my chin up and each guy tipped me $100 bucks! So, $200 dollar tip from the guys that were giving me the hardest time....... I felt like a schmuck, but realized lesson #2.... always remain professional. Lesson # 3 is, never let a customer ruin your day, and you can't take one problem and put it off on another customer. They just don't deserve it, and it will not earn you any tips doing that.... that is for sure!
As for mistakes.... mistakes are mistakes and we all make them. This fits into almost everything mentioned above. Apoligize politely, correct the problem as fast as possible, and make sure you are checking with that customer as much as possible without seeming pushy. There is a happy medium.
You sound like you have great potential.... you really do! Keep those lessons I mentioned above in your mind. I learned them at my expense so the people I hired and educated did not have too. There is a lot of money to be made by professional waiters/waitresses. I know waitresses that have made $40,000 a year by working 3-4 day work weeks. (Of course that depends on he place you work, but I girl I hired who worked at a Dennys of all places told me she made $35000 the last year there on 4 days a week....)
Relax.... we can only control ourselves. Diversity amongst our clients is beneficial. It allows us to use all of our people skills and makes us better at our jobs and more valuable to our employers.... that means better shifts, better sections, better money!!! I loved it when I could turn my back on my waitstaff knowing they were handling business, and that would allow me to pay attention to other departments ans situations.
I appreciate your rant and totally know what you are going through.... it aint easy! If it were, everyone would be doing it. It is demanding and can be rewarding in more ways than you might ever know.... Be good, or be good at it!
The problem is there are several other hosts that are completely disqualified for the job. They have no tact and p*ss everyone else off. We all wonder how they still have jobs. If I did what they did I know I'd be fired or wrote up. Clearly, their standards aren't very high. So, I really don't understand where they are coming from. We are short staffed and overworked; the managers do not help cover the slack.
The entire staff talks about how stupid all the hosts are. I'm not stupid and I hate being lumped into that category. I have to host due to health problems. I'm sorry, but serving at this particular restaurant is very hard. I have health issues that cause a lot of pain and heavy lifting aggravates this. I've tried to work things out with them but they won't listen to me. The other restaurants I worked in were not nearly as difficult to serve at. I need to do something else. I sit on my heating pad the entire time I'm at home because I'm in so much pain.
I'm NOT saying it's all bad. I've had some wonderful experiences with customers too. I just can't keep working in a negative environment. With my experience in customer service I can get almost any job I want serving so I'm not too worried about a job change.
Ugh.... I've been in situations like that too, and it is a buzz kill for sure. Sorry about your health issues, those never seem to make matters worse.... but in a situation like yours in which you feel that it might be time to move on, you may have subconsciously made your decision already.
Diva, your happiness means something. There is nothing worse than going to a job you dread, or going to a job that you may have already moved past in your head. Complicate that with the fact that not everyone is pitching in, and it does feel fruitless....
Take your time and find another position better suited to your needs/wants/expectations. Sometimes we need a job, any job just to get by... but it seems as if here that you've reached the top of the food chain and the view isn't that pretty. (Side note, your health issues? They didn't arise because of the job, did they?) Just wondering.
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