Even though I absolutely hate waitressing, I have to admit it has been a learning experience. You learn to work hard under stressful situations. You learn how to deal with people who don’t like you or just deal. with people who are impossible. You also have much more respect for other people who serve you. It’s hard at times, and can be highly stressful, but I will still say it has taught me a lot. 10 months ago
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I just got a job being a waitress today and this group of elderly men came in. They gave me a biiiig tip after I was dun serving, they were so sweet 15 months ago
How I did it: I applied for a hosting job and the position was filled, thus I became a waitress. After having an angry British man criticize me relentlessly, and a lot of other inadequacies,I can say I'm mediocre, even decent (maybe). I still stutter and make mistakes, but being around the public has always been a challenge to me. Food service is pretty much the public at its worst, so I feel that the better I get at tolerating people at my work, the better I will get tolerating people everywhere else. Read how I did it… 19 months ago
Tonight was a night that made me really glad I have a job interview on Monday to hopefully get out of being a waitress.
Saturday night is supposed to be your busiest night, I was told to expect to leave “with a bill” every Saturday. A bill = $100. I worked really hard tonight, so did everyone else. I left with $45, I didn’t see ANYONE leave with more than $80 and that includes my shift leads who get five booths.
$45 is way better than the nights I’ve been having this week. ($12, $20, $27.. all for three or four hours of my time) But even if EVERY night was Saturday night, that’s still only $270/week. I’d rather work 40 hours at $9/hr and have a guaranteed $306 coming in after taxes than work as hard as I’ve been working for an uncertain and from what I can see, extremely low salary. I’ve now been working there since September 19. I made minimum wage for the first 12 days I worked because I was in training, and since I’ve made $3.13/hr + less than $175 in tips. So for about three weeks, I’ve made $325. It’s not sustainable.
If my restaurant was wise, they would have 4 or 5 servers on Saturday night, that way those 4 or 5 servers could consistently have full sections and be making $15-20/hr. As it is, my restaurant insists on having 7 servers and then they divide the tables up so no one has a full section and no one is leaving happy. Then they wonder why they’re going through a period of extreme turnover.
Going to re-write my “How I Did This” entry, now.
Maybe include something about not being so damn naive. I was so quick to leave my other job because I was told “what to expect” by the hiring manager. I should have realize that his job is TO HIRE PEOPLE. To get a more accurate picture, talk to a server who actually works there. 19 months ago
I’m providing a good level of customer service. No one waits for their checks, no one runs empty on drinks, and very minor mistakes have been made in getting orders, but I have corrected them ASAP.
That being said: I’m still consistently making less than minimum wage.
I don’t know if this is poor management or just a poor host, but I don’t get tables until everyone else has tables. I get the WORST possible tables. Tonight I was very excited because I finally got some families sitting in my section, and THEN the hostess sat down nine men in my section who were celebrating the prison release of one of these said men. They had clearly been drinking and were not the kind of patrons you want in a respectable establishment. If I had been the hostess, I would have told them they needed to go somewhere else since they were already visibly intoxicated. Our host? Oh, no. She said “lets put them in Dawn’s section”.
At first, they saw fit to hit on me and make lewd comments. I tried my best to brush it off. Then, about half way through their meal, one of the patrons decides that his meal is wrong (despite the fact that it was half eaten?) and starts to YELL at me. He calls me a “BITCH” and asks why I “FUCKED UP HIS ORDER”, tells me I am a horrible server and said that I took too long on everything. This scene is unfolding in front of my other patrons. I went and got a manager. I have never been treated with such disrespect in my life. The manager ended up giving him his meal and telling me to get them out of the restaurant as quickly as possible. Of course THEY don’t tip, and I knew that was going to happen. But then all the tables I had who were upset by the scene also left bad tips.
After I paid tipshare on their $119 table as well as on the other crappy tables I had tonight, I walked out with $12 in my pocket for almost 4 hours worth of work.
It’s not worth it to me.
I’m not making minimum wage when they told me I could make more than my previous employer paid ($12.50/hr) and I’m working in conditions I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy.
I think the biggest problem is our emphasis on alcoholic drinks. Too many people come into our restaurant and treat it like a bar, they come in just to get hammered. Being surrounded by belligerent drunks does not make for a good working atmosphere, and it scares away the customers who actually DO tip. The businessmen, the families, the older people.. they don’t want to be surrounded by drunken idiots.
I’m putting in applications tomorrow for other server jobs, but also for some hourly jobs. I can’t go on like this. I’m hating the work I’m doing and not even getting paid a decent wage to do it. =/ 19 months ago
I SAID things could only get better than yesterday. =/
Every server in my restaurant gets four tables, with the exception of shift leads, who get five booths.
Tonight I had eight older ladies come in so we pushed two of my tables together and I served them. They each ordered like one $3 happy hour drink and they shared two starters. They took up half of my section for over an hour and a half on a $40 ticket. They left me change for a tip.
I know in my how I did this, I said that you have to cultivate an attitude of gratitude and I’m trying so hard to not be discouraged by things like this but I gave up a job making $12.50/hr because I was told “OH, you can make AT LEAST that serving.”
Tonight I worked from 5pm to about 7:30pm and after tipshare, I walked out of the building with $17. I have no shift tomorrow, and no shift Wednesday. If business continues to be slow.. I can see myself becoming financially insolvent. What frustrates me about that is I had an idea on how to start to grow our business, and I pitched it to the managers.
Right now we’re not utilizing our social media to reach out to the community at all. No Facebook page, no Twitter, no FourSqaure. I told them we need to run a contest with our servers, if we can collectively get to 1,000 likes by the end of October, they should do something for us. Let us all have a free dessert or something. Then, every time we post something, we have 1,000 people in the Austin area being reminded that it’s happy hour, or that we have a delicious soup of the day.
We should use the “mayor” system on FourSquare to drive people to our bar. On the 31st of the month, whoever the “mayor” is gets a drink for 50% off.
They’re small incentives, but they encourage people to “Like” us and “check in” and then their friends see that. It’s exposure that is practically free and we’re failing to utilize it at all. I even told them if they wanted me to set it up, I would do it for my normal hourly wage (a whopping $3.13/hr) just to be able to put the title “Director of Social Media” on future resumes. They said they’d “think about it”.
I’m telling you I can MAKE YOU MORE MONEY.. for FREE. And you have to THINK ABOUT IT?
__< 19 months ago
My first day getting my own tables.
I got put in the worst section for lunch and only made $14 in tips after tipshare. For dinner, I got a little better section and I ended up walking out yesterday with a total of $50, working from 11 AM – 10 PM. Yes, it was a little discouraging that we were so slow, but I figure it was my first day and a Sunday night (we’re slow on Sunday because our store is next to a mall and the mall closes early on Sunday) so things can only get better from here.
One of the GOOD things I’m discovering about being a waitress is that whenever you need more money, someone will almost always want to give up their shift. Yesterday I was like “hey, does anyone not want to work tomorrow night?” and they actually argued over whose shift I would take. I guess people don’t like money? That’s okay, because I do. :)
One of the BAD things I’m discovering is that it is physically the hardest work I have ever done. I came home after that 11 hour shift last night, exhausted. My wrists hurt, my knees hurt, my feet hurt, and worst of all my HIPS hurt. I went to bed still in my uniform and without eating dinner, that’s how tired I was. I slept from maybe 10:45 until 8 AM this morning. I woke up still sore and didn’t want to do anything but go back to bed, so I did. From 8:30 until about 3 PM. Sixteen hours of sleep really helped my body recover and heal and now I’m not experiencing the pain that was so horrible last night.
If you’re new to serving, give it time. I’m sure I’ll adjust to this soon but in the meanwhile, I’m going to give my body lots of rest, water, and healthy food to try to help it out.
Wish me luck tonight, guys! :) 19 months ago
I finally get my first sections of tables all to myself tomorrow, and I was really excited. But when you go in, you have to have a swipy magnetic card to sign in and take orders. I remember having mine last night and now I can’t find it! D:
As a manager, I used to get so upset when new employees didn’t have their sh*t together. I always show up in uniform with the things I need, but I have searched my house high and low and I still have yet to find it. I’m going to call it a night and do one more search in the morning, but geez this makes me angry at myself! I have been doing so good staying organized and right now my house is dirty and I have no recollection of where I set this stupid card. I remember having it in my hand.. and being distracted by my cat when I sat it down. Knowing my cat.. it could be anywhere. x___x;
I’ve spent the last hour wasting my time searching, when had I taken five seconds to notice where I was putting it I would have saved myself this grief. 19 months ago
How I did it: I applied at in the beginning of September. They hired me, I put in my two weeks notice at my other job working fast food. Two weeks later I started training. I walked in on my first day with my food handler's certificate and alcohol seller/server license already taken care of because in the state of Texas you cannot be a server until those things are taken care of. It makes you look a lot better if they don't have to hound you for them and you walk in already prepared. It shows that you want to get on the floor as quickly as possible.
I paid attention to the menu training and went one step further by not only knowing what we had and what went with it, but by asking "What vegetarian/vegan options do we have?" and "What do we have that's gluten free?". That way when I get that question at a table, I can look like a well-informed server rather than saying "Well.. let me go ask a manager."
Learning the bar drinks was the hardest part for me. I work at a Mexican food restaurant that has a HUGE selection of drinks, including six different kinds of margaritas. I know that studying them was worth it though, because if I can sell a $7-$8 drink that raises the ticket pretty significantly and therefore my tip.
After I learned the menu training, I observed and assisted servers for a total of four days. *Here is the biggest thing I want you to take from reading this article: Do not feel compelled to behave like you see other waitresses behaving* I took everything they told me with a grain of salt because they've all been doing it so long they're jaded and I watched multiple servers shoot themselves in the foot.
For example: I had a little boy order a cherry coke, and we don't have cherry coke so the server I was observing just told him no. As we were leaving, I was thinking to myself how I would have handled that situation. We have regular coke. We have cherries at the bar. I would have made a big deal about how we DON'T have cherry coke, but I will go the second mile to specially make him a cherry coke. I think the parents would have taken notice and probably felt as though they had been treated special, but this waitress didn't want to take the extra minute to grab some cherries. Just constantly be seeking ways to improve service, especially when it's slow. If you can just get an extra $1.00 out of every table, it can make up for not having very many tables.
Anyways, after four days of observation I served the management team at my restaurant. I smiled a lot and made sure to demonstrate my knowledge of the menu. I also sold them dessert when they weren't even planning on getting desert. :)
They liked me a lot, said I had a great "table presence" and told me I'd do great in this industry if I can just keep up my enthusiasm. My first shift of getting my own tables is Sunday night and I plan to blow the current wait staff out of the water. :)
I'm sure it will be a continual process of constantly becoming a BETTER waitress, but now I am officially a waitress. :) Read how I did it… 20 months ago
I’ve been training all week, and honestly it’s starting to suck. A lot. >__> I did two “follow” shifts where I followed a waitress and observed, and two “reverse follow” shifts where a waitress followed me and made sure I was doing everything right.. NOT. Tonight was my last reverse follow shift (THANK GOD) and the waitress who was in charge of training me.. well, her idea of following me was to stand in the kitchen and chat while I took care of her section. Which wouldn’t have been so bad, if I wasn’t getting $10 tips and having to hand them over, despite the fact I was doing the work. THEN she had the audacity to “train” me on how to close her section by sitting down and watching me take care of all of her closing duties. Uh, hello? I just watched you make $50-$60 off of me, and now I’m doing your shit for $7.25 an hour? =/
Eh. At least training is officially OVER. Tomorrow I have to serve the restaurant owner and the hiring manager dinner and if they like me (which they will) then I’ll be on as a real waitress and I can mark this as completed! :) 20 months ago
Man. I have a whole new admiration for wait staff after tonight. You do NOT realize how heavy those trays of food are until you have to carry one over your head through a crowded restaurant. A tip I will give anyone on 43 Things aspiring to be a waitress is that you THINK you would put your hand under the middle of a round tray to balance it. Don’t do that. Put the heaviest entree on one of the four corners, and put your hand under that corner. Balance the lighter three on your shoulder. Also, if you have a mixture of hot and cold plates, put the cold plate OPPOSITE the heaviest entree, that way if a plate does touch your neck you won’t get burned.
My right arm is pretty sore tonight, but I’m sure after a couple of shifts I’ll get use to it. I guess on the bright side I don’t have to do an upper body workout at the gym for now. ;p I am just glad I didn’t drop any food! :)
I was also told if you’re carrying a tray of pretty full drinks, don’t look at them. I don’t know if it’s purely a psychological thing, but if you look at them, you’ll spill them. If you don’t, you won’t. 20 months ago
Wednesday I took a test on the dinner combinations and house specialties and then Thursday on the alcoholic beverages. I’ll say that if you work somewhere that serves alcohol take that part of the training VERY seriously. We have happy hour every day and I’ve been told to get tips and to make my restaurant happy I have to suggestively sell the hell out of drinks.
They gave me my uniform, it’s all black and the best part after working in fast food—no nametag! :) If you have to wear a black uniform, I highly recommend getting some Cheer laundry detergent so everything stays the same shade of black as when you buy it.
I’m off of work today and tomorrow will be my first shift running food out for other waitresses. I’m working from 5:30 to the end of the dinner rush, which they said can be 8:30 or it can be 10:00 pm depending on the night. I’m pretty excited. :)) 20 months ago
I passed the first test over the starters and lunch menu today! :)
The dinner menu and house specialties are a little bit harder but I have studied quite a bit tonight and I feel pretty confident that I’ll pass the test over them tomorrow. It’s just hard remembering everything when one entree might come with Poblano peppers, olives, spinach, tomatoes, and shrimp and then the next entree might come with Avocado, Spinach, Shrimp, Scallions, and Peppers and the first one is called the “Vera Cruz” and the second one is called the “Santa Cruz”. It’s easy to mix things up.
I’ll say I think working in a “real” restaurant is a lot less “formal” than working for a highly Christian fast food restaurant. It’s nice. Instead of listening to gospel CONSTANTLY, I get to listen to some upbeat salsa/ranchera music with a little bit of “La Vida Loca” thrown in for good measure. My coworkers actually joke with each other and seem like they’re having a good time instead of everyone being overworked, frantic, and miserable.
I’m only making $3.13 an hour and no tips during training, but it’s way worth it for the change of pace. 20 months ago
Mostly, a LOT of paperwork. I had to fill out all my tax information and sign paperwork about sexual harassment, workers compensation, health insurance, drug testing, and a privacy agreement saying I would never sell or duplicate their proprietary recipes. My arm was practically going numb from the amout of times I had to sign and date.
When that was done, their trainer started to go over the starters, soups and salads, and lunch specials with me. I am expected to have those memorized tomorrow when I go in and I have to take a proficiency test. Then, they’re going to teach me the dinner combinations and the house specialties. I’ll take a test on those on Wednesday and have a day of observation at the bar.
Thursday, Friday, and Saturday I will still be observing and I won’t be out on the floor until next Monday. Next week I’ll work two lunch shifts and two dinner shifts so I can see how both function.
Then comes the scary part. Haha. After a week of training and four days of being on the floor, the entire management staff sits down for lunch and I will be their server. They will ask me a lot of questions about what they are ordering and generally give me a hard time. If they like the service they recieve, I get to stay on as a server. If they do not like the service they recieve, I get one more week to shape up and then I get to serve them again. If I fail at that time, “we part ways”.
I’ll let you guys know how it goes. :) 20 months ago
Put in my two weeks notice at my last job and Friday is my last day.
Monday I start to be a server for a living. :)
In the state of Texas, you’re required to have a food handlers certificate as well as a seller/server license from the Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission. I took both tests today on Learn2Serve.com for only $25. It was super boring, but both are good for two years so I won’t have to do it again for a while and hopefully the fact that I’m coming in on my first day with those already taken care of will get me on the floor faster.
I’ve been furiously trying to memorize the menu for the Mexican food restaurant where I’m going to work. It’s hard because it’s not like an “enchilada combo” and a “tamale combo”, it’s the “Suarez”, the “Jiminez”, and the “Grande” so I have to somehow find a way to remember what goes on and with each plate. D:
Wish me luck guys, and I hope you all find server jobs as well. :) I’ll let you know how it goes. 20 months ago