Cafe Time!

November 12, 2009 § Leave a comment

Here’s a little note from the work world.  For those not intimately aware of every detail of my life, I work part-time at a restaurant called The Cafe.  I like it, despite all the sane voices in my head telling me to quit.  (Query:  sane voices in one’s head?  An oxymoron?)  Here is a short list of hostess rules I wrote out at a time when I was training some new girls.

Hostess’s Jobs:

– Upon entering the restaurant, clock in.  (This is simple but often times I am too busy mentally preparing myself for the evening of slavery and drudge work to remember to clock in.)  

– Pull the chip rack into the kitchen.  Do not leave it in the middle of the floor. Slide it back into the little room where the paper towels are kept.  At the end of the night, pull it back out, please.  The chip rack is your job and I don’t need the lunch shift grumbling to me about how they had to waste 5 seconds of their lives pulling the chip rack out and why haven’t I trained the hostesses properly and is it really that hard to do??   (Hi lunch shift, you’re not actually reading this, are you??) 

– Always check the reservations book so you know exactly what’s happening and can set up for it right away. 

– Update the Specials sheet.  Get the prices, starch, and veg of the day.  On Saturdays, there is not usually a new Specials Sheet, but you need to find the one from Friday, make sure it is correct, and give it to the servers again.  (This is because they often lose or misplace theirs and can’t be trusted.  You, however, are a responsible hostess.  You help them.)  Make sure the Specials board is correct.  While you’re out in the foyer, might as well glance at the doors and make sure they’re not smudged.  If they are, Windex them.  While you have the Windex out you might as well do the dessert case too.  Have fun! 

– Always make sure the little globe lights that are above the outside tables are on.  You can turn these on by the little switch that is on the top left side of the door.  Always check the bathrooms.  Make sure there is toilet paper, paper towels, and that the floor is not gross.  Let the dishwasher know if there is more paper needed in the bathrooms.   If there is a party in the nouveau room, make sure the bathrooms back in there are good too.

– Always help the busser and server set up the dining room.  If you arrive first, start without them.  Always wipe down the knives.  Always check the glasses for smudges before you put them out.  Always wipe off the bread plates.  Try to avoid gross color combinations of napkins on tables.  No one wants to sit at a table with hunter green, maroon, sky blue, and purple napkins.  Honestly, no one will sit there except people who are tripping on acid.  And if that happens, tell the kitchen staff to get back to their spots and stay out of the dining room.  HAHA.

– Always look at the dessert case in the beginning of the night and add any desserts if needed.  Especially the Key Lime mousse because the Ice Age could defrost faster than that stuff.

– Never hesitate to help anyone who looks really busy, especially the bartender, since your podium is in his/her area.  It is not your job to stand around at the podium except when customers are approaching.  (In that case, greet them cheerfully and watch as they approach you at, typically, a slow to medium-slow speed and generally ignore your friendly greeting; or in the case of old men, respond to it a little creepily and over-enthusiastically, and usually with some sort of terrible pun about A. The Weather, B. How Hungry They Are, or C. Your Outfit.  C is the worst kind of old man.  AVOID HIM.).   

Anyway, it’s not your job to stand around at the podium.  It is your job to feature tables, refill water glasses, bus plates, clean off and re-set tables, help the bartender put glasses away, get desserts and generally do whatever needs to be done to make the service run smoothly.  Seriously.  Don’t stand around.  Unless Mike is.  Then it’s ok.

– Make sure all the candles are lit and stay lit throughout the evening.  Make sure there is always music on.  Even if it is that terrible song about “going to the mountains”.  Make sure the countertop by the register is clean and uncluttered, it just looks better.  Answer the phones.  If someone comes up to the counter and the bartender is busy, see how you can help them.  If its something you’re not sure on, ask a server or someone.  Just make sure that people are acknowledged.  Make them feel wanted.  Make them feel loved. 



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