This is a long one, but I think it’s something everyone should really know, so bare with me… I tried to make it interesting/funny, which probably didn’t work out too well.
One activity that almost everyone in the world participates in is going out to eat, whether it be every day, nce every six months, a super-high-end-fancy fine dining restaurant, or a local taco shack, almost everyone does it. Similarly to retail, we don’t always think about the people working at these places and what they do to make sure we get what we want.
I work in a casual lunch/dinner restaurant, which also happens to be a big corperation – there are a lot of them all over. There are ups and downs to working for a large corperation, but that’s aside the point. I’m here to explain to all you ignorant restaurant-goers what it’s really like to work with the general public, because ya’ll suck.
My position at this restaurant is hostess and takeout. That means I’m either the one at the front of the restaurant taking names for the waitlist and bringing you to your table, or the one handeling all of the orders that people place to take-out.
Tip #1: If the host tells you there is a wait, but you see some empty tables, do not assume she just doesn’t like you or the way you smell and thus does not want to seat you at those tables. More than likely they are either reserved (for people smart enough to make a reservation) or the host is dealing with all the people at the front first, and then planning to make their way down the list and seat all of those tables with people that are ahead of you.
It is honestly the most annoying thing when people think they know your job better than you. Yes, sir, I see that there are empty tables, I will put your name down and you will be sat after the 50 people ahead of you. No, sir, you are a middle aged father here with your family, a wink and a few nice words will not get your name put at the top of the list.
Tip #2: The host choosees where you sit… you do not. But then again, the customer is always right, so you are allowed to say that you don’t like your table. However, when you first arrive at the restaurant, don’t tell the host you have a party of 2 then proceed to sweet talk your too-young-for-you girlfriend by saying “where do you want to sit, honey? A booth, upstairs, by the window?” That is you taking my job away from me… if you got to choose where you sat, what would be the point of a host?
A host is supposed to rotate between servers. This means that each server is designanted a section of the restaurant (usually an area with 5-10 tables) that they are responsible for. The host’s job is to make sure each server is sat equally by rotating through the sections. Servers often get mad at hosts for not seating them, they also need to understand this rule. Yes, the point of a host is to greet and seat, while rotating servers. But if there is something seriously wrong with your table, you are allowed to speak up.
Side note: My absolute favorite people are the ones who realize they’re being annoying and say “I’m so sorry but if it’s at all possible to sit elsewhere I’d really appreciate it.” I’m an understanding person, if you’re nice about it then you’re golden. It’s the self-riteous people that are the worst.
Tip #3: A wait time is an estimate made by the host by determining which tables will be getting up (usually by seeing who is finishing their meal/paying their check). Sometimes, especially if you work in a place with TV’s and there is a game on, people take longer and like to linger after they finish their meal. This can result in a scewed wait-time, someone might be done eating after an hour but continues to sit and hang out for another hour, messing up the wait time. Please try to be understanding of the wait time and realize that the host, contrary to populat belief, is not God, and they are most likely trying to seat you as soon as possible because they really just don’t want to deal with you anymore.
That’s all I have for you right now, but more might come up as I experience continued ignorancy in the restaurant industry. Everyone should really work in a restaurant at one time in their life, because, like I said, eating out is something we all do, and one should know how to treat the staff.
All in all, use your brains and be understanding when it comes to a complicated restaurant experience. Working with the general public is one of the toughest things to do out there. It takes a whole lotta restraint not to punch the shit out of every other person we deal with.