Thursday, December 30, 2010

20% in 2011

I'm on a mission... to educate diners about proper tip etiquette.

One of my New Year's Resolutions is to not assume the worst of people, mainly my guests at Bloggiano's.
I WANT to believe the verbal tippers and people I've served well WANT to leave me a good tip. Maybe they really just don't know how...

So here we go, kiddies! Today's math lesson is inspired by a little song and dance I did for my friend, Alex and his family, when they came in to eat the other night. (As I told you before, Alex, if you don't request me next time...we will no longer be friends. And you're welcome, for mentioning you in the blog!) 





Tip your server 20%, which I strongly believe you should do unless something THEY did made the experience bad. I'm not talking about you not liking your food, or the kitchen being super busy, or the wait being long....I'm saying the server ignores your requests or is just a jackass.

Here's the easiest way to figure it out:

1) Look at the total
2) Move the decimal point over ONCE to the left
3) Multiply times 2

Ta-da!! 20%!!! You did it!!!

Example: Bill total is $43.95. Now we move the decimal over and it's $4.39. Multiply times two and you get about $8.78. TWENTY PERCENT!! :)

Another basic idea: For every $5 your meal costs, tip $1. So if you meal is $35, your tip should be $7. If your meal is $70, your tip should be $14. Learn your times table for the number FIVE, and you're golden!


...to all of my loyal readers! Be safe tonight! And don't worry, I'm serving it up at Bloggiano's NYE and New Year's Day! I'll be back in the new year with some great stories and rants for you!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I broke a chair.


Guess I shouldn't have eaten so much during the holidays.

I went to fold my napkins at the beginning of a shift, pulled out my chair and went to sit....BOOM.
It broke.

Everyone laughed. My manager joked about my weight. I had flashbacks of breaking my dorm bed in college freshman year. Not the fun way. 

At least it wasn't a guest.

At Bloggiano's: Quality comes first.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Is it January yet??

Oh.My.God.

I am exhausted.

I've been working five shifts a week for the month of December, and I'm about to lose it. Yes, I know full-time people work five days a week, but I'm pretty sure you get to sit down and stare at Facebook (or hopefully this blog) all day for at least a little bit of your day. And you probably don't end up with marinara sauce all over your clothes...unless you're a really messy eater.

Being a server during the holidays is TOUGH. Guests are on edge being with their families, and stressing over money they have to spend on gifts. And the restaurant staff? We're all just barely hanging on... there was even a big argument at my server meeting tonight, which never happens.

Oh, and have I mentioned my schedule for New Year's? Don't worry, I'm working the dinner shift on NYE starting at 3:30pm and definitely not getting out before midnight...and that's fine. But wait. I'm right back in to work the lunch shift on New Year's Day...at 9:30am! Kill me now.


P.S. I know I'm going to be wishing it was December again when it's January and I'm only making $200 a week. 


I need a drink.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Well, this little Jew just got home from working the dinner shift on xmas eve. Isn't it awesome to be a server? Honestly, I don't mind working because:

a) I'm Jewish
b) I made bank

....maybe now I could go buy some xmas presents for myself! Ok, ok, and maybe some for my family and friends ;)

While I'd love to say people were exceedingly nice and generous with tips on this holiday, it is not so. I think people are just annoyed about having to be with their family two nights in a row, so they're a little on edge. So thank you to my two Asian tables for tipping $10 on $75. Hope Santa remembers your generosity! Oh, and nothing beats the girl with tourette's who let out an ear piercing scream while walking by me. Ouch.

I still made more money in one night than I've ever made there, so no complaints here!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all my wonderful readers! I'm thankful for you :)
Love, 
Lindsay
(Your server who made the holiday REALLY "special")

Monday, December 20, 2010

That's just creepy.

I heard a rumor (Oh, how I LOVE work rumors) that one of the girls from my training class had a crush on one of the dinner servers. Apparently he told her she looks like Lucy Liu, and now she's smitten. I ALSO heard he'd flirt with a cardboard box.

I had a weird encounter with him during my dinner training. He came up to me to introduce himself and said, "You're the girl who sent a message out about Hanukkah."

Oh, yeah. I needed the day off to celebrate with my family.

End of conversation. 

I brushed it off until my most recent interaction with him on another dinner shift. I was eating on my break and after 10 minutes of not speaking to me (but sitting next to me) he asked,
"So do you speak Hebrew?"

Shortly after, he told me he loved me...in Hebrew.

Next awkward moment happened while sitting across the table from him on a different shift break. After another 10 minutes of not speaking he asked,
"Do you want to have kids?"

That's just creepy. This guy needs to learn to lead into his conversations. But now I definitely get what everyone was talking about. He must like to have a LOT of  "Work Flirts."

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Rose has a new jacket...and is pretty racist.

Everyone's favorite Bloggiano's guest is at it again...

Apparently she did well at Hanukkah because her children bought her the jean jacket she was wearing, which she claimed makes her look, "young" and "hip."

It goes great with your cane, Rose.

Our conversation took a turn for the worse when she told me she'd been speaking to the new girl in front selling Bloggiano's Gift Cards.
"You know the girl in the front? The blonde one?"

Yes, Rose.

"You know she's from Germany?"

Uh-oh...

"She looks like a typical Nazi. Blonde. Blue eyes. Her Grandfather was probably a sergeant."

Wow, Rose. Wow..

Monday, December 13, 2010

I laughed, I cried...

...and Homer split his shirt open.

Kinda.

I don't know why, but Mondays are just goofy days. Maybe all the servers are delirious from the combo of working all weekend, while also partying all weekend. Or, maybe it's leftover fumes from Sunday bug nights. Anyway, today's shift meeting resulted in our manager calling Homer out for his chest showing through his shirt. 

The man canNOT seem to fit his big neck into his oxford shirt, so you can always see some skin peeking from underneath his tie.

Homer's response: "Well the shirt usually fits just fine, but I've been pumping a lot lately so maybe that's why."

...You guys remember he's like a 60-something year old black man, right??

I spent the following 10 minutes in tears from laughing too hard. I love people.

Happy Birthday to ME!

Last Friday, December 10th was my 26th birthday. And I worked. Lunch.

Actually I wasn't all that upset about it. I love my birthday (and getting special attention) so I was happy to share the wonderful news with EVERY ONE of my tables in hopes of bigger tips! :)

I had a party of 15 come in, and when I went over to see what they were celebrating I asked,
"Are you guys here to celebrate my birthday???"
They were a really fun group, and totally went with me on it. In between courses, a couple of the men told me they were taking a poll on how old I was... The group average was 21 or 22. Thank you, genetics for my youthful face!

As if I hadn't milked it enough, when they asked me to take a group picture, I shouted with the camera, 
"Ok now everyone say 'Happy Birthday, Lindsay on three!'"  

They loved it. 

What really made my day was when I came to drop the check and they actually sang Happy Birthday to ME...their server! It was really sweet....even though I didn't get any cake or free cookies. 

Well, I'm another day closer to 30. At least I don't look it.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Easy Estrogen

You know when you go to a restaurant and ask for special requests ie dressing on the side, extra avocado, no onions? Well, we have buttons for that on our amazingly advanced POS system. It stands for piece of shit point of service.

Inspired by our lovely technology, I'd like to modify this entry, or entrée if you will (Ok, ok that was a bad joke) with the special request of EASY on the ESTROGEN.

My most recent shift was filled with female servers. We had to come in extra early at 9am to set up the restaurant after they sprayed for buggies; it's preventative. Seven tired girls walking around the restaurant with the biggest attitudes. I swear it was like that saying that girls who live together cycle together.... the whole staff acted like PMS was their purpose in life.

I was definitely exhausted when I came in, but somehow their moods affected my normally chipper personality. I started wanting to kill people just as much as the rest of the girls. As soon as I got my first table, I knew I wouldn't be making ANY money on the shift, and just gave up.

I was in a bad mood. And after I got three tables in a row of, "Just water" and "We'll split the classic pasta for $12," I didn't give a crap about any of my other tables. I felt especially bad for my section partner, who got effed on her party of 8 that split the check and subsequently did not tip. Every time I ran into someone while boxing food or getting drinks, they were muttering something under their breath about kicking butt or hopefully getting cut soon.

Moral of the story: We could've really used some male servers to make the restaurant less like a sorority house after a night going to a frat party.

Monday, December 6, 2010

I don't care if you're Italian.

I've always worked for Italian restaurants. And I'm always baffled by the "real" Italians who come in to eat.


You know you're at a chain restaurant where Mexicans are cooking your Italian food, right???

This time it was Franco and his family. He insisted on saying "gratzi" to everything I supplied him with, and therefore insisted I respond with "prego."

"You know, Prego, like the Paul Newman sauce...it means you're welcome in Italian."

Oh. Cool. I don't care.

He also inspected his wine glass with the most detail I've ever witnessed. Thankfully, I'd made sure it was spotless before bringing it to the table. Throughout the meal, Franco remarked at my wonderful service. When the manager came by to see how everything was, they raved about me. Thanks Franco!

I guess he was still feeling European when he tipped me $10 on $78. 

Bloggianos is definitely authentic Italian food. Nope.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Laila loves Subway

We have 5 managers at Bloggiano's. Excluding our GM, only one is female. During training, we didn't have much interaction with the managers beyond asking them questions on the floor. My initial impression of Laila was that I wasn't sure I'd like her. She seemed to talk a lot, and almost seemed to question our skills to serve at all.

Boy, was I wrong.

Laila (pronounced LIE-la, or she'll be pissed) is from Spain, I think, so she has this awesome accent that makes everything she says sound funny. I love when she holds shift meetings, because usually she just wants to drink wine and taste the food. I find that I relate to her management style (remember I was a manager at Mama D's) because generally the servers go to her when they don't want to be lectured and need a simple solution. It's not to say she doesn't follow the rules. She just gets things done without making you feel like a child for having to ask permission to do something. 

Anyway, recently she's been cracking me up at break-time. I've mentioned our family meal for Sunday morning, but the other week they forgot to make it for us. Laila, just as upset as we were, sent a couple of the servers on a mission to get her food. Originally she wanted McDonald's breakfast, but then the bartender told her about Subway's breakfast sandwiches. We all laughed as she gathered her money for the bartender, and ended up giving him $7.89 exactly. What??? Now that she's tried Subway breakfast, it's all she can talk about....

Imagine this in a Spanish accent:
"Leeeeensay, have you had dis Subway breakfast-time?? You should really do it like O'Ryan does...you have to get di egg, an' di cheese, an' di spiiiinach, and tomayyytoes! It is really very tasty, ok?" 

....I hope you rolled your "r's" when you read that. 



Laila loves Subway. And I love Laila.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Oh Jesus...

This happens sometimes.

"The Pamphlet People"

Maybe they think because I work in a restaurant, I need to find 'The Lord' so I can be saved...

If you're gonna ask me to "Be Thankful" and abandon my Judaism, you could at least leave me more than a $3 tip. That might make the Bible more appealing.

...I'm just sayin ;)


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Benefit of the Doubt

Saturday was soooooooooo slow.

I guess everyone spent all their money shopping on Black Friday, and couldn't afford to eat the rest of the weekend. Ya, that's probably what happened.

My first table was a really nice party of 4. Since they were my only table, I had the chance to really spoil them. I put on the charm, mostly because I was bored out of my mind from spending the previous 90 minutes folding napkins.

As I brought their to-go packages over and showed them how I'd labeled and dated everything for them, one of the guests at the table exclaimed how wonderful my service was. Duh.
Her husband and their adult daughter sorted money and placed it into the check presenter. I asked if they needed change. Nope.

"Ok, well thank you so much for coming in to Bloggiano's! Have a happy holiday season!"

I went back and counted the cash. A $50 bill and two $5 bills. Their bill was $59.95. I bolted back to the table to check for cash left behind. Nothing.

Hmmm... I'm gonna go ahead and give them the benefit of the doubt and hope they accidentally forgot my tip. Ya, that's probably what happened.


Thank you Black Friday and Table 43 
for being 'probably' responsible for the $30 I walked with on Saturday. 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Digits

After another shift of banter, Work Flirt asked me for my phone number.

Noooo....

I just want to flirt...

...at work.

Kid, you poke me one more time...


Don't get me wrong. I love kids.
And actually, I think I'm part of a small percentage of servers who enjoy a cute little child sitting at one of my tables.
Emphasis on the ONE table.

Today it seemed like every direction I looked in my section, there was a set of parents and their two small kids.
What does this mean for me??

Double the amount of work: When there are kids at the table, I always make sure the kids' food comes out first. Hungry kids mean grumpy parents. This is extra work because I have to go back later and add the parents' food separately. Also, I despise the kids cups. I guess they're not so bad, but we keep them on the top shelf, which isn't exactly easy reaching for those of us who are height-challenged.


Annoying Parents: Honestly, it's sometimes hard to decide who's more high maintenance....the kids, or their parents who want you to basically babysit their children for them while they tune out their screaming and down a martini.

Low Per Person Average: Kids meals at Bloggiano's are about $5 and include a free drink and dessert. Awesome.

Super Speed: If you're a parent, you know you have a limited time frame before your kid starts acting out. So I have to be speedy quick and drop the check before the meal is even over.

Specifically today, I had Sophia's 5th birthday, which included 5 of her cousins around the same age and two sets of parents. These kids were crazyyyy! They were under the table, laying across the aisles, throwing food, making a huge mess, and distracting nearby tables. The parents couldn't have cared less. A number of managers came to me asking for better table maintenance. I TRIED to clear things, but it just never got better!  I almost lost it when I was trying to take a neighboring table's order while feeling a sharp poke in the back every two seconds from Sophia.

Little Girl I don't care if it's your birthday, sit down in your chair, eat your pasta and STOP poking me!!!

Ahhh....I feel better now.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Damn Yams

While most of America spent Thanksgiving in a tryptophan coma with family and friends, the employees at Bloggiano's were working. Every year, they provide a special Thanksgiving Family Style Menu for a whopping $35 per person for the people who don't want to cook.

I was scheduled to work the AM shift, and to be honest, I was okay with working because I need the money. On Wednesday morning, my general manager called to ask if I'd be able to work the PM shift instead. Ummmm yes please! As I've mentioned before, the new servers are only working lunch shifts right now, so it meant a lot that she trusted me to work the dinner shift (even though it was the same menu all day). It also meant potentially a lot more money, so I said sorry to the fam and accepted.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous on Thursday before I walked into my 2:30 call time. I knew how I did on this day could mean impressing the managers enough to move up to dinners, but I was also nervous that I wouldn't know any of the PM servers. Right when I walked into the room where we meet, everyone asked, "Are you Lindsay???" But I felt comfortable and was ready to kick some butt....that is, AFTER we ate our own mini turkey day dinner in the middle of the empty mall. At least I got to work off those calories after I ate!
Thanks Bloggiano's for at least providing your employees with some yummy food! 


My "section buddy" and I decided it would be best to pool our tips today in order to provide great service to everyone at our tables. It worked out pretty well, and in general, I had great guests who were happy to celebrate the holiday.

I don't know why it's always the last table that gives the most trouble, but I nearly lost it this time. A party of 6, they were totally indecisive about EVERYTHING. People, it's not that hard. It's basically a multiple choice test...but with food. You can't fail. After an hour of delaying their entrees, the turkey and sides all come out and look great. I go to do my check-back, and they complain about the sweet potatoes. Oh boy. You see, this year Bloggiano's decided to use pale yellow sweet potatoes to make their side, so the color was different than the typical orange sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top. Mind you, they still taste sweet...but THIS table started going nuts over the color. They kept asking me for regular sweet potatoes, not understanding we didn't have those....


"These aren't sweet potatoes. We wanted sweet potatoes."

Well Ma'am, these are yellow sweet potatoes but I assure you they are still 'sweet potatoes.'

"Yes, but we want the sweet potatoes. These aren't sweet potatoes."

Ok, well this is our only option for sweet potatoes. Would you prefer our garlic mashed potatoes instead?

"No we want sweet potatoes."

Yes, and I would love to mash them right in your face!!
Let me see what the chef can do for you...

UGH. Then, I snapped a little bit when it came to the cranberry sauce. Every time I went out there, they asked for more cranberry. And there was always some on the table. Food runners laughed as I'd come in for yet another container. The last time I brought out a bigger bowl, and as soon as I set it down, I was asked for more. I just had to say it....
"Welllllll....HERE is a brand new bowl. And if you need more after that, just let me know." 


I have tons to be thankful for. Aside from my wonderful family and friends, I am extremely thankful for my job in these hard times....even when I want to "accidentally" drop a bowl of cranberry sauce on a guest's lap. :)

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!! 

Oh, and here's some info on sweet potatoes and the color varieties...Educate yourself! 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Rose has big news....and candy.

Let me start out by saying that I have yet to actually "serve" Rose's table, as I'm never in the section where "her table" is. But on this day, her server begged me to go over and talk to her while I tried to also get her to actually make a decision and order food.

As soon as I walked up:

"So did you hear the big news?"
No, Rose...what is it?
"I'm going to be a great grandmother."
Wow, Rose that's very exciting! Congratulations!
"So, I figured...I gotta go to Bloggiano's, even though I was here yesterday."


I mean, it's kinda sad that this is only place she can go to share her news, but at least she has a group she considers "family and friends" here. Although, my family and friends don't tip me in all coins!


Once I finally got her to try something new (mushroom ravioli in alfredo sauce) she decided to go to the candy store upstairs and buy us some candy.

What a strange little old lady.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Homer Phones Home

Remember Homer from my training days?

I've since figured out that he
Never
Stops
Talking.

All of the servers have pretty much resorted to ignoring him when he speaks (most of the time he's talking to himself anyway) and everyone knows you never ask him a question....unless you want to spend the next 10 minutes listening to him talk about it. This time, it was a lecture about extra-terrestrials and how the world would be better without humans. And, I swear the other day I caught him talking to our computers, telling them the order he'd like to put in. It's not voice-activated, Homer!




While folding napkins before my break, he got to talking about being holistic for the last 25 years. The man carries around a huge container or Purell and apparently never takes medicine. He told me he never gets sick because he mentally accepts the illness, and then sends it out to the world.

Please don't send your crazy my way! Thanks!


OH! I almost forgot that when another girl made a joke he liked, he commented, "Girl, I'm gonna have to put you on my 'to do' list." Ewwwwwwww

Monday, November 22, 2010

Happy Effing Birthday

Dear Husband on Table 52,

Did you know, the fact that you had a $50 gift card and only paid $30 out of pocket does NOT mean you tip off the $30? Guess what. I did $80 worth of service, including surprising your wife with a piece of chocolate cake with "Happy Birthday" written in chocolate which will probably get you laid tonight.

I hope your wife didn't see you leave $7 when I brought you back $9 in change.

Dick.

V.I.P Family Style for FREE!

I decided to cash in my free Family Style for 4 last week. As mentioned before, I'd already promised two seats to my friends Ryan and Kyle, and rounded out the group with my friend Jenny who's also been a slave to the restaurant world for years.

We met at the restaurant at 8, thinking it would be late enough on a weeknight to not interrupt their dinner rush. I got a little nervous to bring my friends... At my previous serving job, if I walked in my guests and I were treated like kings and queens, but I'm still a newbie at Bloggiano's. No one on the night shifts know me. One of our assistant managers walked by as I stood by the host stand. He saw me smiling, but had no idea who I was. See! I told you that stupid uniform hides that I can look attractive! Anyway, we were seated to one of the booths and I was excited to see a familiar face come up to serve us, one of the guys who closes with me on most lunch shifts. We got our order in and got ready for the feast with a bottle of Pinot Noir...

Our Family Style Dinner Menu Choices

Two Appetizers: Zucchini Fritte and Stuffed Mushrooms
Two Salads: Chopped Salad and Spinach Salad
Four Entrées: Rigatoni D, Mom's Favorite Lasagna, Chicken Parmesan, and Chicken Saltimbocca
Two Desserts: Apple Crostada and Pumpkin Cheesecake

If you remember correctly, Family Style is normally a flat rate per person, and you make choices from the categories I listed above and it comes out in three courses, with portions made for the amount in your party. It's a LOT of food!

After the first course came out (the apps and salads), I warned my friends not to eat too much too soon....there's a ton of food coming! Normally, Family Style is replenish-able by course, but you have to ask for more of what you want, and you have to eat some of it! You can't just order it, simply to have it boxed up for later. (People always try to cheat the system.) My jaw dropped when Danny, our server, came out with the mushrooms and shrugged, "I figured...why not?" 


When the second course came out, I HAD to get a pic for the blog. It's just too good.


Oh yeah. At 6 o'clock, you'll see the Famous Rigatoni D....the dish that made Ryan and Kyle want to drive over the hill to the Valley.

Thank goodness my friends are good eaters, because we powered through the second course until we felt completely stuffed. (I'm glad I purposely wore my stretchy pants and a top that hid my food baby!) Just when I was ordering the boys to eat more..."I worked hard for this dinner, dammit!!"... Danny walked up with refires of the Rigatoni D and Chicken Parm.

"I figured....hey, why not?!?"


A second bottle of Pinot later, and we were packing up 10 to-go boxes of food to take home and praying we'd be able to eat the dessert. What an intense amount of food...I swear I started to get the food sweats, Jersey Shore-style. But I held strong for my favorite: Apple Crostada! For a party of four, we SHOULD have gotten one of each dessert, but Danny (who I am now realizing wants me to be a fatty) brought us TWO of each! The crostada was just as amazing as I hoped, but I felt like I'd never eat again afterward.

A bill that should have been $206 without tip turned out to be $85 with the free Family Style! Even though it wasn't a totally "free" dinner, it was an amazing experience and I'm so glad I could share it with my friends! Thanks so much you guys!!! Of course, we left Danny a huge tip for hooking us up and making it fun!

I didn't eat for a whole day after. And I'm pretty sure my friends ate Bloggiano's leftovers the rest of the week!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Modern Family

Hey, look! They filmed last week's episode of Modern Family at Bloggiano's! Too bad they shot it at the location at the Grove and not in the Valley...



Love that show!!!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Noooo I left my cake behind!

My first table was a six-top. It's Lisa's birthday. Her mom is clearly in charge of the celebration.

Right away I knew they were big spenders, since Lisa's mom took it upon herself to tell the whole table about the Today & Tomorrow pasta deal: Buy one of our classic pastas today, and you get to take home another of your choice for free. Did I mention the deal is only $12.95? Argh. 

Six Today & Tomorrow's later with a lot of patience and smiling on my part, Lisa's mom and her guests were LOVING me. I even took special care to separate everyone's boxes by couple without them asking and took extra care of her elderly parents. At the end I was told they had a cake in the back. Oh, what? You mean the big spenders aren't going to BUY dessert?? What a surprise. 

Anyway, I brought it out, and they were thrilled. Lisa's mom even told me she'd save a slice of the chocolate cake for me if I wanted it! Finally someone gets it, @FuckMyTable! (You guys should really check out her blog. It's hilarious.)

As Lisa's mom left, I accidentally walked past as she told the hostess to tell the manager that "Lindsay is a wonderful server and we loved her." Score. I even saw the hostess go over to tell the manager later...

Only two problems with this story:

1) I just realized I left my cake in the mini fridge in the server alley. No way will it still be there tomorrow. Servers are like vultures when it comes to unattended cake.
2) The manager never came to tell me they said that about me. Way to support your staff's awesomeness, Bloggiano's.

Diet Coke

Weird question from my table today:

"I'll have a diet coke."

Great!


"But is it carbonated?"

Um. Yes.

Hmm.



Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Rose thinks I'm funny.

You remember Rose, right?

I chatted with her for awhile about wanting to open a restaurant one day. Ideally it would be an all-day breakfast spot serving the kinds of glorious foods I ate in Israel. The Israeli breakfast is far supreme to the Rooty Tooty Fresh and Fruity, lemme tell ya!

(Photo by Leetal Elmaleh)

I'm not sure what exactly I was saying, but apparently she found me entertaining:

"You're really funny. And you're Jewish. You know what you should do?"

What, Rose?

"Marry a rich man, and use his money to open your restaurant."

I'll work on that. Thanks.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Anything else I can bring you? No, SERIOUSLY. Tell me now.

It was my partner's turn in the rotation to take tables, but when he offered me an extra out of turn, I gladly accepted. I need the money.

He must have known. They were one of THOSE tables.

Right as I walked up, they bombarded me with a million questions before I could even ask if they'd like some bread. Miss Bossy (clearly in charge of the group's plans) asks me about the specials and then says she hates everything I just said. Ok. She also doesn't like any breaded chicken dishes and doesn't understand that scallopine is just a pounded chicken breast. We go with the chicken marsala for her, with the marsala sauce on the side (EW) and VERY light sauce on her angel hair with aglio olio. She also orders a chopped salad for the table, insists on easy dressing (but extra dressing on the side) and nix's the proscuitto without asking anyone if they'd want it on the side. I put some on the side, anyway. She also doesn't understand why you can't substitute chicken for the proscuitto without an extra charge. Ten minutes later, I leave to get their drinks. Thankfully, my partner has maintained my other tables who've practically gotten through their whole meal in the time I've been gone.

With all the little "on the sides" and the extra minced garlic, butter, red chili flakes, and a whole bottle of olive oil, the table was almost too packed for the actual food. 

Look, I know there are annoying bitches picky people out there, but this got ridiculous. Every time I went back to the table I asked if there was anything else I could bring them. One person wants a coffee. I come back. One person wants a tea. Anyone ELSE need something??? Can I switch my coffee to iced coffee? I come back. Can I get whole milk instead of half & half? Seriously! Tell me everything you want....all in one go! I swear it will be much faster. UGH. Now I hate my partner for giving me this table.

I've officially decided I could never be friends with someone who asks for the caramel sauce on the side for our apple crostada. It's a deal-breaker.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday Brunch

No, this isn't an entry about Bloggiano's starting a brunch menu. In fact, I already feel grossed out by the people coming in at 11 on the dot to eat fettuccine alfredo. You know, just a light lunch at 11am. Barf.

It's about the only good part about picking up a Sunday lunch shift: Sunday Brunch!

On Sundays, our chefs make a family meal for everyone in the kitchen and serving staff. Instead of having to pay $5 for a bagel at Corner Bakery next door, today we had chocolate chip pancakes, eggs, and the most amazing homefries I've ever eaten! (I'm pretty sure they were fried in bacon grease.) I especially like being the 9:30am shift because we have to take a break from 10:30-11 and it times perfectly with when the food is ready! ;)

Today I was laughing so hard I cried because, as per usual, my busser Mario "my hero" took an obscene amount of food. We're talking 3 pancakes, a full plate of eggs and potatoes, and if that wasn't enough....a full loaf of our sourdough bread. I'm not exaggerating. 
One of the guys on my shift and I started imagining where all that food could possibly go, since Mario is a tiny little Mexican man....We envisioned him stocking up on the meal so later he could feed his 8 children, mama bird to baby bird-style. Even Mario was cracking up and translating the story to the other kitchen staff members.

I think Mario really only has 4 kids.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

"Work Flirt"

So I've been inspired by the FX show, "The League" to get a new term going: The Work Flirt.
On an episode I was watching, one of the characters (who is a lawyer) tells his friends he uses his "work flirt" to get ahead in the courtroom (she's a judge) while also keeping his ability to flirt in tact, as he is married. Here's a little video clip:
The League's "Work Flirt"

I think it's common knowledge that co-workers in the restaurant world hook up. One of my managers just had his baby shower AT Bloggiano's....Thing is, he's having a baby with a girl who previously worked at the restaurant. Surprise! It's a Girl!!!

I, myself, have learned the hard way that you should NEVER sh*t where you eat....or um...serve. I "dated" a guy I worked with at Mama D's which resulted in us yelling at each other or ignoring each other for entire shifts. And as soon as I left, he started dating another girl who worked with us. They got engaged last weekend. Awkward.

But naturally in a social setting like a restaurant, where personalities are how we make our cash, flirtation happens. Today I shared a section with a guy we will simply name, "Work Flirt," from now on. It starts exactly the way any schoolyard romance flourishes....with name calling. I call him disgusting and lazy. He says he'd have to drink in order to even look at my face. By the end of the day, we're planning trips to Disneyland and Vegas. I guess I'll be keeping my flirt muscles strong at Bloggiano's, but there will be NO dating this time.
No way.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Table 8

They hate each other.

From the moment I saw the couple sitting at my booth, as far apart as possible, I knew it wasn't the table to joke around with. When I walked up to give my schpeal, she gave me the quiet, "We haven't even looked yet." Sorry.

After they sat for a few minutes without speaking, I asked her if she'd decided on a beverage since she'd been checking out the wine/alcohol (at 12:30pm on a Monday, Yikes). She ordered a peach bellini, and when he ordered an iced tea, she said...

"You know what, screw it, do you have Belvedere?"
Why yes, we do.
"I'll have it dirty."

BAHAHA.....awkward.



Awkward couples who hate each other are my faves. Especially when one of them has to get blacked out just to sit at the table with the other person. 

Isn't love grand? 
Happy Monday!

Tempted to Title this Entry: Motherf*&%ing A$$holes

Woops.


Yesterday was crazy busy at work. I finally felt like I was handling a full section on my own, without any problems. All of my tables raved over my service and I got awesome tips, so even though it felt as though I'd been working all damn day (9:30-5), I was ok with that if I made some good money.

But then it all went to hell.

My last table was a party of 4. A younger couple, and an older couple (his parents). Before I even got to the table, the host handed me a note that they'd like a piece of our chocolate cake for dessert with "Happy Anniversary" written on it. The younger man, dressed in a nice suit like they just went to Sunday church immediately ordered appetizers for the table and his father ordered the salads and entrées for them to share. Seemed pretty normal to me.

Everything went smoothly, even though the Mom complained our coffee was "too strong," and as soon as the food came, the younger man prompted me to get the cake. Even though I was a little caught off guard, I scrambled to get it and put some candles in for a nice touch. Of course then I realize my lighter is with another server who borrowed it earlier and now I'm running around trying to find anyone else who has one....

OMG. I am just realizing I let someone else borrow my lighter during my shift today, and never got it back. UGHHH I hate people who don't return what they borrow. Bring your own freaking lighter!!!  Sorry, I'm a little on edge today.
Anyway, I finally light the candles and everything looks perfect. I bring it over to the parents and the kids are laughing because they have NO idea what's going on. Hmm. I ask if it's their anniversary, and they just all laugh and say it's whoever's. Um, ok.
I leave to print out their check, and as I'm returning the parents are already gone and the younger couple is standing and putting on their coats. I ask who will be handling the bill, and he says, "We're waiting for the manager. There's a hair in our cake, and it's f*cking disgusting." 
WHAT?!?


Not only am I POSITIVE that it was not my hair (mine was completely pulled back), I'm sure it wasn't there when I put in the candles. Motherf*&%ing LIARS! So, of course they make a huge fuss, and the manager comps their entire bill as they walk out of the restaurant.
(I'm freaking out.)
The manager calls me over to the back of the restaurant and I profusely apologize and say I didn't see any hairs. He stops me and says, "What you just witnessed is a classic scam. I looked at the cake in the light of the kitchen, and they put a clump of hairs in the chocolate sauce. It was hers, not yours. Just remember their faces so it doesn't happen again."
FML.
What a great way to end my shift....

Oh, and to top it off...the young guy apparently handed the other manager a tip for me. It was $5. Their bill would have been $100. Thanks, Asshole.

I'm sure this will all be really funny in a couple weeks, but right now I could punch unicorns. But I won't. :)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Friends in High Places

What's my #1 priority when starting at a new restaurant?

It's not making friends. It's not impressing the managers.

I introduce myself to everyone in the kitchen, and to the food runners and bussers. 

Look, I'm a girl. I see absolutely nothing wrong with flirting with being extra nice to the people who make my food, run my food, and clear my tables. They are a huge part of how I make my money. I depend on them, and they depend on me to tip them out for their help.

The first of the many bussers to fall for me was Sylvester. From the first shift, he gave me extra help, and he's also the one who refused my tip out when I made $5 that day. 

Mario quickly followed. Known by most of the staff as "64" (video games, anyone?) he's my guy when I need to make a latte or cappuccino. Sure, I've been trained to make them, but he loves when I come to him and say, "Mario you'd be my HERO if you helped me make a latte!" ::subtly bats eyelashes::
Now whenever he sees me it's, "I'm your hero today, ok?" 

And now there's my food runners. Sometimes it's Adrien, who fist-bumps me whenever he sees me because I told him he'd have to tip ME out for helping him run everyone's food the whole shift. But the star is really Juan, who's known as "Oso." (Spanish for bear) He's exactly what you're imagining: a giant Mexican man who can carry 10 plates on each arm, but is as sweet as a teddy bear. 

Oso and Sylvester have both become my buddies, and after talking to me for a little bit the inevitable question arose: "Why don't you have a boyfriend?"
UGH. I know it's their way of flirting, but boy do I hate that question. Bitter, party of 1.
For the record, this is all harmless and not sexual harassment. They're both happily married. 

***To my old co-workers from Mama D's: (Best Italian restaurant in Orange County, BTW. You should go.)
Tell Roberto I'm DEFINITELY not cheating on him. My heart still belongs to the head chef, and if he ever decides to leave his wife and kids, we're getting married. ;)

Moral of the story: I love being racially ambiguous. 
The guests think I'm Italian. The kitchen staff thinks I'm a Senorita. 
Win, win.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Verbal Tip.

After a long shift on the patio not making much money, I was happy that the bartender offered me one more table before I left.

The couple was great. My service was spot on: I got her two different tastes of wine to try. I modified her dish EXACTLY the way she wanted it. I refilled his lemonade before he asked. I made a personal connection and told them about my life aspirations.

As I dropped the check, the couple thanked me for MAKING their experience there. They said they felt like we'd all dined together, and they've never had a better time at Bloggiano's. Naturally, I got even more excited the bartender had given me the table. And the $26 PPA (per person average) didn't hurt either.

I'M GOING TO GET A HUGE TIP. 25%? 30%???

$10 on $54.

Toto, I don't think we're in Newport Beach anymore.


I know, I know, that's a good tip. But, the Verbal Tip is NOT money in my pocket. I'm glad you like me. I feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I'd rather have an extra $5. Sorry.

People: If you're going to tell your server you love them and had the best experience ever, maybe you should give them a little bit extra.

Thanks,
Your Server (that makes minimum wage plus tips)

Pat-i-oooooooo!

I hope you got that Hook reference.

So I know I've been M.I.A. Sadly, it's because I hadn't really worked. Since Bloggiano's hired a million servers in anticipation of the busy holiday season, right now there's just too many of us for the amount of business we're getting. That means I had two shifts last week. And I was scheduled three this week (thank goodness I picked up a fourth). 


Today I got to work the patio at lunch. Gotta love November weather in California. I heard from one of the veteran servers that working the patio is a sign of being one of the better newbies. Even more exciting is that I got to share it with another newbie, instead of an oldie who'd probably take more tables than me.
For the first time, I felt like a server again. There's nothing like the rush of having 5 tables at once. Let's see, I need drinks on table 401, table 403's kids want ice cream to go, and 402, 404, and 503 are all leaving at the same time!! Where the heck is my busser?? Ahh! 


I also really enjoyed the patio because everyone on staff leaves you alone. I pretty much never saw another server unless I went to the kitchen, and I didn't need to clean everyone else's tables (and not benefit from it). I was back in the zone, and loving it. I even figured out that most people get confused walking into the restaurant and seeing the patio station before the host stand...which means I enticed a number of tables to the patio before they even had a shot with another server. Muahahaha! (That's my evil laugh. It sounds cooler in person, I swear.)

Sadly, the tips still kinda blow....I can't believe people can rationalize a $5 tip on $40, when they claim everything was perfect and amazing. I know it's not just me because everyone I've talked to says the same thing.

Happy Weekend to all my restaurant folk out there! 
Make that weekend cash! 

Friday, October 29, 2010

OMG I made tips!

Are you ready for how much I walked with on my first day making my own tips?

$5.

Oh wait...it was actually $6 because my busser felt sorry for me and wouldn't let me tip him out.

At least my PPA (per person average) was $23, and ya know what, I treated all THREE of my guests like kings and queens.

I rule.
(cue sarcasm)


Oh crap, I just spent my tips and then some on a halloween costume. Ugh. Tomorrow's a new day.


What's up, Abe? 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Rigatoni D, here we come!

As mentioned in a previous post, getting 100% on all of my training tests meant a free Family Style Dinner for me and three friends. Felt pretty easy the whole way through, until it came to the wine and alcohol test. Last time I worked for Bloggiano's, this was the test I had to retake. It's easy to memorize the food ingredients, because you have the visual of the dish. But trying to memorize 31 wines by the glass and every kind of alcohol we carry is simply that: Memorizing.


On Sunday night before Monday's test, I texted one of my friends excited for his free dinner that I wasn't sure it was going to happen. I partied all weekend instead of resting (typical) and my brain still felt full of pasta, incapable of retaining any more information.

I resorted to mnemonics and little stories to remember everything...

Pinot Grigio: PECS
Placido
Ecco Domani
Coppola
Santa Margarita

Cabernet:
Woodbridge, Cellar #8, is where Louis Martini, J.Lohr and Coppola live

Don't ask me how these things worked, but I sped through those tests so fast it felt as though I'd blacked out.

The final certification for training meant a 'mock serving' of the managers. I was pretty nervous about this as well, because a table of managers is WAY more intimidating than a real table of guests. Thank goodness it ended up being just our training manager and his assistant, who are both pretty laid back and nice. When it was my turn to serve them, they realized they were starving so instead of using the training mode and pretending to bring items, I actually served them lunch.

My "Controlled Chaos" theory worked, and I didn't miss a single step of service. I refilled drinks when I saw glasses half-full, and my entrées came out the moment they finished their soups/salads. I felt really confident about how it went, and am happy to report the managers were extremely impressed. In fact, he told me I scored the highest out of the 12 servers in training. Oh, AND I got 100% on my wine and alcohol test!

Ok, so I'm a perfectionist. Could be worse. Rigatoni D, here we come!!!

And if you've never enjoyed Rigatoni D, here it is! Rigatoni pasta, tossed in a creamy marsala wine sauce with button mushrooms, caramelized onions, and fresh basil/parsley...by far, the most popular dish at Bloggiano's. (Thanks Yelp for the pic!)

Controlled Chaos

I think my brain turned to pasta last Friday....

I had the WORST day of training. They stuck me with this guy, Homer (I didn't even have to change that name) who I was originally excited about following. I had heard he's the guy who makes everyone laugh and is great with guests, often singing 'Happy Birthday' in a James Brown style. However, once I started following him, I felt my brain hurt.

I'm sure as a server, he has a rhythm that works for him. But, with three trainees, he's a mess! There were a number of times we had to correct him on proper steps of service, and I really feel like he does things the hard and inefficient way. For example, I needed to put in an order for a two-top (a table for two, for all the restaurant newbs) but he made me stand there and wait while another trainee put her order for 5 in, which took FOREVER because they had fancy drinks and appetizers as well as entrees. After she was done, he criticized me for waiting so long to put in the order that had no apps or salads. What?!?


I was already feeling more stressed than ever when someone handed me the pitcher of decaf coffee to refill my table's cup. See, I like to think of the best servers as having "Controlled Chaos." We're thinking of a million different tasks on the inside... table 2 needs a coffee refill, pay out table 5, table 10 wants more butter, when will this shift be over?? .... but on the outside, we're all smiles, floating around the restaurant like everything's a piece of cake. Homer functions by running around like a chicken with its head caught off, and it totally messed with my chi. I started messing stupid things up, just like him!

So anyway, someone hands me the coffee pitcher, I bring the cup to me in effort not to chance spilling on a guest, and as I pour....coffee starts coming from nowhere! I must have had a look of horror! In slow motion, I saw the white tablecloths become soaked with coffee and I kept pouring because I couldn't even figure out where it was coming from! The damn thing was broken on the bottom!

Thankfully I saved myself by joking with the two old men at my table about the staff trying to sabotage me on my first week of training and they laughed.....but I was serious!


I hate those coffee pitchers now.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Rose

Regulars.

Every restaurant has them.

Rose is an 81 year old Jewish woman who comes in to eat minestrone soup at Bloggiano's about three times a week. I know she's 81 because she pulled me over on my first day of training to say, "You're new" on my first day of training and told me her life story.

I've been informed by some of the other employees on how to deal with Rose.

1) Never joke with her when she doesn't know your name, no matter how many times she's met you. Her response: "I'm 81. I'm not supposed to remember. You're supposed to remember." (I hope you're doing a Jewish New Yorker voice in your head, because that's how she sounds.)

2) Never respond with, "We don't serve minestrone soup anymore" when she orders it. We keep some frozen for the people like her who still come in to get it after it was removed from the menu.

3) Never walk by her table without smiling, or stand around doing nothing where she can see you. She'll claim she's the boss and send you home.

4) If she asks you to sit with her, DO IT. But if you get stuck there, just pull another server into the conversation and sneak away.

In my first experience with Rose, she told me how old her children were and then said she has a granddaughter who has, "a better job than any of you!" Thanks Lady.
While some servers try to avoid her all together, I took another route. I told her I am Jewish and that I lived in Israel last year. Now she loves me.

I choose to be on her good side, just in case.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

It's in the packet!

I've been a Bloggiano's slave trained for 38 hours this week. Naturally, the combination of early hours and amount of time spent trapped in a room with the same 12 people is starting to get me....well, everyone.

The Old Lady of our group is driving me (and quite a few others) totally crazy. She NEVER stops talking. She calls out answers before the question is even finished, and is hardly ever correct. Carryout Guy tried to list off the ingredients of an antipasti salad and she insisted there were no tomatoes in it. Guess what. There are. And as stereotypical as it may be, she can't use a computer to save her life. I also caught her using the "IN" door to the kitchen as an "OUT," which is not only lazy but also very dangerous. Way to start the first week with bad habits, Old Lady.

I'd like to think the Manager training us likes everyone, but today I discovered even HE finds Old Lady annoying.

At the end of every day, we go through the Food Test for the next day. And every day, Old Lady slows us down because when the Manager announces a question that will be on the test like, "Describe the Chicken Piccata to a guest," and reads the answer, she makes him slow down and repeat it so she can write down every ingredient. This would be normal except that we have a huge packet with ALLLLL of the descriptions/ingredients written out for us to study.

Wow, look at that! A packet with all the ingredients and descriptions written out! Amazing!

At the end of the day, everyone just wants to get out of there and when she's unnecessarily slowing us down, each person has said, "It's in the packet," at some point or another while rolling their eyes and screaming in their heads. Our Manager, who is also exhausted, had enough today and when she did it again he hinted to the group, "Just so you know, this is ALL in the packet!" He pointed to Old Lady and then threw his hands in the air. Just the fact that he brought it up, sent me into uncontrollable laughter. Maybe it was the sugar high from the Pumpkin Cheesecake, Creme Brulee, and NY Cheesecake I ate prior, but I laughed so hard I cried.  The best worst part is Old Lady was still oblivious.
The best part of the story is that the Manager followed in my laughter and joked with me saying, "It's not funny, Lindsay."


Made my day.

I can tie a tie.

I never understand why server uniforms have to be so unflattering.

Seriously. I've never had a uniform I looked good in. How is a girl supposed to use her femininity to get bigger tips (Ya, we do that. And yes, it's completely fair.) if I have to wear a men's oxford white button down shirt that is way too big on me?? And don't get me started on the fashionable shoe designs created by "Shoes for Crews."

Every time I leave a restaurant job, I promise myself I will NEVER have to be a server again. I'm going to get a real job, with weekends and holidays off, benefits, and a desk with post-its in every color and shape. The best way to declare this step... is by throwing my ugly server clothes in the dumpster! It's the most gratifying experience, Office Space style. I can breathe easier once those marinara and olive oil-stained white shirts are out of my sight.

But then, after about a year goes by (or in this case, a year and a half) I find myself needing those Dickie's and non-slip shoes AGAIN and I'm thinking why, why, WHY didn't I keep that stuff??

At least I know how to tie a tie, unlike a lot of guys I know.... (Hi Ryan)



Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Peace Out, Idiot Guy!

....Sorry about your Grandma??

Well, it's sad either way. Either Idiot Guy's Grandma actually passed away and he headed to Arizona for awhile...

OR

He realized he was the Idiot Guy and didn't want to wake up at 6am anymore, thus lying about his Grandma's health.

My Guess: He's sitting at home playing online poker as I type this entry. But who will make awkward jokes towards our Vice President of Human Resources now?!?

What's the worst lie you ever told to quit or call out from work?
Show me yours and I'll show you mine!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Servers should never be awake at 6 in the A.M.

My eyes are getting heavy and it's only 6:30 pm. This is ridiculous.

So you guessed it. I'm in training. Woo hoo? Now that the gods of Bloggiano's have decided I'm one of the "Best People" (Damn, their verbiage is already brainwashed into me) I am one of 13 new trainees. Seems like a ton, but it's actually in their best interest: they hire a big group every 3-4 months, train them all at once in a classroom setting (to save money), and then send us into the jungle of the upcoming holiday season as fresh meat.

The newbies consist of the usual suspects on any restaurant staff. We have the Old Lady, the Idiot Guy who will always be the fuck up, the Jailbait Girl, two girls repping the Ethnic Diversity, the Fat Flirty Girl, the Cool Guy, the Small Town Actress, the Nerdy Sweet Guy, the Small Town Guy, the guy moving up from Busser, and the girl who's worked in Carryout for the past six years that FINALLY gets to move up.

The Good News about training is definitely all the free food! At the end of the day, we have a feast trying the items on the menu in order to sell them well. I've learned that pretty much every item on the menu is over 1,000 calories! I might as well go up to the table and say,

"Hi! Welcome to Bloggiano's! My name is Lindsay, 
and I'll be making your ass fatter today!"

The Bad News is our class starts at 7:30am every day this week. Don't they know servers aren't pleasant to be around until 11?!? To top it off, first thing we do is take an enormous test every morning on the food we ate the day before. There are 7 tests we have to pass with a 90% or better in order to get certified to serve on our own.

**Bonus** If we get 100% on all of our tests, we get a free dinner for us and 3 friends...so you KNOW after being unemployed for awhile, I'm ALL about the free dinner. A couple of my friends already called "Dibs" on being my +3, so I better make it happen! (Hi Kyle)


So far I've gotten 100% on the first 3 tests, and I'm pretty sure Idiot Guy is the only one who needs to do a re-take so far...Shocker.

Ugh. Time to make flashcards. I thought I was done with school!

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Interview: Third (and last) Course

While waiting for my 11am interview on Thursday, I caught a glimpse of the life I'm walking back into...

A mother comes out of the bathroom, wheeling her stroller with 2 year old son in tow. She makes a beeline to the host stand. She paces and asks the Maitre D how long it will take to make an order of pasta for her son. The Maitre D looks at the clock, and kindly tells the mother that the kitchen will open in 5 minutes (it was 5 to 11am) and then the carry out staff will be able to place her order. The woman insists, "But it's for my son! Can't you order it now?" 
Lady, the kitchen isn't open....which means the staff can't log into the computer....which means you need to wait a few minutes and THEN you can get your pasta. Oh what's that? You need gluten-free pasta? Well then it's going to take 15 minutes longer because they have to make the special pastas to order. 
No, that's not the kind of treatment she received, but I'm positive it's what went through the Maitre D's head. After 5 minutes of discussion (the kitchen is now open), the mother decided she could get home in the same amount of time to make the pasta and cancelled her order. Go figure.

The General Manager greets me at the host stand and escorts me into the bar area. We talk about the Orange County Bloggiano's I worked at (in 2005-2006) because she worked there in 2008. I try to remember the names of managers and staff that she might know in hopes of impressing her, but luckily there's a lot of turnover in management. Rule #4 of the interview: Take an interest in your interviewer. I remembered that at our group interview, she'd mentioned heading to Las Vegas for the weekend, so I made sure to ask how her trip went. Everything went well, and I am sure I sold myself as the friendly, family-oriented server who LOVES Italian food and making big sales. She told me she was sure it would all work out, as long as she received a positive report from OC Bloggiano's. Gulp.

Ok so maybe I wasn't completely honest about how I left OC Bloggiano's. Yes, I did leave because of scheduling conflicts while I was in school. However, I may have quit without giving two weeks notice... I think it was more like 5 days... Ok, it was 1 day! Whatever, I was young and careless! If you're going to judge me for the things I did when I was 21, I have much bigger things to worry about. 

Anyway, the GM told me I would definitely hear back either way by Friday night. Saturday morning, I began to worry. Not being able to even get a serving position at a chain I have previous experience with = Low Point. Luckily, I received the call that I was hired on Saturday afternoon! I am officially a server....again. 

The Interview: Part Deux

A week had already passed since I re-applied at Bloggiano's. My interview with one of the managers is called a "pattern interview." Um, I have no idea what that means. No, I did not prep for it.

Well, it turns out the "pattern" is a series of open ended questions about yourself that the manager reads off one by one. Rule #3 for the intervew: MORE is better. When they ask you for a few ways you'd like your co-workers to describe you, just rattle off adjectives until he/she cuts you off.
Hard-working
          Dependable
                       Friendly
                                   HOT
                       ...Wait, no. Don't use that one. The managers are well aware of the co-mingling.

Fifteen minutes of tooting my own horn while also patting Bloggiano's on the back for being such a pleasant work experience, and I was out. When I "passed" that interview, I was scheduled for a final meeting with the General Manager two days later. Thank GOD it's almost done!

The Interview

I've been interviewing for full time "Big Kid" jobs for a while now, but who would've thought the Bloggiano's interview process could rival a desk job?? Oh ya, that's right. I decided to apply for work at the birthplace of my restaurant career, only this time at a location in Los Angeles. I worked there before, so piece of cake, right?? NOPE.

I went in to apply for the job on a Monday. Little tip for the newbies to the restaurant world: Even though it's a serving job, you should still dress up in business attire. Trust me.

On Thursday night, I received the call to come in for a group interview on Friday morning.

Ohhh the group interview. Amongst the 12 potential employees, I knew I had it in the bag.
Rule #1 for the group interview with the General Manager: NEVER speak ill of your current/past restaurant job! Even more importantly, do not blame the management for your discontentment. Hellooooo, you're speaking to the General Manager, and unless you've ever had to manage a bunch of restaurant staff personalities, you have no idea what they are going through.
Rule #2: Be over the top, but in a likable way. For example, in this interview we were asked to show our abilities as salespeople by selling a random object to the group. My random object? A jar of crushed red pepper flakes. My pitch? "So you could easily go the whole meal without crushed red pepper flakes, but this could change your world! Add a pinch for a little kick, or be like me and dump it on in fistfuls which may result in drinking at least 4 glasses of water! At least you'll be hydrated??"  Yeah, that went over much better than the girl who banged the glass candle holder onto the table to show it as indestructible... The candle holder broke.

After our group therapy session, we were asked to complete a 200 question standardized test. SAT's for servers!! What does that entail, you may wonder... Well it's basic math skills even though you'll be using a computer and calculator to do all your work, language questions, and then a personality test. You know, to make sure they aren't hiring a psycho who feels happy NONE of the time, and ALMOST ALWAYS disagrees with management decisions.

I'm pleased to report that I was the first to finish the test even with the 40 year old lady next to me using her cell phone calculator to save time... Not that I'm competitive or anything!  ;)

Oh, and I passed! ...which meant a 2nd interview one-on-one with a manager.

Your table is ready

Welcome to "Gratutity Not Included!" My name is Lindsay, and I'll be your server for this blog. Would you like to hear about today's specials?

I hate to admit it but, I love the restaurant life! I'm not a morning person, so a shift starting no earlier than 11am suits me. I have quite a bit of experience first working at a well known family style Italian restaurant whose name rhymes with... Bloggiano's. Hired as a hostess simply for having a personality boobs that appealed to my manager, I quickly became the girl who was always getting yelled at by every guest. No no...I was a GREAT hostess, but Bloggiano's likes to overbook their reservations, and no one likes to be told they'll be sat at around 7:45pm for their 7:00pm reservation.

After fleeing the corporate restaurant world, I joined the "Crazy Ones," as the owner called us, at a small family-owned Italian Kitchen in Orange County known for its over-the-top friendliness, making every guest feel right at home. Sounds cheesy, right? Like extra mozzarella on my baked ziti cheesy...but it's remarkably comforting. With around 15 employees, it is truly a family...though a dysfunctional one, and I will always remember my time there.

So what's up with this blog? Well, I am officially putting my non-slip shoes back on to re-enter the world of a server. It's not exactly where I thought I'd be at nearly 26 years old, but hey... I get to blame the economy, right?

While restaurant folks tend to bitch and complain about bad tips, bad schedules, and permanently smelling like garlic (maybe that's just me), I prefer to see the pure comedy in all of it. The restaurant life is crazy, but at least it's full of good stories!

Bon Apetit!
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