Training for a new restaurant job sucks ass. It just does. Especially when you have been a hash-slinging waitress for as long as I have. I feel like I have been waiting tables since the dark ages. I distinctly remember working at a restaurant where we had to milk the cows and then churn the butter for our opening sidework. Closing sidework involved filling the ketchup bottles, sweeping the bathroom and then clearing the restaurant of all the people who had died that day of the Black Plague. You ain’t waited tables until you have done it during the Black Plague. Not easy. I remember training for Bennigan’s and how intense it was. The manager told me that the Bennigan’s training program was known throughout the country and once I had it on my resume, I would be able to get a waiting job anywhere. And what’s really funny is that I was actually impressed by that hot air statement and had it on my resume for a while under special skills: Bennigan’s training program. Pathetic. Back in those days, I was so eager to please that I actually memorized every single ingredient on the menu. At the time, I was living with my Grandma (not this one) and she would quiz me every night. My Grandma knew that damn Bennigan’s menu better than I did. She could have been one fine waitress up there, but she was all busy being my Grandma and making me pies.
A few years ago, I was being trained at a restaurant here in the city. My trainer was a fetus. I know I had aprons older than he was, but I still had to follow him for three days to “learn the ropes.” He gave me such useful tips as:
- When a customer orders coffee, you should ask them if they want milk or cream with it so you don’t have to make two trips.
- If someone orders a hamburger, ask them how they like it cooked.
- Always say thank you.
What gems those are. I patted the fetus waiter on the head, asked for a floor plan with the table numbers and pushed his toddler ass out of my way. At my new job, my trainer thankfully quickly realized that I knew what I was doing. After about ten minutes when he saw that I had already made coffee and knew the fancy Aloha computer system, he let me on my own. By the end of the first night, he had let me take his station, take orders, run food, close the checks and bus the tables. He had a sweet easy night because I did it all and he got all the tips. But whatever. The manager saw that only one day of “trailing” was needed and I was already on the schedule.
I guess there are pluses to having eons of experience, one being I can get through training quicker and start putting tips in my pocket sooner. The downside of all that experience is the sore knees, the closet full of food-stained dark shirts and the fact that when I sweat I smell like a goddamn fajita even though I haven’t served fucking fajitas since the mid-90’s. Ah, well. The good with the bad I suppose.