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Customer Service - Being a waitress during the holidays

Updated on November 28, 2010

 Working in customer service during the holidays is a stressful time. I work for a restaurant that NEVER closes. We are open 24/7, 365! I'm a waitress. And most of the time it's an easy enough job. Never to over crowded, the customers are usually very friendly, and the people I work with are great. We've been working together for a while now so we have a system down. But I just finished a week of work that was straight out of the "nightmare" category.

On Wednesday's and Thursday's I'm usually the only waitress on the floor. And we have one cook. No big deal. We usually don't get so much business on those nights. Friday's and Saturday's we have two waitress and two cooks because we get somewhat busy due to the bar crowds. And the fact that we only have 3 bars and they are right across the street from us. But like I stated Wednesday's and Thursday's aren't that bad. I'll get a few here and there from the bars and usually always get the WalMart employees. These are people I know and have a good rapport with.

But this week was a holiday. Thanksgiving to be exact. And from Wednesday through Saturday we got our butts kicked. I live in a small mountain town in North Georgia. I swear to you I didn't know this town had that many people in it until this week.

So Wednesday (the day before Thanksgiving) I take the floor like any normal night. Not expecting there to be to much in the way of business due to the fact that is was indeed the night before Thanksgiving. But oh boy was I wrong! I got my butt handed to me on a silver platter! Talk about busy. It was definitely way to busy for just one waitress and one cook! But we prevailed and took care of business!

Now I knew Thursday (Thanksgiving Day) was going to be hectic on 3rd shift due to the fact that it was also the beginning of the dreaded "Black Friday". So I was semi-prepared. I worked Black Friday last year and really didn't get hit to hard until about 2:30am. So I was expecting the same this year. So I had reinforcements coming in at 2am to be there to help and back me up. Boy was I wrong. Since our WalMart did their Black Friday sale differently this year I got hit early, and I got hit HARD!

It's not the fact that I got hit so hard and was the only one on the floor that really got to me, it was the customers. Rude and demanding and they had no sympathy for me at all!

First off, when you walk into an establishment like where I work you have to understand a few simple things :

1) If you see me and only me and one cook then that is all that is there. And I'm sorry if you are in a rush, but I'm only one person and I only have two arms. I don't move at the speed of light and I'm not taking your order before the first 20 people that walked in. It just doesn't work that way.

2) I don't have a bus-boy, nor do I have a dishwasher like other places. I'm it! I'm your hostess, your waitress, your refill getter, your food deliverer, your plate washer, your table wiper and everything else. I don't get the luxury of having other people there to help like that. What you see is what you get. And if I run out of silverware and cups and plates then I have to take 10 to 15 minutes to catch some of that up before I can wait on you, because there isn't a point in me waiting on you if I have nothing to serve your food on, cups for you to drink out of or silverware for you to eat with. So please don't get an attitude. Be patient!

3) If you happen to call in an order over the phone and I tell you that "we are currently not taking orders over the phone due to the fact that we are at full house, but if you would like to come into the restaurant and place your order that would be great" DON'T try to tell me what it is that you want, or convince me that I really need to take your order. I just explained to you why I can't take your order. Not to mention the 50 or so people waiting and staring at me while I'm on the phone. If you already planned on coming into the restaurant to pick it up, then come in and place the order. It's not rocket science. I'm busy and I just told you that.

4) Be patient. Like I've stated, I'm only one person with two arms and I have only one cook with limited amounts of grill space. You have no problem waiting anywhere else you go, so why should it be any different at my restaurant?

5) Learn how to tip. I only make 2.28/hr. That's it. I'm a waitress, so unless you are from some other planet, you know that waitresses rely on tips to live. If you don't tip I don't make any money. I try to ensure that I give you all the attention that I can. But if I'm at full house and I'm the only one on the floor, learn to slow down on your drinks because there is no way I'm going to get back to you right away to refill them. I'm sorry to say it, but it's the truth. I can't give you the 100% you deserve as a customer and I'm sorry for that. I wish I did have a million arms growing out of my body, but I don't.

6) Don't be rude. It's just down right tacky. Like I've stated, I'm only ONE PERSON with TWO ARMS. I can't be everywhere at once. And just about everyone else in the restaurant has been waiting just as long as you have. Try to be a little understanding. It makes my night go by much smoother and your service that much more enjoyable.

So do me a favor and think about these tips when you are dining out on the holidays. Don't be rude or demanding. Just know that we waitresses really do want you to enjoy your dining experience, but again I state "I'm only one person with two arms and there is only so much I can do at once."

Happy Holidays all!


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    • vietnamvet68 profile image

      vietnamvet68 7 years ago from New York State

      thats the trouble with restaurants they are too cheap to hire more help and expect you to do it all and take the flack from everyone. Over worked and under paid you ladies deserve the tips you get thats for sure. God Bless and have a great holiday season.