A few days ago I wrote about an article that said being a server is more stressful than being a neurosurgeon. I hope you gave yourself a pat on the back for tolerating such a stressful work environment!
But that got me to thinking about how servers can reduce their stress level while on a shift. I wrote about the first two ways for servers to reduce stress here. Here are three more ways to destress.
Let’s take a look. I think you’ll get my point here. Ultimately I know the following focus areas can be hard to maintain with zero help or involvement from others, but grab a buddy and see how using the following techniques can make you make that money easily, everyone loves makin’ the money easy, right!
Your tables are your real estate, they are your money and your guests that sit around them should be able to see and feel that you take pride in maintaining a clean, clutter-free experience. You should with confidence know that each of your guests will sit around a clean, polished, wobble-free table at the bare minimum.
The first thing I do when I walk in for a shift is real estate management. You should too. Become an absolute perfectionist when it comes to your tables! Remember this, even though it is your real estate for the shift, the tables ultimately always belong to the guests sitting at them at the time.
Details are our schtick. It is all we do. We skip some, forget some, ignore some, pass some off to our teammates and support staff. But ultimately all servers have to work to get them right most of the time. You should never want a guest to be seated and have to wipe crumbs from a seat or to point out that their water glass has lipstick on it. The guest will sense a general lack of pride and integrity.
Another example is table maintenance. At no time do you want anything on the table that your guest does not need. Never walk away from a table with dirty dishes empty handed (unless you are at a formal dining concept).
Always use a crumber to clean crumbs and other messes from the table. If you bring a guest their first iced tea and they do not use the lemon, guess what, an attentive server never brings them another lemon. Same with soda, for example, if they do not use a straw on their first one then do not bring them another and make sure to remove the first straw they did not use from the table.
Details, details, details! It is truly orchestrating a string of details together for several different groups of people at varying spots in their courses to create for a seamless dining experience.
Mise en place (French pronunciation: [mi zɑ̃ ˈplas]) is a French culinary phrase which means “putting in place” or “everything in its place.” (learn it, love it, live it)
This is done before AND during a shift. It means the set ups are polished and ready to go, extra linens stocked, water pitchers filled, fresh coffee made and remade if necessary after emptying it, and all of the minutia of details that make the difference between a smooth service and a shit show.
We’ve all survived a shit show or two in our days and the one thing that all servers can do to prevent it is proactive planning to put literally everything in its place!
Imagine a shift where everything, I mean everything goes smoothly. The water pitcher is never empty, you have great interactions with your guests because everything is where it should be. Yeah, I know, that’ll never be the case in any restaurant. Never say never! Maybe not….but it is possible! Grab a coworker and try! I want to hear your comments!!