I’m not going to go out on a crazy limb and say serving has changed my life, but I have experienced some people and incidents, who have made my life a whole lot easier and more interesting.
I began working at the Cheesecake Factory around two years ago. I spent my first year working at the front desk, but by year two, I was able to convince my managers to put me in the next serving class.
For me, it wasn’t about making more money, it was about making the same amount and working fewer hours so I could spend more time on school. Well, wish granted, I work a max of 20 hours a week and make more than enough to get by.
Throughout my two years, I have observed many occurrences which I otherwise would have never experienced. Here is a look into the life of a server.
Nearly everyone knows, or everyone should know, that servers get paid very little by the restaurant itself. We don’t make even half the minimum wage, but what they don’t pay us, we compensate for with tips.
After serving long enough, it’s common to get into the habit of sizing up a table based on a predicted tip.
Stereotypes are off the charts in restaurants. A server might take one look at a table and think they’re not going to tip much, maybe not even at all. Serving can severely slant one’s perspective, but if a server treats everyone with a great attitude and good service, he or she will often be surprised.
Saturday night, for example, I was out working on the patio and 9 p.m. rolls around. I’m tired, my feet hurt and I’ve just gotten my butt kicked with keeping up the pace through our evening rush. I’m ready to wind down. One of the hosts comes out and pushes together all of my tables and tells me I’m getting an 11 top, which is restaurant lingo for a party of 11.
This rambunctious group of college guys comes out, and most servers would have taken one look at that group and had nothing but doubts. But, I went in with a friendly attitude and came out with the best tip I’ve ever received on a party. We automatically put an 18 percent gratuity on parties of a certain size, and every one of them tipped extra, as well.
I’ve never had so much fun with one table. There were more laughs had through that one meal than I have in a typical night.
And when they were done, everyone, including me, the one who’d done all the work, left in a wonderful mood. It really is true what they say, don’t judge a book by its cover, but even more importantly, don’t judge a table by its appearance. It’s all in the attitude.