I referred to a restaurant last year that I worked at as The Restaurant. My experience of that place is also written somewhere in these online pages. This is a story about The New Place. That’s what I called the restaurant I was hired at as a new server. That is not the actual name of said restaurant. However, protection is important and since I can’t blame my experience on the restaurant, or owner, or even the kind person who hired me, I won’t name any of them.
I will however tell you the person who ruined it for me is named Maria. An older woman–not ancient, just older.
I will also tell you that the beginning of my friday when all of this New Place Stuff went down went like this:
*Alarm sounds at 8am, I hit snooze for an hour and get up at 9am to be at East Harlem by 10am for a Food & Safety test required for me to take for my current position at my original job. It was already in the 90’s at this time.
* I waited underground for 20 minutes for my train. Think of a hot muggy place you hate that smells like homeless people and rat pee, and dead rats, then enclose yourself in it until it feels like a small 5×5 space. That’s what it felt like–and I was stupidly wearing jeans. I have no shorts and I knew if I wore a dress or skirt my thigh would be sweaty and gross and rub together too much and create a small fire by my spooch. Yah, I just said that.
* Train to 116 then go above ground and wait 5 minutes for the cross town bus.
*Arrive, take my exam that I am not prepared for, and pass–win.
* Walk 5 blocks to bus stop, it’s over 100 now. No breeze of any kind. Just a still unmoving heat the weighs on me. Jeans sticking to me creating a think denim blanket–trapping the sweat and heat in one place. Get. On. Bus with A/C
* Bus breaks down 2 stops later, we all get off the bus and wait another 7-10 minutes for the next bus. I am one of the first people on the bus and secure a seat. This bus is better air conditioned.
* Gets off bus and heads down to train and waits 20 minutes (yes I watched the clock) for the train to arrive. Remember what that heat feels like, and what I’m wearing. Yah.
*Gets off train and barely walks home. I am dehydrated and hungry. I must also do laundry.
* Stairs up to the fifth floor, naked time infront of a/c unit, then laundry. Down the stairs, outside, next door. Laundry in Washer. Outside, back to my building, up to the fifth floor. 30 minutes later. Down the stairs, outside, next door. Laundry in Dryer. Outside, back to building, up to fifth floor. 45 mintes later. Down the stairs, outside, next door. Collect hot clothes and walk outside, back to building, up to fifth floor and dump hot, dry clothes on bed. Do not put anything away–it’s too hot to move. Stand in front of a/c. Moments later gets ready for work–at The New Place. Two days of training and trailing, now it was my first day on the floor. Puts. On. Hot-fresh-out-of-the-dryer black pants for work…
Now. To bullet point the *highlights* of my evening at The New Place, starting first with a little description of the place itself.
It is small and quaint. Maybe hold 40-50 people until it’s considered crowded. There is a bar (not a fully stocked bar, but a bar that’s stocked enough I suppose) There are stools at the bar for maybe 8 people. The close quarters of this place make it a bit difficult to get to the computer to put orders in without being int he way of everything else people may need ie stuff from the bar, cups, napkins, silverware. The kitchen is 3 steps away from the computer and it’s stupid hot in there, duh–they are cooking. I am under the impression there are 3 Managers on Duty that sort of rotate. At least one of them is there on any given evening, there are 2 servers total, the bartender, and the busboy. The Manager will play hostess, seat people, take reservations, and answer the phone and standby and watch to make sure things are running smoothly. The servers will take drink orders, and food orders. The bartender will make all drinks. The server will run her own food and help bus her own tables. The bus boy will help with water, clearing and re-setting tables. And he will also help take out food to tables, only if the server asks for help. If not, let the server do her own thing.
I arrived at The New Place at 3:15 pm. The manager on duty, Maria arrived by 4:30pm and it took her an hour and a half to get me in the system with an employee number so I could take tables. Under no circumstances was I to share an employees number (as in don’t ring on the other servers number). The restaurant opened for dinner at 5pm, and I was finally taking tables by 6pm. The other server, I will call her Lisa (and no that’s not her real name, you only get Maria’s real name for this one), ran the entire floor. She played hostess, seated everyone, got everyone’s orders and drinks, took out all her food and I stood and watched going …well that WOULD be my section, if I was allowed to take tables. SO! 6pm rolls around I get some tables finally and it’s running smoothly. I go to close out the checks and the button I need to settle the table is not showing up on the screen. This, to me, means I am not in the system correctly. It has been my experience that if an employee is restricted from anything, it’s because they are not in the system correctly. This *knowledge* I attained from working in hotels, and The Restaurant. It took Maria….Two…More…Hours to figure out WHY. She actually didn’t know what to do, so she called the other managers and they tried to walk her through stuff, she called the owner who did not answer and she left a message for the owners assistant. The owners assistant was out of town, but she still called Maria back and walked her through everything. By 8pm I was in the system, able to close my tables and open new ones. This was just in time for me to have a table of 3, a table of 2, and a party of 8–all sit at the same time.
The rest of this story will be bullet pointed…