I don’t like writing orders down. I never did. I’d rather make the odd mistake once in awhile and have to pay for it out of my own pocket than walk around with a pad and pen jotting down every little mundane request a section full of guests may have.
On the occasion I do write a table’s order down I can’t read what I wrote anyway. There’s always one guest’s order where I have no clue what I’ve written. After walking around the restaurant and kitchen asking all the servers, cooks, and dishwasher if they can make out my scribbled gibberish, inevitably I end up back at the table to ask the guest what they asked for.
It’s never anywhere near to what I wrote down.
It’s a system that has served me well for years, especially as I’ve become older and I’m not stoned or drunk when I go to work anymore. A mistake occurs occasionally due to a mental lapse, but 99.9 percent of the time my orders are bang on.
After all…it’s not rocket science, right?
It can be a little challenging when serving a table of maybe six guests or more, but for the most part it’s no problem.
There is, however, the occasional guest who really struggles with the idea of taking a table’s order without writing it down.
You can see it coming as soon as you start going around. That one person who you can see in your periphery staring at you with a confused, somewhat bewildered look upon their face. They are usually about four or five people in to the order taking process, and as they take their turn, they utter the question you knew was coming.
“Aren’t you going to write this down. Will you be able to remember all this?”
The challenge has been issued.
Your credibility is now on the line. They didn’t mean it that way, they simply really can’t believe you’re going to remember it all. Regardless, the comment has been made, and now any mistake you make will be an example of how servers should always write orders down.
Paranoia has now engulfed the table. The guest is worried you won’t remember. You’re worried you will forget something and look like an idiot. Worse yet, you probably made some re-assuring remark like “Oh yeah, don’t worry! My mind is a steel trap!”
And so it begins. Everyone at the table is waiting to see if you’ll make a mistake. The guest who asked if you’d remember is freaking out because she refuses to accept you will remember everything and the entire meal is going to be ruined. You’re freaking out and ridden with anxiety as you punch in the order.
As you stare at the POS screen and battle the serving demons telling you that you’re gonna screw up, the specifications of each order begin to fade away.
Sometimes you get the entire order right, sometimes you don’t. Strange enough, I’ve made far more mistakes on small tables than large tables. Chalk it up to a heightened degree of focus and rising to the challenge I guess.
As for the guest…after the food hits the table she relaxes and settles in for her meal.
However some people just can’t get over it and will spend their entire dining experience mesmerized by your ability to remember that her husband didn’t want mayo on his club.
“How do you do that?! I could never remember all that!”
Well I’ve been doing this a long time.
“But still, it’s so much information!”
Well it’s really not difficult to remember fries and mashed potatoes.
“Still, I can’t believe you don’t need to write it down.”
Well I’m actually illiterate, I can’t write or read anyway.
“What happens if you make a mistake?”
I get fired.
No. If I make a mistake I eat it while you wait for the proper order.
As she walks out the door you can hear her saying to her friends, “ I still can’t believe he remembered the whole order!”
Halifax Server lives and works on the Peninsula and loves Halifax.