11 Things Restaurant Servers Do Better Than Most

It’s interesting that restaurant servers often get a bad rep.

I once had someone actually say to my face that with all the odd jobs she had to do, she never had to wait tables. And she said this proudly. When I looked at her incredulously and asked, why the hell not, because after all, she lived in Los Angeles where servers pretty much make $30-$50 an hour, she shut her mouth and said no response except for the one her face gave away, which was shock.

I suppose the bad rep comes from the label of “server” because let’s be honest, most people don’t want to serve others. But the reality of it is so different. It’s the hustle bustle of a living organism. It’s a show put on nightly that always has issues and yet manages to go on. It’s performance art, through both food and service. And yes, it varies in degrees.

As I was thinking about all this on my drive home, I started realizing there are some traits servers have that many others don’t. At least, not as skillful in my opinion…

11 Things Restaurant Servers Do Better Than Most

1. Open bottles of wine.

2. Multi-task spontaneously in a loud environment.

3. Pretend you don’t hear someone trying to get your attention.

4. Look cool while wearing an apron.

5. Eat standing up.

6. Play things by ear.

7. Dine out.

8. Talk to people when they are hungry and angry about it.

9. Look at someone without them knowing it.

10. Calculate percentages without a calculator.

11. Bite their tongue and smile.

 

Any other servers out there want to add their own?? Please do!

Change is good. Efficiency is better.

I generally like change. I lived in five different places in the five years I was in college. I’ve chosen jobs that regularly offer variety – filmmaking, script reading and waiting tables. I don’t settle when I date. I’ll typically always try something once and when I feel stagnate, I’ll take the necessary steps to stop it.

But then, on the flip-side, I’ve noticed that when I find something that works, I’ll be very hesitant to make change. And I wonder, is that a good thing or not? Well, stay with me for a second and I’ll answer that but first, a brief story…

I was waiting tables at a restaurant part-time for some lunch shifts for the past six years. It fit my schedule, I liked the people there and it was comfortable. I knew what to expect and it worked in my life. I never really re-evaluated though if this was truly the best place for me to be. But then, forces of nature beyond my control made me re-evaluate what I wanted. I was laid off with practically no notice and so change was thrust upon me.

Now I actually like working in restaurants. I love food and wine. I love the atmosphere. I love the whole idea of people meeting and talking over food and having good conversation. I’m Italian, it’s part of our culture. I love innovation and creativity in the food and work space and basically, I feel at home in restaurants. But in hindsight, while I loved my last job, it wasn’t the most efficient choice I could have made for myself. It worked though so it was easy to stay.

But then, when I found myself in the position of having no choice but to leave it, while I wasn’t thrilled initially, I started to realize it wasn’t such a bad thing.

Change is great and I liked the idea of making a change but I didn’t want to make a change just for the sake of change. I needed more than that.

And that’s when I realized, change is good. But efficiency is better.

When I decided I could have been using my time in a much more positive way for my life, this forced change became one of the best things that could have happened to me. I started writing more and looking for a new restaurant that would better fit my wants and needs. And now here I am, three months later with a children’s book written and new employment that is beyond exciting and challenging and thoroughly inspiring.

Though I like change, I was never prompted to make it because my life worked. Perhaps though, a good way to think about change is not just simply asking oneself if change is needed but rather asking if change will bring more efficiency to your life. And just to be clear, efficiency means (thanks to my beloved Apple dictionary) “achieving maximum productivity with minimum wasted effort or expense, working in a well-organized and competent way.”

So go ahead and ask yourself – would change make my life more efficient?

If the answer is yes, perhaps you may want to make a change. For me, I’ve now found…

Change is good, but Efficiency is better.

Timing

I’m sure it’s safe to say that most of us, if not all, have heard the expression “timing is everything”.

Today, I’m pretty sure that not only is there truth in that but it was likely first said by someone who realized that life is like a puzzle, and there are moments that come together and fit perfectly to create a whole. I think we finish a ton of puzzles throughout our lifetime, some many more than others, but I also think timing has a lot to do with them.

I recently lost a job all the while dealing with the fact that my latest film has been rejected from the majority of film festivals I’ve submitted it too. (For those who don’t know, filmmaking is my life.) And while it would be very easy to get depressed about these two things, I’ve been trying incredibly hard to stay positive.

But I’ve had some help.

Is it a coincidence that I just happen to find a guy who I genuinely want to know and be with right before I lose a job that I enjoyed very much? Now while the fact I lost the job makes me sad, it’s hard to stay that way after meeting someone who makes me so happy.

But okay, I chalk it up to a coincidence and leave it at that.

Tonight, however, makes me think it might not just be happenstance…

As mentioned, I’ve been thinking a lot about my films, which isn’t that surprising since I probably think about them 90% of my day, but in particular, I’ve been thinking about my latest film which has yet to play a festival. It deals with the topic of individual responsibility for oneself. Those who are avid fans of my films, cheer me on and tell me to keep doing what I’m doing (though give me constructive criticism as well,) but it’s been hard because I know I make films that are not going to appeal to the masses. While there is definite room in the cinematic marketplace for escapism films, they seem to be all the rage and I by no means make them.

Today, I was cleaning out my office and came upon a DVD of a film called “Think of Me”. I looked it up on IMDB and saw that Lauren Ambrose was in it. I’m a huge fan of hers from her work in “Six Feet Under” so that was enough to get me to play it. I popped it in and settled back with a bowl of popcorn, a glass of wine and some diet coke on ice. I was hooked within ten minutes. And captivated until the end. I had tears in my eyes and I don’t cry at movies unless they somehow connect with me, deeply, on a human level. This film did and chances are, next to no one has heard of it.

Timing.

This is the EXACT film I needed to see right now. It was beautiful, courageous, honest, real and thoughtful. And the fact that it was made gives me such hope that I have a renewed energy about making the films I make. Sure, these films may not reach the audiences or profit level that a film like “The Avengers” might but I realize I don’t care. Artists stay true to themselves and I believe there IS an audience for honest work based in reality.

Timing may not be everything but damn, it sure it is something.