pile-of-pennies

Apologies for my absence. It has been a rather busy month, working such unsociable hours means that I am often spending my one day off catching up with the social experiences I miss out on during the week.
Anyway, without further adieu, here is the first of my secrets (rants) from this working month:

If you have ever worked as part of a front of house team, you will understand how the general public begin to wear on you after a short while. However, the fuel of the industry for most minimum wage workers has to be TIPS! When you are working Saturday nights, missing out on a “normal” social-life, receiving tips can be that one thing to take solace in. You will find that during a lunchtime shift, elderly couples or usually elderly women meeting for lunch, will tip you £2 90% of the time. This can total up to a nice £20 extra on top of your wages, which is a sincere little bonus for providing some difficult service. Tips can be a great help, they really can! For example, my partner and I are planning a move in together within the coming months. We decided to put all of our tips (she works with me – Unlucky her) into a little savings pot, and have reached £600 so far towards the move. I personally cannot wait to move in with her, she helps me calm down when I get angry at all the idioms of the public and colleagues. Like I said, tips really do count!

There is one phrase which can get a waiter(ess) excited, and that is “keep the change”. No employee within the service industry can deny that a little part of them screams “get in” when they hear this phrase. However, and this is a big however, there are exceptions to this rule. These exceptions not only alter this feeling, but actually reverse them completely.

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gluten-free


Gluten – a mixture of two proteins present in cereal grains, especially wheat, which is responsible for the elastic texture of dough.

 

 

After working within the food service industry for so long, you become an expert in the most random and miscellaneous areas of the human existence. Allergies are something which you must treat seriously when serving the general public, for obvious reasons you don’t want a customer dropping dead in your restaurant. Now, you would think (or assume rather) that if a customer were to be living with a serious allergy to a common ingredient, that they would perhaps mention this before ordering their meal.. You would be wrong. Apparently, a minimum wage employee (possibly no older than 18 years old), should possess the incomprehensible skill of simply ‘knowing’ that this customer is allergic to gluten.. or this customer cannot handle spice.

Yesterday, a woman entered our premises and made her way to the garden with a couple of work colleagues. She was Polish, her friends were all English, and she herself could speak English fluently. When ordering, the lady asked for what we call the “BBQ Chicken Melt” sandwich, and for it to be served on Ciabatta. Whilst expressing her food choice, she turned to her friends and asked what “genius bread” is. For those of you who don’t know, genius bread is a gluten-free alternative to standard bread. Her friends replied in a vague manner, describing it as “lighter” and “healthier”. She changed to this lighter, healthier sandwich and her friend chose the ciabatta.

Upon returning to check whether the meal was to their satisfaction, I was met with what can only be described as a bitchy, pissed-off looking woman who began ranting at me that her meal was smaller than her friends. This continued and developed into me apparently discriminating her because she had an allergy. I explained that the genius bread is, and has always been, smaller than ciabatta, and if she would like I could return from the kitchen with additional filling or more chips to bulk her meal to match her friends. This really was a “her meal is better than mine”.. “She has 2 more chips than I have”.. Truly irritating, immature behaviour to have to stand and remain polite and professional against. Inside my head I was slapping this woman in the face with a wet t-towel, attempting to knock some manners back into her arrogance and rudeness. **Enough ranting**

When she continued accusing me of discriminating her due to being a Coeliac, I then went on to explain that she couldn’t continue eating her meal, because the BBQ sauce contained gluten. A shocked look swept her face to one side, and a small smirk rolled its way in..

Are you trying to kill me? Why did you let me order this if it has gluten? What’s wrong with you?

To this, a simple reply was needed…

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Chicken or Lamb Grandma

ear-hornIn the years I have been serving the public, I have often stood in silence at the complete lack of listening skills the majority of people actually possess. Most of the time this is overlooked by barmen and women, however sometimes it’s essential to readdress questions which the public seem to ignore..

Customer: “Pint of beer please”

Staff: “Certainly sir, is that lager or Ale”

This is where you must bear in mind that “beer” covers both lager and ale, and when ordering a drink there are a lot of different options. Most of the time, customers will react with “Ahh, sorry mate, just a lager please”, but the odd few will transform into a raging “beer-drinker”. When this happens, it starts what we like to call a “polite argument”. I have had a lot of personal experience in these polite arguments, where the customer will argue that they simply want “a beer”. When they refuse to perform the simplest task, that is choose between lager or ale, it comes to a boiling point where the customer will simply receive the most disgusting of ales I can possibly lay my hands on.

I guess this all comes down to the treatment most people give to those serving them in restaurants, bars and pubs. It is not difficult (whatsoever) to treat people in these industries as human beings, as opposed to machines or servants. You must remember, these are the people looking after your eating and drinking needs, they will be working alongside and most likely friends with those cooking and preparing that rib-eye steak you ordered. So possibly not the best move on your part to treat your server like your servant!

Anyway, enough of my ranting..

Now we move to the intended article..

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Customer: The “fussy snobs”

winesnob-7879371Now, from time-to-time I have come across the rare and intriguing “fussy snob”. This truly is a

remarkable creature, a customer who flaunts social prowess (without genuine social awareness) along with the illusion of financial endowment.

I will start with the mineral water drinking “fussy snob”..

In my years of working in hotels, restaurants and bars, rarely do I cringe more than when I hear such an answer to a question so innocent:

“Would you like ice and lemon with your mineral water sir?”

- “God no, it would water the drink down”

Now, tell me, where on earth do these people crawl from? It’s f***ing water for crying out loud!! The most amusing of all facts from this, is that the ice in most pubs and restaurants actually comes from ice machines on the premises which use a filtering system. Thus meaning that the ice water is actually just as good.

Secondly must come the wine drinking “fussy snobs”..

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alcohol-500x363This is the first of many articles to follow. In my years of service within the hotel/restaurant/bar trade, I have seen/heard some ridiculous things, which I’ve always considered documenting. It wasn’t until today that I actually decided to put this idea into to practice. It’s not always the general public who provide the amusing anecdotes, the staff often contribute…

        It’s only fair that I begin with an error of my own, due to the nature of this blog.

So here it is, this one is rather short a story mind.. 

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