8: Adventures in Waitressing

Today, I officially became a show business cliché: the actor who waits tables to supplement their income (or lack thereof).  Not only was it my first day working at the winery, but it was also my very first day ever as a waitress.  I’m not sure how I’ve avoided restaurant work until this point in my life, but I figured there was no better time to start my adventures in waitressing than this summer (especially because I’ll probably have an easier time finding a waitressing job in NYC than anything else).

My shift officially began at 4 pm, and the first hour was taken up by paperwork, a tour of the restaurant, and some basic training.  The other four hours were occupied by actually waiting on tables, folding silverware with napkins, pouring wine, busing tables, and re-stocking things.  Kyle, the shift manager, is actually really funny and extremely patient/nice, so we clicked right away (I actually spent a good portion of this evening trying to figure out whether or not he’s gay…I need more information).  He and I are around the same age, I think.  I already feel like I’ve found a new friend and ally when things get crazy around the restaurant.  The other two girls who were working were also patient and friendly, answering my gazillion questions about how things worked and where things were.  I already think I have a decent feel for the basics of how things work in a restaurant and at THIS particular restaurant, so I think in another shift or two, I’ll feel much more comfortable, confident, and competent in my server abilities.

By the end of my five-hour shift, my feet and legs were tired, and even now as I type this, I’m having trouble staying awake.  Being a waiter is a lot harder than it actually looks, and in just one day, I already have a newfound respect for people who wait tables, and especially the ones who are really good at it.  I don’t think this job will necessarily be a walk in the park this summer; it’s a lot of thankless hours full of running around and smelling like a mixture of wine grapes and artichoke dip, but the money will be good, and I’ll have a nice amount of it at the end of the summer to use for moving to NYC.

Things I learned today during my first waitressing shift ever:

  • I am horrible at opening corked wine bottles. (I broke at least one cork tonight.  Sorry?)
  • Some wineries use Franzia…at least for sangria slushies.
  • Some customers don’t understand that when it’s busy, it takes longer for food orders to arrive at their tables.
  • I need more practice with using the cash register.
  • Ditto the corkscrew for uncorking bottles of wine.

Needless to say, I have A LOT to learn, but I have a whole summer to get things right.  It was actually kind of fun…a little stressful, but mostly kind of fun.  I work again on Saturday from 12-8 pm.  Oof.  An 8 hour day of being on my feet, but that’s nothing compared to dancing in LaDuca’s all day!


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