I remembered ‘her’ because trainer Holly remarked about the ‘new girl’ after her first training day. “She said she served and bartended before, but I swear she doesn’t even know how to carry a plate”. After her fifth day in training, Holly had little encouragement for the rest of us, “Today is her last day. She’s supposed to begin service tomorrow and she still doesn’t know how to close a check”.
‘New Girl’ wasn’t allowed to start on the floor as a server. Instead she was given the position of food runner (deliver food to tables and nothing else) until matters improved.
I was in the middle of dinner shift with half a voice when my vocal chords decided to give up on me completely in a coughing fit of tears. I surpressed the epiglottal seizure long enough to run walk to the nearest exit.
My manager saw me dart out the door and came after me, “Are you okay?”
I whispered as I blotted my streaming mascara, “I feel fine, I just can’t talk. Do you want me to food run?”
Sending a non-contagious body home on a busy night was not a managerial option. Thus, I became a food runner and ‘new girl’ food runner became a food server.
New girl was thrown into the mix. I kept an eye on her as I much as I could and treated her tables like they were still mine.
She placed incorrect food orders and forgot which tables she were hers and didn’t know if a baybreeze was rum or vodka based, and tried to process a credit card we did not accept. I got refills and to-go boxes, and accepted dessert orders and dropped checks and cleared empty plates and all other server duties that don’t require vocal chords.
Despite all her mistakes, never once did she panic.
Hopefully in a few more weeks she will learn her drink recipes and memorize the menu and master the computer and second guess the guest. If she can do all of that, she will be a very good server for one main reason: calm within the storm cannot be trained.