When you apply for a job as a server in New York City, almost every restaurant wants you to have New York experience, as if waiting tables in New York is that much different than waiting tables in any other part of the country. Well it is. And it isn’t. Its the same mechanics. People come into eat. You get them food and drinks. They tip you. It’s actually easier in New York because you have bussers and runners who do all the hard work for you. In middle America you are expected to take the order, run the drinks, deliver the food, clear the plates,re-set the table and shmooze the guests. Its a real task. You really earn that 15%. In the city, you basically just over see things and make sure the guest is happy. So the difference your future employer is worried about is your ability to handle volume and attitude. In a city of over 8 million inhabitants, not to mention tourists, one is bound to wait on more people than you would in, say, rural Kansas. I have personally probably waited on close to 45,000 people (that’s a very conservative estimate) and I haven’t even been here 5 years.
And of course, New York is full of a much more diverse array of characters than perhaps anywhere on earth. And as a rule, New Yorkers tend to be a little more demanding than most grossly generalized groups of people. Something about the city makes everyone think they are in a hurry. All the time. Real or imagined, they usually want their steak five minutes ago. And they are not always nice about it.
The attitude I could take or leave (although it becomes endearing if you have done this long enough). The volume is what makes serving exciting in this city. Because with a greater population to pull from, there is a greater chance of waiting on someone truly extraordinary. Professional athletes, CEO’s of multi-billion dollar corperations, actors, directors, TV personalities, musicians, famous chef’s, and regular people with a good story to tell just to name a few. The recognizable celebrities are less thrilling after a while, Kathy Lee ruined that for me. Bitch.
My favorite are the drop dead gorgeous men that sometimes appear in my section. Now, I’m an actor and have a many very good looking male friends. I tend to date good looking men as well, so it takes a lot to knock my socks off. There are actually only two men in the 45,000 that I can recall who have almost been too good looking to wait on. One was actually a lunch regular of mine that the hostess always lovingly sat in my section to torture me. I couldn’t even approach the table without a deep scarlet blush engulfing my entire body, face of course included. I couldn’t get through the specials without stuttering. I couldn’t put down a drink without spilling. I couldn’t even look at him without fainting. I basically became incapable of doing my job. And yes, he really was that hot.
The other man sat in my section last night. Zowey, he was good looking. Think the new 007, but younger and hotter. He also was from europe somewhere and english was his second language. So amazing looking with an extra sexy accent. Luckily it was dinner, so my blush was undetectable by candle light. This man honestly should quit his job and just make babies professionally because he was the epitome of male perfection. I handled my obvious obsession by being rude to him and avoiding the table for the entire meal. Mature, I know. It was just wrong how good looking he was. I wanted to tell him that in America it was customary to passionately kiss your server for good service. Instead I averted my eyes and said “Service wasn’t included”.
He left 10% and one amazing lasting impression.
Categories: Waiting is the Hardest Part