Thursday, December 23, 2010

Block 8: Weeks 1 and 2 - Lunch Service

Last week and the first two days of this week, I was serving in the restaurant at school. It was not exactly my first time serving as I had served a couple of times at some of the volunteer stuff at school, but it was still pretty much a new experience - taking orders, using the point of sale system, and dealing with payments was all new to me. But I'm actually kind of enjoying it. And it definitely makes me look at servers in restaurants differently.

Our class is split in half - half works lunch service and the other half does dinner, and then we switch after two weeks. I am doing lunch first, which is perfect for me, because after the Christmas holiday, I do dinner and then Block 9 is also nights, so it makes my schedule a lot easier. I also totally got the better half of the class - I would be pretty miserable if I was in the other group for sure.

The first day, we pretty much just had an orientation of the restaurant, learned about the point of sale system, and then did mock serving with our classmates. I got N and F on a date - and they were very difficult customers :) The second day, the restaurant was open, so we got our first tables. When we first get to school, we set up the room according to the groups that are coming in. Then we set the tables and get everything ready for service. That day, our instructor kept the numbers down so I think everyone had about 6 or 7 customers each. I had one big table of 7, which wasn't too hard to manage. A pretty good start to serving.

My favourite day last week was definitely Wednesday - I got 3 small tables, and one table was a guy who used to come to the cafeteria everyday. He was at one of the events I volunteered at, so I told him to come to JJ's, and he actually did. He was a great customer - he ordered the drink special of the day, a chocolate martini, as well as a chichi (a pina colada with vodka instead of rum), ate three courses, and then tipped generously. We actually get to keep the tips - we just split all the tips at the end of service. Wednesday's tips were the best for all of last week.

The rest of the days weren't anything too special, until the last day of school. We invited the couple that owns the restaurant we often go to after school to come for lunch. They were great customers, ordering lots of drinks and food. They even brought the class a bottle of champagne to share. A friend and I paid for their bill, but they left an amazing tip. Our tips on Tuesday were outstanding.

Lectures in this block are pretty fun. We've learned about bartending, opening wine bottles at the table, and making specialty coffees like espressos and cafe lattes. On dinner service, we do some wine tasting, which should also be fun.

Serving is definitely harder than it looks, but I think it just takes some getting used to. I'm a lot more comfortable serving now than I was on the first day. And it makes you appreciate good service, like at Raincity Grill. A's parents were in town for a few days last week, and we went to Raincity for dinner. It was a really delicious meal - I had duck, A had bison, Mr. B had mussels, and Mrs. B had ribeye. The kitchen sent us mushroom risotto to share and also a plate of four desserts. I enjoyed it thoroughly.

We had some fun afternoons - checking up on the afternoon group, dinner at Al Porto, and lunch at Peckinpah, a new restaurant in Gastown.

I get two weeks off of school and work, which I couldn't be happier about. Plus, we are heading to sunny Jamaica. I can't wait!

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