Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Dead Zone

Our restaurant was like a morgue last night. I don't know what the final guest count was, but it was absurdly low. I suppose it was the after effect of Superbowl parties and leftovers. Nobody made any money, the most I heard someone walking with was $55, and that's because that server had a large table leave him $30 in one tip. Tough to pay the bills when few tables come in and they can't cut anyone. The old system would let us cut down to our strongest servers, and let them run 4-5 tables if anyone did come in. Rather than doing that, now we all limp along with one or two tables, because they can't risk cutting anyone. 3 tables walk in the door now and it's a logistical problem. I used to be able to say bring 2 of them to me, I can handle it. Not anymore, according to Red Lobster I became incompetent (along with all the other experienced staff) over night in early December and we can only handle 3 tables at a time. It's a gigantic, sickening joke. I'm surprised corporate leaders aren't all dead from asphixiation from where their heads have been.

One week to Valentine's day. One of the worst days to work, and one of the best days to work all rolled into one. It means good money, but it also means long waits for the guests. That means our bartenders will make out well, as guests will have a drink or two before they get to the table, but it means that much less in sales for us as wait staff unfortunately. It also means a backed up kitchen mid-evening. It never fails that there is a run on something, and the line gets backed up waiting for something, or something else goes wrong to slow things down. This means not only can we not give the best service possible, but that we can't turn our tables as quickly as we would like. This isn't generally all that noticable by the guests, as our kitchen staff is outstanding, but we as wait staff know what's going on. It also means long days for everyone. Everyone on at 4:00 PM and nobody off before close most likely. I've never understood how someone can think Red Lobster is a romantic dinner. Maybe if you live in the ghetto or a trailer park, but otherwise it's far from romantic. We don't even try to fake it by putting candles on the table.

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Anonymous said...

Some words of advice - RUN! RUN! RUN! It will never, ever get better. Not with a corporation. Get a non-corporate wait job. Better yet, if you don't want to be doing this the rest of your life, GO TO SCHOOL!! Take out massive student loans, if you have to. Fifteen years is too damn long to be waiting tables, if you're viewing it as something to get you by until your real life happens. I know, I've been there.

And - did you know, there should be no apostrophe in the "It's" in your blog title?

Anonymous said...

OK, I don't have to be the one to point out the "it's" ...

Love your blog but I totally agree with the person above me: get out of Corporate America. It blows. And before you know it, you can't get out!

Lobster Boy said...

Thanks for the heads up on "its/it's". I don't know what I was thinking, but it's been that way the whole time.

As for getting out of corporate service, I am in total agreement. I think in a previous post I mention in the comments how that is the best route to go. I'm working toward that at the moment, but I'm likely facing some knee surgery, so I don't want to be switching before I get that figured out. Not good to switch jobs and then go out lame for a month.

As for school, I'm in school working on a graduate degree. I'm 3 years into my post-grad degree with 1 year to go. So the taking out huge students loans is something I'm all too familiar with. I have nearly $100,000 of student loan debt at the moment, and I'm not going to be a lawyer or a doctor. That's scary. Freaks my wife out.

I wait tables not because I want to, but because I'm good at it. Really good at it. For many years it was good to me, but Red Lobster sticking a knife in my back changed that.

Lobster Boy

Anonymous said...

I used to live in Honolulu and the wait times at Red Lobster were always always always crazy. Because of all the coupons they put out for the tourists.

I tried to read more of your blog entries because they're interesting, but the white on black background hurts my eyes too much. You might consider a bigger font size or different color scheme...?

Lobster Boy said...

I could probably change the colors. I'm not too certain on the font size. Give me a few days, I'm really loaded down over the next 72 hours and I'll see what I can find.

Lobster Boy.