The Laws Have Changed

Mike’s home!

Yay! Mike’s home! It was a long weekend without him. I thought we’d be able to hang out tonight but I have to start my training at Zinque. I arrive at 6:30 in my uniform – shorts and a white shirt. Not bad, except I’m sure every shirt will get ruined.

Donnie (Doniella is her full name – so pretty!) is training me tonight. She’s the cutest, sweetest thing I’ve ever met. It’s Tuesday, so not a crazy night. Still, there’s enough of a crowd to keep us busy. I follow Donnie around to each table (shadowing is never fun). Some guy is sitting at a table with a girl. He starts talking to Donnie about the wine, using big words and acting like he knows everything. He really is an idiot. I say nothing, just observing. “I’m scaring the new girl talking about all this stuff she doesn’t know.” No, actually, Bordeaux is a region – not a grape. It’s my first night so I keep this to myself.

Donnie walks around with an iphone in her hand. She starts the tab in the phone, takes the order – scrolling through the phone to find everything – then asks the customer for a card. We put their name and table number in the phone and hold onto the card until they’re ready to pay. When they do pay, Donnie walks back up to them, gives them the option of using a different card (or cash – a rarity these days), and swipes the card right in the side of the iphone. They sign the phone with they’re finger or a little wand thing to make it easier. They have the option to add gratuity by pressing a button for 15%, 18%, 20%, or manually type it in.

A very progressive system. I don’t need paper or pens! Seems cool, I guess. Of course I’d rather write down the order. I’m old school. Zinque is actually one of the first places to test out this new system, so there are some glitches. Like sometimes when you send a ticket to the bar or kitchen, it doesn’t go through. For no reason. It’s completely random so it’s hard to catch. Emmanuel says we have to check to make sure our ticket goes through every time. That’s kind of ridiculous. If someone re-orders the same drink,  I should be able to go back into their order, highlight it and add another, rather than finding the drink all over again. Wrong. If I do that, it sends a ticket to the bar with two drinks instead of just the additional one.

More customers are walking in and sitting down. It takes Donnie a long time to put in an order because she has to find everything they’re ordering in the iphone and then start the tab with their name and card. It takes too long. While she’s with a table I walk over to a table that’s been waiting, whip out my good old pen and paper, and take their order in no time at all. Then over to the main ipad to put in their order. Simple.

Wednesday night I’m back to train with Nicole. This girl is a bitch – not necessarily in a bad way – but she’s no nonsense and to the point. She’s sort of nice to me, but I can tell if I say something to her the wrong way she’ll let me have it. Right at the very start we get busy and Nicole needs me to start taking my own tables. No problem. I approach two ladies to get their drink order. They’re not ready but they’d like some water – each with three lemons. Christ. OK. Well since we only carry beer and wine, there’s no reason to have fruit cut. Nicole tells me to ask the guy in the kitchen to cut me some lemons. I do, but I guess he’s busy and doesn’t do it right away. While I’m waiting, I figure I’ll go back and get the ladies real drink order. Ladies did you know what you’d like to drink? “No, because you didn’t bring us our lemons yet.” Wow, OK. I go back in. Can someone just tell me where the lemons are? Guy in the kitchen shows me. I cut it myself. Afterwards, I relay the story to Nicole. I can tell she is like me – we both hate customers. Then she tells Ayse. Wait, don’t tell the manager! I know what a manager will say. “Just give them what they want with a smile on your face.” I mean, that is what I did, but there’s no harm in venting about it later. Ayse doesn’t give that response, though. “This is why I could never be a server. I would tell those ladies to fuck off.”

That’s awesome. I’m liking Ayse more and more. I go back and forth shadowing Nicole and taking my own tables. She does things very different from Donnie. Takes the order mentally, grabs their card, and then puts the order in the main ipad. It’s faster, more efficient, and definitely how I’d rather do it. Emmanuel asks me how it’s going. It’s good, I like seeing how different Donnie and Nicole work. “What do you mean?” I explain. Apparently, he is not OK with the way Nicole is doing things. She informs him that this is how she’s been doing it the whole time she’s worked here, and it works. He wants us on the floor, but I agree with Nicole: her way is faster and therefore, better.

Later, a ticket doesn’t go through and it’s a while until someone figures out that a table has been waiting a long time for food. Emmanuel is pissed. “You guys have to make sure your ticket goes through!” Umm, OK, wait. It’s our fault that there is a glitch in the system? Not only that, but by using the main ipad, you can see the printer for the kitchen to your left and the printer for the bar to your right. If I put in the order at the main ipad, it would be easier to check the tickets – but Emmanuel wants us on the floor with the iphone, so he’s basically contradicting himself.

Employees talk and I listen. I learn that Emmanuel and Ayse have never owned or even worked in a restaurant. This can’t be good.

*The New Pornographers

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