Saturday morning is my first day training at Brick+Mortar. As soon as I walk in, there’s a guy standing at the hostess stand. He introduces himself as Juan and informs me that brunettes rule the world. “Can you change these dinner menus to brunch menus?” Sure. I get right to work. The bar is open, but no customers yet. As I’m moving menus around, I knock a big candle in a glass holder from one of the shelves onto the floor and it smashes everywhere. Awesomeeee. I look around; no one saw. But I still need to ask someone where I can find a broom and dustpan. I walk back towards the bar and ask Juan. Brian is here now and sees me going into the kitchen for a broom. Now he’s at the hostess stand watching me clean up the glass. “Seriously? You just got here.” I can tell he’s messing with me (sort of), but I’m still embarrassed. Not the best way to start.
“Bennette (the girl supposed to train me) couldn’t come in today, so it’s just you. Don’t worry I’ll be here with you.” OK, then, I’m on my own. That’s OK, I like being thrown into it. Forced to learn everything faster. Lindsay walks in, a server, and she’s not happy we have the same name. Juan yells to me from the bar. “Lindsay, what’s your middle name?” Hmm, random question. I cringe and tell him. Marie. “Can we call you Marie? We already have a Lindsay.” Oh good Lord, no. I can’t imagine being called Marie. I’m sure I wouldn’t respond to it. Um, how about you call me Stets. It’s my last name. Later, Juan yells to me. “Stets! Can you put in this reservation?” I love it. I should just introduce myself as Stets because it’s cooler.
Lindsay gives me a quick tutorial on how to use the ipad, because that’s what I’ll be using the rest of the day to seat people. It has the floor layout, table numbers, what section each server is in, and reservations. It’s kind of awesome and I have fun playing around with it. Brian shows me in the office where to find menus if i need to print some.
We get busy. Not crazy, but steady busy. Obviously, I’m on top of my shit and everything seems to go smoothly. Brian is relatively busy for most of the day doing managerial things and letting me work alone. I’m sure if I was struggling he’d be there to help, but I’m not really. I haven’t hostessed in such a long time. I started as a hostess at Charlie Brown’s Steakhouse in Woodbury when I was 14. It would get really busy for dinner and there would many times be a wait, and I’d have to deal with hungry, mean customers in my face. Hungry people are not nice. There was also a sheet of the floor layout in front of us under a piece of glass. We’d use a black crayon to cross out tables that were sat. Now I have an ipad. God, I’m constantly reminding myself of my age. What I did forget is the part that I liked. I am such a control, organized freak with some things, and this is one of them. I love seating people in open sections and marking it on the ipad – it’s like a puzzle.
The hostess stand is where servers constantly gather when they’re bored or to talk about people. Lindsay must be bored at one point when she starts telling me a story about her boyfriend. The story isn’t important, but Brian is mentioned, and she says he used to work at James’ Beach. Something clicks when she says that. Oh my God, I already interviewed with Brian at James’ Beach, when I first moved out here.
He walks up a little later and I tell him. I thought I recognized you! You interviewed me at James’ Beach. “Yea, I know.” And you didn’t hire me. “I liked you then, but I didn’t think you were a good fit. No point in hiring someone if you’re just going to quit two weeks later.” You think I’d quit? He walks away to do something and returns a few minutes later. I’ve thought about it, and decide he was right. Well, I do like it here better than James’ Beach. “See?”
Hosting isn’t nearly as terrible as I remember it. The worst part is the phone constantly ringing and not being able to hear a word they’re saying because the music is so loud. Also not knowing the answer to many seemingly simple questions. What’s your address? Do you have Wi-Fi? What’s the password? Do you have Time Warner Cable? What was the bar here before? I don’t know, and I’m busy, is this really an important question to ask me on the phone right now?
By 4:00 I’m exhausted and hungry, but happy with how the day went – and it went fast. Bennette comes in to work the night shift. She’s super sweet and just adorable. I don’t know if I was supposed to change most of the menus back to dinner instead of brunch, but I did. “And I bet nobody told you to do that.” No. “You are awesome!” Thanks Bennette! We get 50% off food but Brian gets my food for me because I did so well today. I feel good as I’m leaving. It was a good first day and I look forward to training again tomorrow night with Bennette.