Last Friday night, I waited on an elderly couple who was celebrating their wedding anniversary. I thanked them for choosing our restaurant to celebrate such a joyous occasion with. They each began with a cocktail before I went over the menu with them. When I came back after my spiel, they both agreed to do the tasting menu. I was elated, not because of what they ordered, but because I knew I was going to give them the best experience ever.
This is a perfect example of what I love about the restaurant industry. Each and every table has a story. It's an opportunity to meet guests, engage with them, suggest dishes, pour their wine, correspond with them to the point that you develop a temporary relationship that can sometimes leave a mark on you. Whether it be the distant traveler from somewhere you've always wanted to visit, or the young couple who's new to the area, good friends catching up, families who always dine together - as servers we learn to read our tables. We know when to talk and how much. We understand the signs our guests exhibit, as unclear as they may be sometimes. In the end, no two tables are ever really alike.
Sure you have your regulars, that's the part of business that guarantees the revenue. For me, however, the first time guests who come and based on their satisfying experiences, tell others about it, are the most challenging tables and the ones I fancy the most. It's a constant learning cycle, and it wakens the various personalities that each server possesses, and gives them the chance to express everything necessary to accommodate the table's needs and deliver the best service based on their judgement of the table. No other job has similar connections, not on an average of 90 minutes.
I truly enjoy serving. I think it's crazy half the time, but it allows me to talk about two things that are very dear to me: food and wine. I grew up eating and licking my plate - I was a "seconds, please" girl for a long time. As I grew older - my developing interest in wine brought me to a place that exposed me to wine at great lengths and for that, I am ever grateful. It is only through serving that I can talk with others about my passion for both things. It's reason #12 why I love what I do.