Saturday, February 7, 2009

What's The Temperature?

I am a huge fan of professional waiters.

They are the waiters who understand what you might enjoy by just observing you get settled, who pulls something off the table because it doesn't measure up to their standards, and who makes sure your glass is full without asking. They remember your favorite drink when you don't come back in to eat for three months. They are the old school guys who used to come in after a late shift for a drink and to wind down, and want to see if you have any orders of Bone Marrow left. The ones you never heard complain when you asked how they were doing and the restaurant was packed. The ones who never sweat over your salad, or wiped their forehead with their sleeve. These are the ones you hope will work for you in your dining room.

I have always tried to feed them well when they have worked for me. We have a mutual respect and admiration for each other and enjoy working towards the common goal of taking good care of our customers. Because we want those customers back, we want them to think they can never live without us. We want them to become dependent on the professional treatment they receive. These waiters trust you and ask you what you want to recommend tonight as they tie their aprons and look at the special board.

I was working in the East Bay in Danville at a very nice place when a ticket came in from the new cocktail waitress. Filet Mignon. No problem. But that was it on the ticket, no temperature, Rare, Medium Rare, Well Done? Nothing...Give the new-be a break, she probably just forgot, no problem.

I got her attention as she walked up to the line, we were not busy, but it's important to figure out this stuff as soon as possible so I held her ticket up and asked her,

"What temperature?",

she stared back at me like my hair was on fire, so I checked, it wasn't. The cooks on either side sort of stopped, they wanted to know the temperature of the steak so they knew how to proceed, quickly.
I asked again, "What the temperature?" and I got nothing back.

I asked a third time as I physically pointed at her ticket in my hand for the ONE table she had.

"What's The Temperature?"

I immediately knew she wasn't one of those professional waiters I admired and loved to have work for me, I knew she wasn't going to last very long, I knew it was just a matter of time when she replied,


and I just shook my head.

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