Daily Life · travel · Uncategorized · Work

Basic Restaurant Rules For The Hungry Diner

Let me tell you, having worked in the industry for a while, I have learned that there are somethings that should never be allowed to fly in a restaurant. Unfortunately, most of these are items that the diners shouldn’t be doing. I’ve written some previous articles on how to improve as a dining attendant/mixologist. This one is for the hungry guest that appears at a restaurant door seeking a table at a nice sit down restaurant. I have started with 5 items but I assure you there are plenty more :).

  1. Know the difference between a preference and an allergy. When your dinint attendant comes to take your order and you ask them to hold the onions, the dairy, the wheat – you should always mention whether or not it’s an allergy. It sounds like oversharing but I assure you it is very very important. A preference is because you don’t like it. An Allergy is because it will cause you physical harm. Your dining attendant, the manager, and the culinary staff all need to know this information. When your ticket for food goes to the culinary staff it tells them whether they need to sterilize their tools and station before making your dish or wash them. It allows the leadership to understand how serious any mistake could be and how much attention your table will be needing. I cannot stress how important this bit of communication is and how it will change the experience you have at the restaurant.
  2. Do not let your children run around the restaurant. Parents who have children, aunts, uncles, grandparents who are bringing children in – do not let them run. Restaurants are not play grounds. It is inappropriate and unsafe for you to allow the child to roam the restaurant. Staff are constantly carrying sharp objects, breakable glass, and hot plates to and from places. They are moving fast and they are not looking for something below their normal line of sight – it’s uncommon in the restaurant industry and deemed unsafe (any boxes would be moved before the shift begins for safety). Children do not have fast reflexes or the knowledge of the place to know where is and isn’t safe. Running around will cause them to be harmed and place the staff of the restaurant at risk as well. Keep your child in their chair or don’t bring them in.
  3. Tips – This seems to be one of those issues where people tip poorly now days. Especially around the holidays. Let me tell you a secret – most of the staff there lives off the tips. They make minimum wage (at least in SF, CA) hourly but the tips make the difference between eating cheese and crackers or eating a burger. Many restaurants do not give their staff free food – they must pay for it. In Michigan servers only make $3-4 an hour and then tips. That is half of minimum wage. My point is – don’t skimp on the tip just because you didn’t order your food correctly. It’s hard understanding what a customer wants from the word go and yes good service should be rewarded higher than bad service. However, think about this – many of those employees do that for a living and are working atleast 2 jobs to get enough to pay for life. You are lucky to have a salary and stability – share a little. Great service should be tipped 25-30% of the total bill; good service 20-25%; ok service 18-20%; decent or minimal service 12-18%; and anything that’s considered poor service should be 10%. You should never EVER tip below 10%. That is just rude.
  4. Know that being Vegan or Vegetarian is a life choice. Let’s talk about diet restrictions. Like having allergies or preferences – many restaurants can accomodate vegan or vegetarian requests. However – this doesn’t mean you are allergic to animal biproducts. If you are vegetarian but ok with eggs – please say so. If you are vegan due to allergies – state that. It is common knowledge that these are lifestyle choices and not typically due to allergies. Again – allergies will change the way the food is prepared and handled in the culinary world and is very very important.
  5. Move your hands/dishes/phones out of the way. When someone comes carrying your food to your table – please move your items. The food is hot and so are the plates. Just because they aren’t using a hotpad doesn’t mean their fingertips aren’t burning. It is extremely rude to keep everything where it is and act all put out when they have to move stuff. SHIFT YOUR SHIT. Be kind and move some glasses. Move some silverware. Move a plate. At the end of the night we do need your cooperation to make the experience as nice as it is. Like wise – do not put bags or feet into the aisleway. If you are tall ask for a high top table. Leaving your items in the aisleway will create a hazard and you are likely to end up with wine or food all over you.

While there are many other things that need to be addressed in terms of what the “societally acceptable” behavior in restaurants is becoming – these basic items will help. Be respectful of the restaurant and their staff. They work very hard to make it a great experience and simple things like this will help enhance that for you. Don’t be that customer they talk about for the rest of the year.

Daily Life · Family · Relationships · Uncategorized

Things You Should Never Say To a Person With Depression

After some intense weeks of experience – I want to share a few things that should never ever be uttered to a person with depression.

  1. It’s Not real – I want you to realize that while their depression might not seem real to you, to them it’s unbelievably real. They wake up and it stares them in the face. It’s so real it makes basic tasks like showering, making coffee, and eating almost impossible.
  2. Why are you unhappy, you have everything. Oh – this one is one of my favorites (JK). Depression doesn’t care if you live in a mansion or in a freaking cardboard box. It’s not about material items. It’s about being so overwhelmed by emotions or lack of that you can’t breathe – you can’t get past it.
  3. You didn’t let the love in. Yeah I’ve gotten this one. “Let the universe Love you.” Sorry to offend – I don’t believe in the universe. I believe in God. And secondly – depression has zip to do with “Letting the love in”. Think of being so numb that even if you wanted to you couldn’t feel a thing.

For the Christians –

  1. You aren’t walking with Christ. Firstly – how dare you assume what my relationship with Christ is like. Secondly – How dare you assume that because I’m not like you – I’m wrong, Can the foot mimic the hand?! Everyone has their cross to bear. I will give on the fact that occasionally it’s because someone isn’t walking with Christ but you better be dead on your feet certain that it isn’t medical before you open you mouth. Nothing is worse than someone elses ignorance making you feel totally crazy.

Sorry this post is so short. I hope it helps someone who has a friend that has depression. Best advice – when you have a friend with depression and they are having an episode – Just hold them tight. You don’t need to say anything – just hold them – it does more than you think.

Daily Life · Uncategorized

Depression

It’s been a while since I’ve written on this blog. I’m going to take just a few moments and try to get outside of my own home to share some things about depression with you. This is something I struggle with. Daily. This post is based on what my experience has been.

Depression…. While there is a clinical definition: A mental health disorder characterized by persistently depressed mood or loss of interest in activities, causing significant impairment in daily life… it’s more than that. Depression is like having someone in your head all the time – a darker version of your self. The one that speaks loudest – no matter how wrong or stupid it sounds – it’s all you hear. It constantly reminds you of your failings and just wears you down until you have no more room in your head for anything else. It pulls you from reality into a new realm, one where you can replay everything you’ve ever done, might have done, should have done in front of your own eyes as if it’s happening over and over- on constant replay. The voice whispers lies into your ears about how much people don’t like or care about you. They say “I love you.” and you sit waiting for the other shoe to drop. The phrase “Only when you….” is constantly nagging in your head when people say that. They say “You are gorgeous.” and you hear the word “Bullshit.” in your mind as clear as if they have said it to your face.

This is depression.

There are a few ways that I’ve learned to deal with this. I keep my hands busy. My friends laugh because I can’t sit still or at home for long. Truth is – when I sit still for too long – I get overwhelmed and lose my self in this voice – It takes too long to rebound. The song that has a phrase “If you’re going through hell, just keep walking; don’t slow down, if your scared don’t show it; you might get out before the devil even knows your there.” I live by it.

Music – I blare my music loud and sing. I drowned out the sound of the voice within me.

Baking or Art – Doing something that involves making something I can be proud of helps me.

Cleaning – It feels like cleaning the cobwebs out of my mind. This is why I do it when i’m having a rough time.

Eating healthy – sugar and caffine affect me alot. When I eat too much or enough of them – I hit a depressive slump. Alcohol too. These are things I’ve learned to start avoiding.

 

 

I know this post is short – I’m sorry it’s not longer. I would like to hear feedback on what helps others and I’ll be updating this later! Hope it helps you.

Uncategorized · Work

How To Succeed At Your Job As A Server

I’ve been working in the restaurant again. Having left and now being back, I can honestly say that I have noticed differences between the servers who make good tips and those who make average. I’m cross training as a bartender and it’s really given me the opportunity to watch the servers and notice what they do right and wrong.

3 things to do to make you a better server:

  1. Really study the Menu – both food and drink. When a customer asks you a question about the menu – make sure you know the answer. There is nothing more frustrating as a customer to have to repeat the question about 2 -3 times to another person or have someone say “uhhh I don’t know”.
  2. 3 words: “Mise en place”. This means “everything in its place”. When you work in the restaurant – make sure you actually put things into their place or prep the table prior to running their food. I sat two days ago in a restaurant for 10 minutes before I received utensils for eating (after my food arrived). It’s embarrassing to work in a restaurant and run food to a table that isn’t ready and it’s embarrassing to have to ask for utensils for food.
  3. Stop asking other servers to talk to your table. I honestly get asked at least 2 times a shift to talk to a table to clarify requests for food or drinks. I also get asked to help with the computer. Please make sure you know what you are doing.

These are three simple tips that will help you manage your time and perform at your utmost. Simple steps and phrases like “proper prior planning prevents a piss poor performance” will help you in the long run.

Hygge · Uncategorized

Best Hot Cocoa Made Simple

The best things in life tend to be the simplest. Think about it – people love either waking up with a hot cup of coffee, cuddly blanket, and good book; or they enjoy staying up with a decent glass of wine, good movie, and maybe some popcorn. This sums up the idea of “Hygge’. To take comfort in the simple things in life. To be leisurely. 

Now as a nanny, wife, and woman raised in the midwest of USA – I can safely state that taking time to enjoy something simple is necessary. I can also say that the simplest form of comfort comes in anything chocolate. Which is why you need to learn to make this Hot Cocoa recipe. 

Ingredients:

  • Favorite brand of hot cocoa (dark chocolate is preferred but it should be unflavored)
  • If you don’t have Dark Chocolate Hot Cocoa Mix then I recommend finding some cocoa powder. 
  • Any flavor of extract (I prefer Almond or Vanilla)
  • Coffee Creamer (I like Coffee Mate because it doesn’t have any Milk – which is great if you are lactose intolerant/vegan like me)
  • Hot Water or Hot Milk (Again I prefer Almond Milk)
  • Cinnamon or Nutmeg (Depends on what you want it to taste like – you could also use pumpkin spice if you want)
  • Whisk or Fork for stirring (important that it be something with tongs because it mixes better and doesn’t leave clumps in the Hot Cocoa)

Directions: 

  1. Start heating water or milk to desired heat (Approximately 1.5 cups)
  2. In desired mug, mix 1 Teaspoon Cinnamon/Nutmeg/PumpkinSpice, 1/5 – 1Teaspoon extract, and as much coffee creamer as desired. 
  3. Add 1 Tablespoon (approximately) Cocoa Powder, Mix well with Whisk or Fork 
  4. Add 1/5 Milk or Water to mug and continue to mix well
  5. Add Hot Chocolate Mix to mug and mix well
  6. Finish Adding Milk/Water and Mix well

You may add whipped cream or marshmallows if you want, but I find it’s about perfect and doesn’t really need the added sugar. Sit down with a good movie or book, Fuzzy Blanket, and enjoy.