Shortcutting… Waitressing

26 Jun

I had to do some waitressing today at a party of sorts (long story), and I have to say it was rather enlightening being on the other side of the greedy hands grabbing at canapés (okay, that’s a bit unfair: there were no greedy hands among the guests today, in fact the only greedy hands somehow ended up being me again, attacking the leftovers).  Anyway it was, as I said, an enlightening experience, and I thought I’d share with you a little about what I learnt.

1) When you are waitressing, you become hyper-sensitive to those around you. I remember my granny once telling me that she had been a waitress, and she knew for a fact that in restaurants, waiters/ waitresses always know when you’re trying to get their attention, they just sometimes choose to ignore you. I now see what she meant. I could somehow feel it in the air if people were craving an avocado mousse canapé; I barely had to look into their eyes and I could see that longing, that avocado-based desire, that caused their eyes to keep flicking towards the tray in my hands. One good source of amusement was pretending not to notice and watching them trying to resist tapping me on the shoulder or yelling ‘Stop!’ as I flitted in and out between the groups of people, or better still allowing them to follow me around at a distance, hoping I would turn around so that they could innocently take a little piece of that avocado heaven.

2) Use a wooden tray wherever possible. Some of the canapés I had were on wooden trays, but the majority were on these slabs of slate which were incredibly heavy. I had the misfortune of being halfway through a round of canapés when the speeches started, which took about twenty minutes overall (well it felt like it anyway), and by the end my hands were shaking so much that I was seconds away from showering the person in front of me with the very avocado mousse they had been chasing me for just moments (or twenty minutes) earlier. It was a close shave.

3) Try and crack a little joke about the food. One of the canapés I was serving was a little burger-type deal, only the meat in question was steak tartare (i.e. raw) with an egg on top. Not, some might say, the most convenient canapé choice de nos jours. Some people refused them flat out but there were others who seemed to be toying with the idea of trying what I came to think of as the ‘risk’ canapé: for these people, I tried a friendly sort of dare, and in the momentary lapse in sanity that a dare inevitably brings, where they picked up the risk canapé and pondered its existence, I whisked the tray away, said ‘Good luck!’, and darted off before they could change their minds. As an aside, it was interesting, if a little stereotypical, to note that the men were much more game, and most tended to bravely scoop up the risk canapé before I’d had a chance to tell them what it was. I also realised it was a good idea to say what was in the canapé only after they had picked it up (I did get a few ‘I wish you hadn’t told me’s), but this wasn’t always possible. I should mention at this point that as a waitress it is your mission to empty that tray, whatever it takes, hence my underhanded tactics for making people take a canapé they might not have wanted.

4) Leave the tray there for a few seconds after someone has taken a canapé. There is nothing more awkward than whisking the tray away as they reach for another one and grasp thin air, making it abundantly clear to all in sight that they were greedily trying to get two canapés in one go.

I hope this advice comes in handy to you if you ever wish/ need to do some waiting around…

Keep shortcutting,



3 Responses to “Shortcutting… Waitressing”

  1. Emotional Mommie June 28, 2012 at 7:47 pm #

    Sounds like fun 🙂 Thanks for sharing !!

    • shortcutting June 28, 2012 at 8:43 pm #

      It was, although I think I pulled a muscle lifting those trays: still hurts!


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