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Does anyone have any tips for calming down quickly during service?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

Does anyone have any tips for calming down quickly during service?  Sometimes I will be fine and then something will throw me of and I loose concentration.  Like today I was doing fine then the waiter started asking how long it was going to be and standing and watching me and it through me of(unfortunately the waiters where I work are not well trained and have concept of how long things take) 

So I'm looking for any advice of how to calm down very quickly

post #2 of 23

Stand back, close your eyes for 10 seconds and refocus. When its that busy and the weeds are growing that the buzz that I love.

post #3 of 23

Talk to the chef, standing at the window is frowned apon in my establishment.  If your in the weeds look at your mise en place Everything must be there.  after that you have to look at yourself.  Friday, Saturdays are rough but do your prep, if there's not enough time in the day tell the chef.  

post #4 of 23
Man, my number one pet peeve has always been waitstaff standing at the window/pass. This one at one place used to work at would ask how long, is say however many minutes,she'd peer over the window tapping her fingers on the pass. I need lost it real bad one service.

Anywho, most of the time I just take a step back, chug some water, and wipe the forehead.

Another go to has always been to step into the walk in for a minute if time warrants. But in the middle of a push that can't happen obviously.
post #5 of 23

Not asking that question and not standing at the pass should be standard operating procedure. Surely the waiter has other things to be doing. 

Having said that, sarcasm usually works for me. 

"It's going to take a lot longer the longer you stand there."

"This dish takes six minutes to prepare, which you would know if you understood your job." 

"It will take just long enough for you to ignore two more customers while you stand there asking me questions". 

"Do I come out to the dining room and ask when you are going to place the orders?". 

For me, I've learned that as passionate as I am about food, the production of it is very practical. I'm passionate about the why, not the how. 

In the middle of service, it is all about  practical considerations concerning prep, miss en place, heat, plating, etc. There is never anything to get emotional about. An annoying waiter is a practical problem. 

post #6 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chef Torrie View Post

Man, my number one pet peeve has always been waitstaff standing at the window/pass. This one at one place used to work at would ask how long, is say however many minutes,she'd peer over the window tapping her fingers on the pass. I need lost it real bad one service.

Anywho, most of the time I just take a step back, chug some water, and wipe the forehead.

Another go to has always been to step into the walk in for a minute if time warrants. But in the middle of a push that can't happen obviously.

I hate it too. 

Its the second worst thing that someone can do in the kitchen. First be it taking my tools. 

And third asking stupid questions or making obivous comments, then when i say, "thank you mr./ms. obvious" i get a death glare. 

 

The last day at one of my jobs i blew up with all the waiters. I had a breakdown, with all of them, standing by the pass, then taking a break all at the same time to chug down a pizza, when we were busy with a full house..... -_- 

 

The only way to stay calm in the kitchen when in the weeds, is to step back, breathe, and think before doing anything else. Then focus, and go at it... on a busy shift the most you may get is a 30 second breather and in many cases a glass of water and a few breaths and self motivation can really be helpful XD. 

 

I used to have a chef when in the weeds she would say "(insert name here), come on sexy, you can do it" i guess that was her self motivation, it worked too XD. 

Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.

Dr.Seuss

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Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.

Dr.Seuss

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post #7 of 23

I've always taken the direct approach also.

 

I simply ask them what they are waiting for?  Can I get them something?.. Usually they go away then but if they respond with i'm waiting for xxx.

I tell them they might as well find something useful to do as it's still xx minutes away.

 

I've also found that putting them to work will clear them out in a hurry. 

- "Hey can you grab me a water with a slice of lemon?"  (hint don't drink it...)

- "Can you pass me a few napkins? It's hot as hell back here" (optionally - "and I need to light a Fire"

- "Got any spare towels the Chef stole all mine I'd really appreciate a spare"

- "Got spare change for a twenty I need to take the bus home"

- "Ask non-smokers for a pack of matches so you can light the stove, if they don't have any send em to the bar for some"

- " Ask smokers to go have one for you cause you're dying back here!"

 

If your pass has a view into the dining room - simply tell them to get out of the way, you can't see.

If they ask see what? - tell them if they don't see it they don't need to know.

 

With complete dunderheads I've been known to simply and politely tell them to go do their job and let me do mine.  (gotta do it politely)

 

Back when I was a bit less mature... i'd simply throw something at them... messier the better.  (not really recommended these days)

 

Singing a mildly innapropriate song or tune will clear them out of the pass also - but that would likely land you in a ton of trouble these days.

 

---

More on topic - laugh, lots and loud. 

Take a deep breath and say something funny. 

Break the tension and loose the tightness and then get back at it.

 

(i'd usually say something about another cook burning my steaks by turning the grill off or some nonsense)

(or that I thought the chef said 'burn em all day' or 'take the day off' etc)

----

 


"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

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----

 


"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

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post #8 of 23

E cig

post #9 of 23

breathe focus look over things. happy gilmore and go to a happy place then bang the shit out. we all struggle with it but how it affects you is how good you are work work work if you break down figure out how to be above it until you can sleepwalk through these services. 

post #10 of 23
Well said !

"Figure out how to be above it "

Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
(165 photos)
Wine and Cheese
(62 photos)
 
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Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
(165 photos)
Wine and Cheese
(62 photos)
 
Reply
post #11 of 23
Thread Starter 

I think sometimes you have to except that it will be stressful at times and just except that.  If you try to hard to get rid of it it can make it worse.  I think with the waiters it is better to just say I don't know how long it will be but I'll do it as fat as I can.  As much as I would love to add now f** of to that I probably shouldn't ;) 

post #12 of 23

MichaelGA's approach is my general rule- put them to work. if you have time to lean...; even coming from a dishwasher or busser, if you're working it's easy to delegate to people standing around.

post #13 of 23

If it is something specific setting off "the fury," perhaps it would be helpful to directly address that aspect of service.  I find that it can work miracles talking directly to servers before or after service when nobody is stressed out.  A lot of times they simply haven't considered our position because they get so wrapped up in the customers' worlds (which they should) and sometimes we can even learn something from them.  Make friends, not enemies!

 

As far as other stressful things go, I take it home with me and figure out, as the others said, "how to be above it."  Could I reorganize my area or portion something ahead of service to speed things up?  Sometimes there's not too much you can do at the time aside from just separating the next 4-5 (or whatever you are comfortable juggling) tickets from the rest and focus exclusively on those, ensuring that the food doesn't come BACK to the kitchen for some reason.

post #14 of 23
Thread Starter 

At the moment level is about 4 to 5 orders at once.  I get a bit lost if I have more on that and try to do them all at once.  Sometimes one of my senior chefs will tell me I need to multi task more and do checks at once I don't think he understands at the moment I can't.  I think I need to remind myself of how far I have come in nearly two months and not get frustrated.

post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chef Torrie View Post

Man, my number one pet peeve has always been waitstaff standing at the window/pass.

ugh, I feel you. Since the day I started cooking professionally one of my "psychotic effin hatreds", as George Carlin put it, are waitstaff or expediters who mess up an order, and then stand there waiting and starring at every move you make because they need it right then and now.

 

 

“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relations.”
Oscar Wilde

 

 

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“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relations.”
Oscar Wilde

 

 

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post #16 of 23

best thing on multiple orders is to handle as many as Y O U can handle.

with time you will be able to handle more.

try to talk to your chef.

post #17 of 23

Most of the young guys I know  smoke a joint, or come in stoned!.

CHEFED
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CHEFED
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post #18 of 23

First of all, regarding waitstaff who just stand there and watch you, try to understand where they are coming from.  If they go back out into the dining area before they have the food, the exact same thing will be happening to them!  The customer will be sitting there probably staring them down, constantly asking when it will be ready, so often the server comes to wait in the kitchen for a bit of alleviation.

 

My typical approach when a server is staring me down is simply to ask with a smile, "Are those people staring you down?"  Saying something like this in a friendly way does two things.  First, it tells the server that you understand the stress they experience and earns you more respect from your waitstaff.  Second, it politely reminds them that getting stared at while you try to work is really annoying and they just might realize they're doing it to you.

 

Hopefully that approach might help someone.  Sometimes a little shift in perspective can make a big difference.

post #19 of 23

>>Most of the young guys I know  smoke a joint, or come in stoned!.

 

ROFL - excuse me for intruding in this professional arena - but I just gotta say, there's a whole new definition to "being in the weeds"

post #20 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Soesje View Post
 

best thing on multiple orders is to handle as many as Y O U can handle.

with time you will be able to handle more.

try to talk to your chef.


I think the YOU part is very important.  Unfortunately chefs do sometimes try to rush you it's just the industry.  I think the important thing is not to let them because then things go wrong.  Be urgent but don't rush.  A lot of the problem was the kitchen set up.  I have moved where I work in the kitchen which has increased my productivity quite a lot.  Simple thing can really help sometimes.

post #21 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by kmcgrath168 View Post

First of all, regarding waitstaff who just stand there and watch you, try to understand where they are coming from.  If they go back out into the dining area before they have the food, the exact same thing will be happening to them!  The customer will be sitting there probably staring them down, constantly asking when it will be ready, so often the server comes to wait in the kitchen for a bit of alleviation.

My typical approach when a server is staring me down is simply to ask with a smile, "Are those people staring you down?"  Saying something like this in a friendly way does two things.  First, it tells the server that you understand the stress they experience and earns you more respect from your waitstaff.  Second, it politely reminds them that getting stared at while you try to work is really annoying and they just might realize they're doing it to you.

Hopefully that approach might help someone.  Sometimes a little shift in perspective can make a big difference.

Maybe if they are new, but it's always the same people. It's been like that everywhere I've worked. I can't stand servers who think their job is the hardest in the world. I ask them, wanna switch jobs? I've worked every damned position in a restaurant, including serve, tend bar. Their job is not as hard as they make it seem. They have a minute amount of people to worry about per shift compared to the guys in the trenches. If it's going to be a couple minutes, go back to the dining room, tell the person their food wi be right up shortly , check on your other tables, do some of your sidework, and by the time you come back your food will be ready. There is nothing wrong with checking in once in a while to see where the ticket is at, but again there is no reason to stand at my pass, glaring at my staff tapping your fingers on the effing window. Especially when you just dropped someone's dish or got your hair in their food, and want your re-fire to be instantly ready, as if I made two dishes, just incase you screwed one up .
post #22 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dillbert View Post
 

>>Most of the young guys I know  smoke a joint, or come in stoned!.

 

ROFL - excuse me for intruding in this professional arena - but I just gotta say, there's a whole new definition to "being in the weeds"

 

LOL - think about where the term came from...  

----

 


"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

Reply

----

 


"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

Reply
post #23 of 23

This may sound really weird but I promise it works, just sing. I sing all the time where I work, not loudly or just humming works fine. It keeps you outta the weeds, how can you be stressed when your cheerfully singing a song. I nearly got fired from one of my old first chef jobs because I was so emotional and would get stressed and just cry. Now I have a sous chef position. Discovering this trick saved my carer.

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