Sunday, September 10, 2006

Death Knell

In theory, I've heard that this week is traditionally a slow one in the San Francisco restaurant industry, but it's scary in practice. The Restaurant is overstaffed so servers (who all seem to be new since my return) are squabbling over three shifts a week each, and people are just not coming to eat.

I got sent home after two event-free hours on Thursday night, along with three other servers. Friday night I had a four-table section and it would have been a wash had the host not taken pity on me and given me the late 8-top walk in. Their bill was low for that large of a party but they were the only reason I walked home with over $100 (just barely), my criteria for putting on a tie each night.

Last night, for some reason, I was assigned the same section as another server (the new guy, who luckily I already know and like because we worked at a Very Famous Restaurant in the wine country together) and we pooled tips at the end of the night because we had a table of 20 in the second turn (although we only had a couple of tables each in the first turn).

Pooling tips is a tricky business. I've worked in a pooled house before (actually at the Very Famous Restaurant) and although it might seem fair in practice, one or two servers usually wind up carrying the rest of the staff, bringing in the bacon night after night, no matter how many times everyone says, "It all balances out in the end."

So all the new servers are looking around with wide eyes, asking each other, "Is it going to pick up?" and all the old servers are frantically looking around at each other asking, "Why are they giving the new people all of the shifts and all of the tables?" (My guess is to keep them from quitting), and in the meantime everyone's resumes are sharply polished and ready to be dropped off somewhere else at a moment's notice.

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