Lookin' Good at 58

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Waiter Can Overcome any Unreasonable Request with Ingenuity

Well I am back to work today after 3 days off.I do not have a whole lot to say so I thought I would recount a story that happened to me 22 years ago while working on a cruise ship.It was a bizarre request so hope you enjoy it.

The situation took place way back in 1986 when I worked on a huge cruise ship that had two dining rooms that sat 500 people each sitting twice a night. When you do the math that is 2000 passengers. I was a sommelier / beverage waiter who was responsible for about 50-60 people in my section. The idea was as soon as the doors opened at 6PM get the wine and drink orders done as quick as you could then get ready for the 8PM sitting. Naturally with that amount of people and just one or two service bartenders and all of them coming in at the same time the waiters had to wait till their guests sat down to take the order.

Well on one particular cruise I was going along fine when the wine service manager came up to me and asked me to take over a table in the section beside me as the sommelier was having some difficulty dealing with this guest. I said yes I would but what exactly was the problem. He replied back that this table wanted their drinks served first of all the others in the dining room! You could understand why the previous server was having so much difficulty fulfilling this difficult request. This guest was among 500 who all wanted their drinks the same time.

So I went over to the table and introduced myself as their new sommelier / beverage server , then asked them if it was their wish to be served first in the whole dining room each night. They answered affirmatively and then much to their astonishment asked them what they would like to have the following night to drink. At first they laughed then I replied back that if they wanted to be served first I would need to know what they wanted before they came in.

It wasn't much but I put it in my memory and the following night at 5:55PM just before service went to the bartender and ordered the drinks and placed them on their table. When they sauntered in at 6:20 to eat they saw their beer bottle was beginning to condensate and the ice was melting in the Shirley Temple. I took the initiative to ask what had taken them so long then when they saw their drinks they started to get a bit riled up. When they wanted to know why their drinks were already there I reminded them they wanted to be served first and they were , even if they were not there to drink them right away. An embarrassed laugh followed and after they told me to forget about having to serve them first.

So the lesson learned here is no matter how unreasonable the guest's request is you can get around it and overcome the obstacle. By the way , after I told others of what happened a few drink servers started lining up at the bar at 5:55PM as well.

What kind of strange request have you encountered that ranks right up there as one of the all time greats?


banquet manager said...

I like your approach with these guests. I guess they didn't really expect you would actually serve them first. Good for you.
So You Want To Be a Banquet Manager

Waiter Extraordinaire said...

Banquet Manager...yes some people are crazy sometimes.Can we exchange blogrolls.I saw your blog and loved it.You really dig deep in what goes on at your work.Very entertaining.I just got started and really like it.
Let me know.

banquet manager said...

Consider it done, thanks. I'm still new at this too and have appreciated all the other people in the business that have helped. All the best to you.