Monday, 13 April 2015
At Your Service
I recently had a trail day at a local hotel to be part of the banqueting staff at a wedding. It being my 'Gap Year' I said 'go for it, its an experience', and boy was it.
When I first arrived most of the preparation was done we had to do the simple things like fill the sugar bowls and light the tea lights on all the tables. Then came the brief which went in one ear and out the other. I have never waited on tables before nor do I have any idea of the proper etiquette of a waitress at a wedding, so to say I was a nervous wreck is a huge understatement.
We were each assigned a table with 10 people per table (which is mad for someone who works with animals and has never done anything like this before) and as the quests made their ways to the tables we had to each stand behind our table ('smiling always smiling') which I quite liked because I felt so professional in my white jacket and white gloves (like I really knew what I was doing). Next we served the wine, which went as good as it can, not that hard to be honest. After taking the orders (thankfully they only had the choice between two things so I could remember what I was doing) it all went down hill from here... Carrying a single plate is a challenge for me on a daily basis, carrying a huge tray on my shoulder with 5/6 plates on it.. well you can probably guess how that went. Getting the thing on my shoulder was fine, getting it from the kitchen all the way across the ballroom to my table was okayish but getting the dam thing off my shoulder and down onto the 'tray jack' was a nightmare. There was simple to polite way of doing it. First attempt: basically throw the thing from my shoulder down onto the jack and hope for the best whilst catching any plates making a run for it. Attempt two: Give up and stand in the middle of the room until someone comes and lifts the dam thing off my shoulder down to the jack.
Now once the tray was down and the panic was over for a minute I quite enjoyed handing out the dishes and luckily I was only carrying one tray in and then staying in the room handing out the meals as someone else did the running for the next tray, basically we looked like minions scampering around in and out of the kitchen. Now this all went on for Starters, Soups and Mains and by desert I was done I genuinely couldn't carry anymore. After each course we had to bring the plates back into the kitchen and this is 22 people all at once lining up to drop them off at the sink.. drop being the correct word right there. I could not keep the tray on my shoulder any longer and both times as I tried to let it down I completely lost it and had to yell to be rescued before everything went tumbling to the ground. The team were an amazing bunch of girls and really looked out for me and understood that it was my first day and this was not going to come easy to me, so when I asked not to carry any trays anymore (because in all fairness I knew the next course wouldn't make it past the door) they immediately helped and took an extra tray whilst I waited to hand out the dishes in the room.
Once the meal was over, the tables were moved back, the dishes collected, and the trays washed we disappeared into the kitchen.. and I genuinely mean disappeared like that was it everyone went home. I was taking into a room by the manager and offered the job, however as you can probably tell from my horrific (okay wasn't that bad but it felt that bad) experience I didn't take the job as I feel no way ready to do this job on a weekly basis.
I think that's it for my Banqueting days, all I have to say is waitresses I salute you .