PMB Chamber - Attitude & Earning Potential


Over the last while, I have had the misfortune to be served by some very sulky, unhelpful and unskilled waitresses. I find it both fascinating and horrifying at the same time.

The other day, a group of ten of us went to have lunch in the Midlands. The atmosphere was jovial and we were having a great time except for the very huffy waitress that was serving us. It was obvious that she considered waitressing quite below her, and that she had woken up in a very bad mood that day. She was dressed to the nines, but had no waitressing skills at all. She did not know how to take an order properly, which side to serve from or when to clear the dishes. She even tried to remove glasses that still had wine in, causing, as can be expected, a little bit of consternation. Gentle correction, like: "please don't take that glass, I'm still busy", resulted in eye rolling and her stomping off. Needless to say, we won't go back to that particular restaurant, which is a great pity, because the food was quite good. We begrudgingly paid the standard tip. If she'd been good at her job, we would undoubtedly have returned at some time in the future and she would have received a considerably better tip.

A friend and I cycle every Sunday morning, and after our ride, it has become traditional to have a coffee and a bit of breakfast at the only cafe for miles around. We've been going there nearly every Sunday for about a year now, dressed in the same cycling gear, and we always have the same thing from the quite limited menu. There are usually no more than three tables occupied at any time, so it isn't a busy place, and we are always served by the same waitress. Last week, just for fun, when she approached our table, I said: "we'll have the usual". She giggled a bit, and then said: "lovey, I won't know what that is".

Having spent nine years during my youth waitressing, I am quite taken aback by these attitudes. Waitressing is an important job, and it requires training and skill. You can also earn good money if you do it well. I loved being a waitress, because it gave me a sense of independence, and it taught me a range of life skills. Firstly, the more effort I put in, the greater the reward. It taught me to smile no matter what goes wrong or how tough things get, and to think on my feet and to make a plan. Sure, you get difficult customers, but you just have to work harder to please them. It taught me to be more confident and how to interact effectively with different people. Little things like remembering people's names and what they usually order goes a long way towards improving your tips.

In these tough economic times, when it's difficult to attract customers and when jobs are scarce, it is hard to believe that so little attention is paid to customer care. This is precisely when there should be greater focus on it.

To the restaurant and cafe owners out there, please be careful in your selection of waitressing staff, and please ensure that they are properly trained. They determine what kind of an experience your customers are having. They are the face of your business. This is definitely one of the areas where you recruit for attitude and train the skills.

To those that are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to waitress, please remember that it is a skilled position. Learn how to do it correctly, smile and go out of your way to be accommodating. I can assure you, that your income will increase exponentially. In your case, there is definitely a direct correlation between your attitude and your earning potential.

Melanie Veness - PCB CEO