A little school work…

First I’d like to apologize for promising the daily double and just not getting around to it. But I do have a surprise for you readers (hello?). This is a little work of my own that I had to do. I was asked to write blog posts in the eyes of a particular demographic that I’m not a part of by first integrating myself into their lifestyle. I chose Graduate Student Waiters. I know not a big jump from my daily life, but given the time period and amount of money and other things going on during the time I had to write and research (spring break) I had to pick something manageable. So here it is.

Standing at the Table

The product in mind is a stylish slip-resistant shoe for waiters and waitresses. These restaurant employees work in an environment that has two polar opposite worlds – a presentable area open to the general public and a private loud and stressful region that can be often found wet and messy. These 23 to 29-year-old graduate students play multiple active personas at work – an unparalleled friendly face to the public and a stressed-out, often-annoyed character in the backroom. Though these students’ schedules are busy between school and work, they find time to play and often enjoy going out on the town with their coworkers.

This research is a product of observation and interview at multiple locations. The first location was the Cheesecake Factory in Bayshore Mall during dinner service on March 10th. The next location was Marquette University’s Annex during the second round NCAA tournament game on March 18th. The last restaurant visited was Stubby’s Pub and Grub during the round of 32 of the NCAA tournament on March 20th.

The experience was interesting to say the least. I started out small and observed a friend working at Cheesecake Factory and interviewed her about life as a waitress and how she became one while she was tending to my table and others. I then went to the Annex for more research. Knowing the managers from my work with the Annex as a marketing assistant, I asked to wait a table. They could not let me because of several different concerns, but they granted me the ability to shadow a server. The last experience at Stubby’s was solely observation and I made sure to take information from my past research experiences to take note as to how our server treated us in relation to other restaurant staff in different sections of the restaurant.

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Man, oh man. Anyone else have those rough first days on the job? It seems things were easier when I was simply stressing on about memorizing the menu and coming up with a couple “favorite” menu items of mine. The boss told me he would keep things easy for me and limit me to only one table for the first two hours. Surprise, surprise, the whole world decides they want a barbeque sandwich from my place for lunch. I stuck to one table for maybe the first half hour. By their order was on the table, I had second, then a third, then a fourth. They had the new guy stretched on four tables, how often does that happen? I was pushed into the daily life quick, but you know what? That special time of day when you sign off and tip out, makes it all worth it. I’m looking forward to tomorrow.

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Restaurant food ambassadors – you work in two different worlds. You run the food from the slippery kitchens to the expecting eager receivers. Look good and don’t slip check out @Shoesforcrews.

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I’m not sure whether I’m serving food at the restaurant or entertaining crowds for Barnum and Bailey. With the skills I’m learning from running around with plates, cups, and trays all day I could be a professional juggler at the circus. I swear, even if the backroom floor is nice, clean, and dry there is no grip whatsoever. Grabbed the tray and went on my way to the dining floor. Took two steps and slid the rest of the way to the door. On the dining floor, tried to hold my stupid grin while trying not to topple over. The kids at the table thought I was dancing over to them, but I guess that’s all part of the job. At least I didn’t drop a plate like I did earlier this week – Just gotta remember to keep the smile on. Happy folks mean a happy wallet mean a happy weekend.

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Step, step, slide… It’s happens all the time. Worst fear is balancing the soups, salads, and coffee while it all goes on. Get the grip, check out @Shoesforcrews.

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It was just one of those days… again. Has anyone else ever have those unintentional late nights because THAT table never wanted to leave? Twenty minutes before we could close up shop, a group of five was seated at my table. Generally people who come this late are considerate and pick up the check at a decent hour. My coworkers were already closing off their sections and finishing up with their rolls of silverware. I kept my poker face and smiled that perfect smile, while I rolled my silverware in the corner. It was over half an hour past closing time and these guys were still ordering drinks. The kitchen staff were not being subtle, you could hear the clinging and clanging of them cleaning shop from the parking lot. The bartender and I sat there watching them enjoy their night as we pondered about what we were missing on with our coworkers already out on the town. First time I handed them the check, they asked for me to hold onto it when they order more to drink. It was later now and I was already pulling away empty glasses. I could only talk, entertain, and flirt with them for so long. I even pondered the idea of being rude. Maybe if I was just rude, I could already be on my way out the door and enjoying what the city had to offer this close to midnight. To my surprise, they called and asked for the check and I smiled my way over, but this time a genuine smile of relief. I was this much closer to being legitimately happy rather than putting up a front and pretending. Maybe this is why so many actors and actresses wait tables on the side. Those girls ended up leaving me a hefty tip and even a phone number. I put on another genuine smile – I have a feeling that tonight is going to be a good night. As late as it was, the night was still young for what I had planned.

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How do you measure a good day of work? Easy shift? Higher tips? Making it through the day safely? Put up the hashtag #DailyGrind and respond back to @ShoesForCrews.

Hope you enjoyed it, maybe find it insightful?

-Bryan Miguel

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