Holiday Madness

As everyone knows, Valentine’s Day was two days ago. For restaurants, this holiday is one of the busiest days of the year. Reservations are made weeks in advance, the restaurant floor is fully staffed with as many servers as possible, and managers make sure everything is completely over-stocked.

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Servers normally try to work on Valentine’s Day because a busy day means a lot of money. However, holidays can be the toughest and most stressful days for waiters. When you’re constantly getting a new table the instant that one leaves, always waiting on your guests’ food to finally come up in the crowded kitchen window, and trying to track down managers in a packed restaurant, it can make holidays the most overwhelming times to be a waiter. But with the following tips, you should be able to survive the busiest days of the year:

1. Come in prepared. Make sure you get a good night’s sleep the night before you work so you’ll be well-rested and energized during your shift. Also, you might not get any time to eat once you clock on, so make sure your belly is full with healthy foods such as eggs, toast, fruit, and granola before you start your shift. At my restaurant, it’s common for our managers to buy us donuts and pizza on the busiest days of the year. However, these are the worst foods to put in your body because they will only weigh you down. Avoid heavy and greasy foods as much as possible.

2. Keep moving. Once people start pouring in, they won’t stop coming until the restaurant locks its doors. It can be overwhelming to suddenly get slammed and have it never end, but you must endure! The key is to stay focused on what you need to get done, and ignore any negative anxiety that is bringing you down. As long as you stay on your feet and keep getting things done, everything will be just fine.

3. Enjoy the holiday spirit. People eat out on holidays to celebrate the special day with their families and/or loved ones over a good meal. Thus, everyone is usually happy and looking to have a great time. Keep the good vibes alive, socialize with your tables, and soon you might realize that your job can be a little fun. Being positive and outgoing should also increase your tips, and all of this money that you’re making should keep you smiling too.

4. Ignore the crowd. Restaurants get packed full with people on holidays, and these people usually do not understand that they need to get out of the way. Be loud and aggressive when you need to get through crowds of people waiting for a table at the front or standing around the bar. But also be polite by saying “Excuse me” and holding your serving trays high above everyone. Also, in the kitchen, servers are always frantically running around everywhere to get things done quickly. So think fast and complete your list of tasks in whichever order avoids running into other servers.

5. Be smart with your free time. There will occasionally be moments when all of your tables are happy and need absolutely nothing. However, this is not “down time” where you should just sit back and relax. Instead, help run food that’s in the window or bus other tables. This will help maintain the flow of the restaurant and show that you’re a team player. Also, by asking your co-workers if they need anything, they will be more inclined to help you in your time of need.

By following these steps, any server should be able to survive working on holidays. First, it’s all about having a good attitude and determination. But you must also have energy and stamina so your body does not give out early on you. No matter how physically ready you are though, you will most likely be exhausted by the end of the night. Fortunately however, you should still leave work smiling because of that huge chunk of money that is now in your pocket.

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