My weekend posts tend to be a bit more casual than my weekday posts. I try to save certain topics for the weekend to keep balance between the focus of this blog and my philosophical ramblings about issues surrounding the life of a server. This is one of those posts. In the more laidback nature of the weekend post, today’s post is named after a song by my favorite band. I will provide the music video for your listening pleasure if you are so inclined.
My long time friend Eric asked me yesterday if I had any tips for interviewing for a server job. I am great at interviews and have conducted enough as a manager to know what I liked to hear. I gave him a few of my favorite lines. He said the question he was really trying to sort out was, “why do you want to be a server?” I kicked it around for a moment and gave him this as a reply”
“I want a job where I can increase my income by working harder and smarter. I am a hard worker and am willing to work harder to make more. Most office jobs don’t give you that opportunity. I also really like people. So if working hard to make them happy results in me making more money that sounds ideal.”
This got me thinking about the two seemingly conflicting, but vital drives every great server has: love and greed. Many people will tell you they are nearly opposite emotions. I would argue that to be a great server you must have both. I know servers that seem to have a great deal of love for their tables, but lack the greed to keep up when things get busy. I also know servers who are as greedy as can be, but show no love to their tables while they go through the motions. Both types of these servers spend huge portions of their time at work upset.
Love is perhaps the more obvious of the two drives. In order to be great you have to care about your tables’ experiences in your restaurant. It is at the core of hospitality. Your guests had the class and distinction to dine at the restaurant you have the class and distinction to work at. Now you owe it to them to give them the dining experience they are entitled to. Love is what gives you the motivation to give your best when you only have one table in your section at the beginning of a shift. It is what makes you pace the meal according to their wishes rather than just “turning and burning.” It is what allows you to show your tables that you appreciate them and are glad they came in.
Greed is a little less obvious, but possibly more vital. A server that lacks greed can never be truly great at their job. Greed is what makes you fight through the weeds. It is what allows you to find that higher gear or second wind when the rush starts. Greed makes you realize that the reason you came to work was to get busy. It is what calms you by saying that it will all be worth it at the end of the shift. Greed is what makes you say to a rude guest, “Of course sir” when you really want to punch him. Greed makes you move faster, work harder, and smile the whole time.
Love and greed do not contradict each other. They counterbalance each other. They are two sides of a coin. They are the yin and the yang of serving. You need both in order to be successful. When you find one not being fulfilled, try to focus on the other. On a slow shift, focus on a perfect service. On a busy one, try to turn with a smile. Focusing on the drive you can indulge will help keep a smile on your face and produce a better result.
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