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Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Hostess Knows Best

Contrary to what many diners may think, there is a method to the madness when it comes to seating tables. Although the hostess may look like a stupid bimbo who just gave a blowjob to one of the cooks in the parking lot next to the dumpster, she has a reason for seating people where she does. Just ignore her tousled hair and smudged lipstick and sit where she tells you to. The hostess has to make sure that every server is getting their fair share of tables so she is not bitched at later that night for playing favorites and letting one server make more money than another. Also, if she sat three tables in a row in the same station, then that server is going to be slammed and will not be able to give the service that we all know he wants to give. Trust the hostess. She has been highly trained to ensure that customers are being seated in the best possible way. Pay no attention to the scabs on her knees and the dried white substance that is in her hair. She is a pro.

Last night at the club, we had a busy show. It was pretty full meaning that it was imperative that the seat assignments that were given at the door stay in tact. Customers don't get it. "But I wanna sit with my friend on that side of the room," they say and meander to another table. It does not work like that, people. Some nights we may have as many as four different cover charges for the show. Maybe someone had a discount code or paid in advance or are a comp. The only way I know how much to charge someone is based on the slip of paper the hostess gives to the customer which also tells the which seat they are in. So when they move to another table and leave that slip, I have no clue how much to charge them.

When I was setting up the room last night, I noticed that table 39 was broken. It was all wobbly and shit and then I saw that the seat had candle wax on it. We were seconds away from opening the house, so I mentioned to the hostess to not seat anyone at that table and I would take care of it after the show. Cue Mr. Latecomer who showed up one minute before showtime. He was assigned a seat right next to the stage because it's first come first serve and his ass got there too late to warrant any kind of decent seating. I took his order as the lights were dimming and went to get his beer. When I came back into the darkened room, the singer now performing, Mr. Latecomer was not at his table anymore. A quick scan of the room showed me he had dragged his ass over to table 39. I placed the beer on the lopsided table and hoped for the best. Five minutes later, he flags me down.

"Excuse me," he whispered, "but do you have wet towel? There is something all over this chair!"

"It's dried candle wax," I said. "A wet towel won't do the trick."

He stood up (the show is happening about 18 inches from where he is, keep in mind) and starts to brush off his pants. It was pointless, because the candle wax was dried anyway and didn't get on his pants at all. "Well, I need a new seat."

"Maybe you would like to go back to the one we assigned you, sir? This table is also broken which is why we did not seat you here in the first place. You sat yourself here, remember?"

He sat back down defeated and maybe a little bit embarrassed. I handed him a bev nap so he could give another futile attempt at scraping the wax off the seat. Experience tells me that the only way that shit comes off is by scraping it with a credit card but I wanted to watch him try anyway. He eventually gave up and conceded to watching the show while balancing his Guinness and sitting in a chair covered with a dried white substance. On second thought, I can only assume it was candle wax. I never actually saw the candle spill. Who knows, maybe the hostess took her break at this table and the hardened white "wax" was residual fun left over from her time with a cook at the dumpster.

Sit where the hostess tells you to sit.

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ChiTown Girl said...

"Although the hostess may look like a stupid bimbo who just gave a blowjob to one of the cooks in the parking lot next to the dumpster..."

oh my fucking hell!! you are so God damn funny, some days I can't stand it!!!

Practical Parsimony said...

I resent being told where to sit, being led to a table and seat that are not right. I hate a booth. My feet never reach the floor, and I am 5'8"...don't ask why not. I don't know. I do not want to sit where the traffic flows. I do not want to sit in the nether regions, by the kitchen door, by the restaurant door, by the hostess, or under a bright light. Okay, so I am the hostess worst nightmare. I tip well, am female, and a teacher. I just want to eat in peace. No, these are not high class restaurants, but the principle is the same. Insistence that I sit where I say I don't want to sit is annoying. However, the better restaurants I have been in will take a request for seating. Yes, I don't mind waiting to sit in the section I want. The guy with the wax in the chair and broken table is too

itswhatiam said...

Amen, sistafriend!

Mary A. said...

I hope the beer slid slowly down the slanted table until it landed in his wax covered lap.

Rachel said...

I wonder what people like that think restaurants pay hostess' for. It's not the blowjobs. She gives those for free.

Joanne said...


Chuck and Bridget Eaton said...

I serve, bartend, and on occasion fill in for a hostess. I don't mind when a customer wants a specific table or even a specific section, but TELL YOUR HOSTESS before they start to seat you. We do have a method to our madness and when you wait until I get you to your table then I am going to lead you back to the front of the dining room and make you wait until the table that you desire is free. The reason no one is seating at that table could be a variety of reasons. No server in that section, broken, etc. If you tell me you want a booth I will take you a booth.

vinetgrub said...

As a hostess and a back server, I can't tell you how much this post means. There's a method to seating, which most folks take for granted. When a two-top asks to sit at a table for six, I look at them and wonder, can you not see that there are four other chairs around the table that happens to be 3xs too big? Customers tend to be blind, and also don't understand that there are certain systems that make the restaurant run smoothly. The seating system happens to be one of the most important.

Thank you bitchy waiter for all that you do.

Sarah said...

Most people don't understand that there is a method, and that is okay, when I used to hostess I would try to accommodate every request. My pet peeve though is someone who moves to another table on their own! How rude, just ask if you can sit there or tell the host(ess) that you would like to sit there.

My grandma is so funny in that aspect. She knows all about how the system works from listening to my rants so when she asks the host(ess) to sit close or nowhere where she has to walk up/down steps (because she can't) she always asks nicely and then says "as long as it doesn't mess up your rotation" The hosts always look surprised that she knows about rotations.

jMAN5 said...

Another few tid bits-Know how many people are in your party and it would be great if you knew if you wanted a booth or a table, seriously I don't need your 13 top coming in un-announced and you don't even know how many people you have. I also don't need half the party requesting a table when the other half is insisting on a booth and you arguing about it while I have a line of people behind you.
One more thing before i step down, there's a sign that says "Please Wait to Be Seated" if you watch me take people to a table don't just invite yourself in.

Anonymous said...


If you show up early to a party, or are told by the hostess to wait until the rest of your party shows up to be seated, it's not because we love watching you "suffer", standing around the lobby/bar. We know exactly what we're doing and how unjustifiably annoyed you're going to get. But it's for the sake of the servers so they don't get fucked over, and so and your service, in the long run, doesn't suffer.