I have worked at many restaurants throughout my career in the service industry. I've noticed that they are like being in a relationship; some are like one night stands where I've left the next shift without saying good-bye or signing my W-2, and others I've made good money and have become quite serious about for years, saying, "I could work at this restaurant for the rest of my life. This restaurant makes me so happy!"
Then I notice that my sections get smaller, the restaurant gets less busy, and I find myself starting to make excuses about not wanting to be there. "It's not you, it's me." I start cheating on that place by filling out an application at another more popular, better looking, younger restaurant. At this point, my relationship has just become a formality of clocking in and clocking out. No matter how many times they change the menu, or flatware, the food all looks the same to me. It just tastes like chicken.
My "restaurant family" helps me out. They work with me through the good times and the bad. Good tips, and no tips. They celebrate and commiserate with me. I used to work at a small restaurant in Westwood, called "The Gardens on Glendon." We had a pretty tight crew and we would hang out during and after work, and I also made friends with the staff who worked across the street at "Napa Valley Grill." It's pretty easy to make friends with service industry peeps even if you don't work with them directly. A good friend of mine, Jake, worked at that place, and I got to know the bartender Beth. I eventually left "The Gardens," and moved on to a better place. Lost touch with my old friends there, and as life goes, we moved on.
Cut to ten years later, I am working at another new restaurant and I see a familiar face, it's Beth. Both of us are now married. Still pursuing our other endeavors, and still working in the service industry. (Old habits die hard.) In fact, at this new place, I am working with some people whom I worked with at hotels and restaurants when I first moved down to LA 12 years ago. Again, like the relationship comparison, you date some restaurants for awhile, you get dumped, and you move on to others.
Like Beth so adequately said, "Restaurants are like incestuous circles." She's right. So next time you see a server or bartender, and you think that they waited on you somewhere else... they did.
Until next time... Server's don't pay their rent with compliments.
"Bitter. Party of 1? Your table is ready."
The Bitter Bistro