Restaurant Ethic: An Exercise in Futility

Waiting tables for a living can be quite stressful if you don’t keep your mind in check. Here is my favorite coping mechanism mantra:

“We Serve Biscuits”

After over a decade in the restaurant industry, I’ve honed the mantra “We Serve Biscuits” to a tee. In a nutshell it means relax. It means everyone will eat, so there is no point in me getting stressed about whatever is going on or wrong in my evening. The longer version is “We don’t save lives. We don’t fly planes. We serve biscuits.”

Sometimes when I or someone around me is stressed the fuck out about being busy, I remind myself of this in whatever way I can. I’ll go to grab a jug of milk and in my haste I will drop/spill/break something. “oh god, I don’t know if the milks gonna make it. Get me 3 towels stat! We’ve got to stop the spilling!” If you’re happy and secure in your position like I am, this is a mantra that means calm down and don’t worry. If you’re unhappy or insecure or just plain like to stress the fuck out, you will be offended by this. You will think it means “My job is not important.” You will think I am undermining your life’s work. But if you think I’m saying that to you, keep in mind that we both do this job. We are standing in the same place as I say that.

I don’t think working in a restaurant is unimportant (I don’t think this is a double negative either). Everyone’s gonna eat was an earlier version of the mantra. It means “why are we stressing, everyone will have their food if you’re stressing or not. let’s everyone calm down.”

It also means that wherever you are, wherever you go, you will always find work in a restaurant. Everyone eats, every day. 3 times a day! If you can find a restaurant that serves good food, you can find a way to feed yourself and your family. You have picked one of the wisest professions in our society. Great job. I’m adept enough to know that I have way more skills talking to strangers, making them feel welcome and providing them with already made food than I am making them food that would look and taste burnt or bland.

So when I’m up to my elbows in the weeds, been triple sat, my apps are taking 20 minutes and a coworker next to me broke up with their significant other and can’t stop scowling, I spill red wine on my shirt at 5:30 with the whole night ahead of me, and the wine glass broke on the floor, I can’t find my busser or anyone to help me, and I drop the wrong check at the wrong table, as the owner of the restaurant walks in and sees a mess, I try my best to remember. I Serve Biscuits.

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