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Waiting at Tables: Not a Simple Job - Essay Example

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Name: Instructor: Course: Date: Waiting at Tables: Not a Simple Job. Sarah Nassauer’s article in the Wall Street Journal, “How Waiters Read Your Table,” is an in-depth study on how waiting at tables in restaurants requires specific skills, tailored to retain customers and increase business…
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Waiting at Tables: Not a Simple Job

Download file to see previous pages... From beginning to end, Nassauer’s article largely takes the form of short interviews with waiters, marketing and training professionals, and managers in restaurant service. This stance makes the reader conscious of being given an inside view into the workings of restaurant table service. The validity of the author’s argument is effectively consolidated by such first-hand accounts. The author’s credibility is further enhanced by her reference to a sizable number of restaurants, “from fine dining to inexpensive chains,” demonstrating that her views are well-researched. By using these little vignettes throughout the article, and avoiding a theoretical stance, the author also ensures that the reader’s interest is retained. Nassauer confines her article to one subject: good restaurant service depends on the waiter’s accurate “reading” of a table, and this is a crucial factor in increasing business. The article is an in-depth exploration of this topic and does not diverge from its focus. Nassauer runs through the various techniques employed by waiters to do this “reading”: the physical gestures, such as placing “the hand on the table,” gathering relevant guest information in order to estimate the guest’s dining expectations, guest interaction, guiding guests towards appropriate menu options, estimating the “dynamic between the group,” detecting the ‘danger’ signs which signal guest dissatisfaction. All these techniques are elaborated in detail. The different aspects of such “reading” are enumerated by an impressive number of professionals in the restaurant services. Nassauer continues to elaborate on her chosen theme by listing the signals given by guest, which are interpreted, or “read,” by the waiter. This sudden shift in approach, away from the perspective of the waiter to the perspective of the guest, is an effective way of engaging the reader’s interest, which may have flagged with the earlier reiteration of the topic. After a long study of how waiters estimate the wants of their guests, the change in attitude is refreshing to the reader, who empathizes with the guest. The signals emitted by the diner are listed in attention-grabbing, conversational vocabulary, which entertain the reader and enhance the enjoyment and humor quotient of the piece. Nassau maintains a smooth flow in her article. She lets her article reflect the progression of dining, beginning with the dynamics of taking the order and ending with the presentation of the check. As she moves step-by-step through the various “reading” techniques employed in restaurants, she emphasizes the logic on which these approaches are founded. Each technique is not just listed, but its effectiveness is demonstrated by the narratives and the hands-on-experiences of the professionals involved. A diner who orders a light breakfast is obviously health conscious, and is more likely to go along with the waiter’s suggestion of a cup of coffee or tea, rather than a heavier menu option. Guests who are headed to a show are in favor of quick service. Nassauer thus bolsters her argument that “reading” a table contributes to efficient service. One criticism of Nassauer’s text may be that the commercial motivation of efficient service is not sufficiently emphasized. As the author comprehensively lists the various signals emitted by guests at restaurants, and the techniques used by waiters in ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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