Christina is a writer and filmmaker based in Los Angeles who waits tables for their day job.
The Restaurant Business Will Change
The world is a place of chaos, with #blacklivesmatter protests and the coronavirus pandemic. New rules and guidelines are presented daily as industries try to navigate these unsteady waters. The restaurant industry has been hit hard; there's no denying that. But with change comes innovation.
While I'll leave the changes in the BOH (back of the house) to those who work there, I've been thinking about some changes in the FOH (front of the house) that are coming—and how really, they could be a blessing in disguise, depending on how you look at.
1. No more coddling.
Restaurant diners love to be coddled. They love extra attention and have high expectations to be waited on hand and foot, whether they buy a $2 taco or a $70 steak. Well... with the new regulations, we servers will no longer be able to hold your hand (literally), cut your food (yes, literally), chat endlessly about your "service" dog, or have you walk back to the kitchen to share your thoughts on the cuisine with the chef. That said, good service will always be good service and coddling doesn't have to be a part of that.
2. Servers will be able to carry food and drink more safely.
Carrying plates and glasses of all shapes and sizes is no easy task, whether you use your arms and hands or a tray. It's all about balance and focus. But now, without people hovering over you as they wait for a table or bar patrons standing directly in the middle of the walkway, serving will be much safer. No more navigating through drink-toting guests with waving hands, oblivious to the staff trying to work around them.
3. Cleaner conditions for everyone.
Cleanliness is no longer optional. While restaurants will be cleaner and more sanitized than ever before, so too will the guests. Sick guests? Nope, not allowed! Ask to use my pen (and then likely steal it)? Sorry, no sharing items, which likely means I can no longer touch your phone to take pictures, look things up for you, or charge it.
4. Outside food begone.
We all see those people who like to sneak in their own teabags or salad dressings or children's meals, trying to get the experience of dining out without paying for it. I can only imagine if outside food was frowned upon before, it's going to be downright banned and really, that's the fair thing.
5. Our rules are now citywide and enforceable.
Any server will tell you that while we can tell our guests the rules of the restaurant till we're blue in the face, they will do whatever they want. And things will not change. Case in point: I was in a restaurant a day after dine-in was allowed and even though there was only one table sat, the guests lifted the sign on a table that read "please sit elsewhere for social distancing" and sat there anyway.
Sigh. But now we can legally make them stop that inconsiderate behavior. Sorry, sir, you can't sit at that dirty table. Sorry, ma'am, you can't stand there. Sorry, sir, but you'll have to wait outside. Sorry, ma'am, pets aren't allowed in the dining room, even if they fit in your purse.
Whether you choose to return to dine-in at present or not, one rule for everyone to heed: Be safe!
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© 2020 Christina Parisi