What are the first things that come to mind when you think of a waiter?
The face of the restaurant. A joyful person that would always have your water glass full. A brave individual that nurtures hungry beings. Someone just trying to develop a positive relationship with their customers.
Hopefully, most of the things that come to mind are positive.
This week’s interview for The life of a Dubliner is a waitress.
She is Bianca Machado, a Brazilian woman trying to make your dining experience an enjoyable one, and on an interview with The Circular, she told us how is like the life of a waiter in Dublin.
Bianca has been living in Dublin for over three years. She is a friendly and adventurous person and describes herself as gordinha, which is the Portuguese word for a person who likes eating and finds pleasure in food. Bianca is a waitress and like many others, she has this job due to monetary reasons. She is saving up for her many future big plans.
However, she actually enjoys it. She loves working with people and serving them. She has been in the service industry for over 10 years. Back in Brazil, she used to work with customer care. Bianca likes her job, but “the best of being a waitress is the Tips”.
What she doesn’t like, is carrying heavy stuff. “I am not strong”, she says. “I have to carry three plates with food at the same time. Now I can do it, but at the beginning was hard. On my very first day, I threw a Lasagna over a customer’s jacket. I was afraid I lost my job, but the customer was nice and comprehensive”.
What do you do in those situations? Do you have a company policy?
“The customer had finished her dinner already, so we offered her dessert and coffee on the house. It is not really a policy but we try to amend mistakes and keep customers happy”.
How is a normal day in your life like?
“I get up in the morning, have breakfast, iron my uniform, take a shower, dry my hair, do my makeup and get ready for work. I walk there so I usually leave 20 minutes before my shift”.
“Tourists care more about beer than about Irish cuisine”
What has this job taught you?
“Tourists care more about beer than about Irish cuisine. They want to know where and how the craft beers have been made. They want to try different beers and they are open to suggestions. However, Guinness is still the big favourite. They also like to be reminded that they are not at home but in Dublin. I love saying ‘We don’t serve glasses, we serve pints’, and tourists love when I say it.”
What can you tell us about the belief that there is a hard relationship between chefs and waiters?
“I think it’s true, but in my case, I am always extra polite. They could do my job more difficult if they wanted to, so, for me, it is important to have a good relationship with them. My work depends on them. If they cook well and fast, my customers will be happy. Also, they cook my dinner. Healthy relationship, happy tummy”.
“Healthy relationship, happy tummy”
What is the worst part about being a waitress?
“I am standing for long hours, sometimes 3 days in a row. At the end of the day, my back is really sore and occasionally I have to take painkillers. so, after work, I love getting back to my house and just lie in bed”.
What is the best part?
“I get free food, and I wear a uniform, which means I don’t have to mess up my clothes. I don’t have to bring work home with me and I can truly enjoy my days off”.
Waiters don’t bring work home
Has your job changed your views on waitressing?
“Yes, when I go out for dinner I make sure I am ready before the staff arrives at my table. I would never seat on a dirty table and I give more tips than I used to. I have learnt to empathise more with all of those who work in the service industry.”
What have you learnt about your customers?
“People like to know they are being taken care of. They like it when we ask if they are ok”.
Best techniques for getting tips…
“Just being nice. As I work in a restaurant in the city centre I get loads of tourists. They like it when we give them advice on where to go and what to do. That is good for getting tips. The Americans are the best at tipping” So, who are the worst? “French. Definitely the French”.
What would you like others to know about waitressing?
Waitressing teach you to grow some traits that will benefit you the rest of your life. “Demanding customers teach you to be patient, and angry chefs test your manners. Also, unexpected questions test your problem-solving abilities. Even though lying is not ok, you learn the truth can be flexible”.
Waitressing teach you to be patient and that truth can be flexible
Being a waiter is about ensuring customer satisfaction, and for Bianca is about “making customers happy but also about interacting with different people and hearing fascinating stories”, it is a cultural exchange.
Hope you are all being really nice to your waiters around Dublin, and if you happen to meet Bianca, remember to give her extra Tips!