A Straw With that Bottle?–or–Tough Day at the Podium, Dear?

Although most of the slacker co-workers I wrote about in an earlier post have fled, the manager in charge of host hiring snuck another one in on us. He is of the opinion, I guess, that a warm body is better than no body when short staffed. I disagree, but I am not a manager.

This hostess is surly, complains when she actually has to seat a customer (what exactly did you think this job entailed?), and is completely unprofessional in all aspects of her being. Except her hair. She always looks pretty (and who knows, she might have a nice smile).

She recently came in on her day off, with one of the previously employed slackers in tow (note to management, can you ask potential hires who their friends are as part of the screening process?) and marched herself up to the podium and demanded of one of our hostesses–in front a throng of guests during the lunch crunch–“Did you call me a b—–? ‘Cause that’s what I heard.”

And she wouldn’t shut up about this. Another host asked her to step away from the podium. She wouldn’t. The accused said, “Hey, later.” And was ignored. The girl persisted in the attack, getting louder and more demanding.

Somehow, the accused (who, by the way, is an awesome, ACE hostess) got her to step aside and convinced her to leave. More loud words, and she stormed out–the previously employed slacker at her side.

Um, I would have fired her on the spot. She was suspended, however, for a few days.

In she comes to work several days later, refuses to work with me downstairs, and pouts about having to seat. So the upstairs maitre ‘d finds a manager and says, “Send her home.” Which he does.

And yet, she remains on the schedule, and was in again today.

“You are seating with me downstairs, ” I told her as she flipped through a magazine at the upstairs podium while the rest of the host staff was stuffing new inserts into menus. No reply.

“[Hostess name]?”

“I heard you.”

“Oh, well, you didn’t answer.”

“I don’t come on ’till 11.” It’s ten of.

I drop it and work with the others to finish menus and go about the business of getting ready for three 10 tops, multiple six- and seven-tops, an eight-top, a private party onslaught of 70, and another large party of 30–in addition to the usual other 100-plus reservations of deuces and four-tops. I love Thursdays. (Busy is always fun, adrenaline rush and all that.)

The upstairs maitre ‘d says, “I’ll keep her busy up here. Don’t worry about it.”

Doors open, one of the other seaters joins me downstairs, and the show begins. Several guests collect in the foyer, waiting for their dining partners.

And down the stairs, right up to my podium, marches the slacker. I turn to my seater. “You are down here instead, right?”

“Yep,” he replies.

“Okay [slacker hostess],” I tell her, “You can work upstairs today instead.”

Big frown followed by a slight lean toward me. “Are you saying you don’t like me?” The bait to fight is hard to miss. I know a Jerry Springer moment when I see it.

I say, really softly: “You need to work upstairs today, okay?”

Her, louder now: “Are you saying you don’t like me?” Customers pretend not to hear this, glancing at cell phones, watches, BlackBerries, etc.

Me, as softly as I can: “This is not the time or place. Go upstairs, now. We have guests in the foyer.”

Her, louder: “Are you saying you don’t like me?”

Now, what I want to answer back is obvious, right? But I can’t, what with customers and all.

I see the assistant general manager and motion to him. “Get her out of here,” I tell him, describing the last few moments, “She needs to go home.”

She books it up the stairs before he can speak to her.

Her punishment? A “talk” at the end of the shift.

Are you kidding? Or do I simply expect too much out of 19-year-olds? Or do I simply not get the warm-body theory in restaurant-land?

This is on top of one of last night’s hostesses, who, upon coming in to relieve the day staff, immediately got on the podium phone for a half hour (with customers coming and going for seating), to have it out with someone about “f-ing tried to call you” this “and “f-ing you didn’t answer” that. Nice.

I am pretty sure the other restaurants in our group would never put up with this. But we are new, big, downtown, and blah, blah, blah.

Yep, a straw and a bottle, please.






10 responses to “A Straw With that Bottle?–or–Tough Day at the Podium, Dear?”

  1. Alex Avatar

    Is that entry a joke? That girl needs to go!!!

  2. dr. calamari Avatar
    dr. calamari

    Being the senior staffer, can’t you prevail upon your management team to include you in the hiring process? We have the same problem where I work, but as it entails commissioned sales, lousy attitudes get weeded out pretty quickly. Also, I get to sit in during the second interview (if one is warranted) to help management get a feel for how well the prospective new hire will work out. Since this started, we’ve only had one real “problem child” who lasted about 3 months, then took off for a job that doesn’t apparently require any actual “work”.

  3. Sha Avatar


    I’d say no, you aren’t expecting too much. Most people are a bit more professional than she is. I think she needs to have more than a talk, she needs therapy.

  4. red Avatar

    Sounds like she needs a good spanking. What a brat.

  5. Advicelord Avatar

    We think you should slip her a ruffie before she leaves work.


  6. Former Hostess Avatar
    Former Hostess

    i’m liking the ruffie idea.

  7. skye Avatar

    So, you poor hostesses have to deal with unfit employees, in addition to impatient and obnoxious customers? Reading yours and Waiter Rants’ blogs is really opening my eyes to what life’s like at restaurants. I now have more of an appreciation for the jobs you do than I already did.

  8. karilyn Avatar

    management never have to work directly with the fools or pick up the duties that the slacker neglects. i view working with these fools at times as a form of charity as maybe they might learn something.

    a slscker always has a use…. they unite the rest of the team and when they are leaving you get to have a party

  9. Natasha Avatar

    Is she um…how do I say this delicately, “having relations” with some upper mgmt that is is preventing her from being let go? Its just so weird to me that someone like the person you described could keep her job..

  10. Alix Avatar

    No your not expecting too much. I, myself am 19… and it amazes me how lazy my generation is… 25 and under it seems…. what is this world comming to? bad additudes, and no motivation to do a good job!!!