A system of waiting tables
that many high
volume restraunts use to ensure more efficient
and smooth service. The restraunt is divided
into sections, but instead of each waiter
having 2 or 3 tables, a team of 4 has a set of about eight
tables. Each member
has specific duties to fill at all tables within the station
. At The Grotto
where I work, the positions are this:
note: this is not a copy/paste from a training manual. This is my summary of the system.
The front waiter greets customers, welcomes them to the restraunt, and takes drink orders. Front waiter is responsible for keeping drinks filled throughout the meal. After the meal, the front waiter is responosible for bringing the desert cart by each table and offering sweets and coffee or espresso.
The kitchen waiter is responsible for communicating special orders to the chef, seasoning finished dishes, carrying the trays of food to the tables, and make sure the correct meal gets to the correct person.
Sets tables at the beginning of the shift, and clears plates throughout meal and after the customers leave. The busser also needs to wipe down tables before resetting them, and is responsible for keeping water and iced tea glasses filled up.
The captain is "in charge" and is the actor/jester/butler for the group. It's his job to keep the customers happy, talk with them, make them feel welcome, take their main food orders, present checks, officially "close" checks in the computer, and generally oversee everything.
Of course, the strenght in this system is that everyone UNDERSTANDS what the other's jobs are, and fills them as needed. If the kitchen waiter sees that five tables need drinks but no one has a meal order in, he helps the front watier get drinks. If the front waiter has finished drinks for the moment but the busser needs help clearing three tables, she helps. If the captain is busy with a table, either other waiter can deliver the check to waiting customers. It allows more tables to recieve attention at the same time and makes service overall smoother and faster.
Upon request, I've added gratuity information: the overall credit card tips are added up, a set amount (a couple bucks an hour) are given to the bartender and the coffee guy each. The busser gets 15% of the remaining total, and the three waiters split the rest up, coming to about 27% each. Cash tips are divided by the same ratio, excluding the bar/coffee, and are taken home on the spot. (Credit card tips go on employee paychecks.)