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Testimony of a Front Line Worker

By Hannah Warren

This is an opinion column.

I didn’t just have to learn my way around the dining room. I had to learn a whole new way of working, but even before the challenges of being a new server hit, I faced being a hostess in the midst of Covid-19.

Togo orders were in huge demand along with curbside service. I would suit up in my mask for every customer regardless of if I was delivering their meal to their vehicle or passing their bag over the counter. Some customers still take advantage of the offer of curbside service even though our dining room is open for service.

One thing that has been the hardest to deal with is people not understanding seating limits or the required six feet distance between tables. There have been many occasions I have had to explain this multiple times to customers, some of which have gotten angry.

One time I remember clearly explaining the situation to a customer and that I would place their group at two tables next to each other, but six feet apart. This was because their party had more people than the seating limit allowed. They agreed but had not listened closely to what I said and got angry when I showed them their tables.

Now that I am a server my job looks just a little different. I have customers that I take care of for the entire duration of their meal.

I make sure I have my mask on and go to greet tables with a smile on my face even though they can’t see it anymore. Although this is the case, one customer did tell me they could tell I was smiling because I had “smiley eyes”.

That comment has stuck with me and motivated me to continue to smile even if no one noticed. It made me feel like I was doing a good job even under the circumstances we have been dealt during this challenging year.

Prior to Covid-19 our dining room held 17 tables; now it holds only 10.

We typically would have two servers on the floor, each with an eight to nine table section. In these circumstances servers no longer have individual sections, we rotate taking tables as they are sat.

We do have an upstairs dining area in my restaurant. However, the limitations caused by having tables six feet apart and the challenge of finding people who are willing to go upstairs has caused us to keep our upstairs dining closed.

Even as a server I still have to deal with people asking if they can move tables around or add extra chairs to tables.

In fact, the last shift I worked I had to deal with that very situation and despite several attempts to explain why we couldn’t do that, the customer continued to ask. I ended up having my manager to step in and resolve the situation.

Being a new server in the depths of a pandemic compounds the already challenging task.

However, these challenges have only made me work harder for my customers because I understand that it is frustrating to not be able to sit with all their family or friends for dinner.

I work harder for them, so that I can give them the best experience possible during this challenging time.

Edited by John H. Glenn

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Made By Students from the University of Alabama at Birmingham