Wednesday, November 9, 2011
May I begin with a question?
Does it bother you when a server approaches your table with the smell of cigarettes lingering?
A few questions perhaps...
What connotation do you relate to a restaurant whose kitchen/wait staff are sitting outside, in uniform, smoking?
In the restaurant industry breaks of any kind are few and far between, so I understand the want to slip outside for a quick butt, but where do you draw the line?
Is it okay to pop out for a puff while waiting for your table's entrees? Do you then deliver their food while the smoke lingers? Should you greet a table after smoking? Does the level of cuisine or time of day have an effect on the guests' perception?
I recently experienced a situation where there was a rather long delay in the middle of dinner; when the server returned he smelled so obviously of cigarettes, I understood why we had been forgotten. His tip declined rapidly.
There have been times in my life when I have been a smoker and times that I have not. Let me tell you something: smokers stink. This is especially true when the persons doing the smelling are not smokers themselves. It is fairly well known that smoking mutes your sense of smell and taste, therefore you do not notice your own stench, but the people you are serving can smell you 'loud and clear'.
So many topics that I bring up are directly related to timing and discretion, as is this one. Neglecting your section to take a smoke break is unacceptable; serving food in a fine dining atmosphere while reeking of stale cigarettes is disgusting and unfair to the people spending the money on a high end experience. But alternatively, if your tables are well cared for by a co-worker in your absence, you cover your uniform so the stench doesn't linger and wash your hands afterward/use mouth wash or gum, go ahead, smoke your lungs out!