Everyone knows Sava’s. It’s where you take your parents when they drive up for Parent Week. It’s where you have your baby shower and celebrate your engagement. But does it live up to the hype? As the self-proclaimed townies that we are, we’re familiar with Sava’s. We’ve eaten there once or twice, but never really taken the time to analyze the service. We embarked on our quest in full review mode, notepads at the ready.
Instead of the warm welcome we expected, we received a brief glance and no other recognition. Once we requested a table for two they again disregarded us to discuss where to place us. The hostess that led us to our table surprised us with light, friendly conversation before leaving us in the server’s capable hands. He arrived fairly quickly, considering how busy it was, and promised that he would be with us shortly. After doing a quick round at his tables, he returned to us and asked for our drink order. Arina’s inquiries about the house drinks were met with an expert recommendation. Our drinks arrived promptly, accompanied by the evening’s specials. After we ordered our appetizer, he informed us of the 86 list (for those that don’t speak server, an 86 list is the list of unavailable items). He returned to get our entrée order and further proved his knowledge of the menu by helping Tucker decide between two items.
The appetizer came and went pretty quickly, and although he didn’t ask how it was he made a point to keep our table clean and clear. Like a seasoned gardener, he cleared the weeds but kept us watered. Our food arrived with a smile and tasted delicious, but our server seemed to lose interest in tending to us until we requested boxes. Tucker’s soda did not receive the same attention as our waters, but the server offered dessert as he cleared our table. He apologetically let us know that the pudding we had chosen was no longer available, so we went with our second choice. As he left to put in the crème brulee, we had to call him back to request coffee. Though we declined cream and sugar, he brought it anyway. Whether this was intentional or not, it worked out for the best as the coffee was a bit bitter for our tastes.
He graciously accepted that our checks needed to be separate and presented them lickety-split. The checks hung out with us for a minute, but after they were all taken care of he wished us a good evening and thanked us for our business. We left the table overall pleased with the service, but were once again disappointed by the hosts’ lack of concern as we departed.
The experience was by no means exceptional, but we had a nice time. We recognize that the evening was a busy one for our server and he did his job as well as he could under the circumstances. The only real qualm we had with our outing were the hosts. With the reputation Sava’s has, we expected that the staff would strive to make our visit pleasurable from start to finish. Even so, we would say give Sava’s a try if you haven’t already.
While planning out the blog, Arina and I decided that it was important to us to showcase people that we had served that made an impact. As a server I encounter a lot of people every day, and reencounter very few. So, while skimming the ol’ memory bank for a riveting story to share, I realized that the first person I really want to talk about is actually a people.
The lunch shift at my work is notorious for being the least profitable and therefore least desirable shift. As odd as it may sound, it’s my favorite shift to work. It’s true that the money isn’t great during lunch, but money isn’t always the most important part of a job. The customer-base during lunch is made up mostly of regulars, people that come in so frequently that as soon as they walk in the door I know exactly which drink to pour and, more often than not, what they’re going to eat that day. What my regulars don’t know is that having them in their usual seats on their usual day quite frequently is the only sense of stability I get at work. To them, they’re just on another lunch break at their designated cafeteria. To me, however, they’re like lighthouses. Even in the midst of an unexpected rush, as soon as I see even one of these people at a table, I have a moment of calm. I almost always work lunch alone, and my regulars know this. So when I’m getting bombarded with take-out calls, customers that have never been in and prep work in the kitchen, my regulars will, without even a hint of impatience, tell me to handle what I need to and take care of them when I can. It seems small, but when I’ve spent the majority of my day dealing with impatient people that don’t seem to understand that I don’t have eight arms and the ability to clone myself at will, it’s almost therapeutic to hear ‘it’s okay, you’re busy.’
The sense of security I receive from them is hardly the only thing that makes these people mentionable. Most customers view me as what I am…a person temporarily in their employ. The regulars, however, have come to view me not as someone they’re paying for a service, but someone they can confide in. So many of my regulars come to me with their problems, whether it be work or home, because they know that I will offer an open ear and helping hand when I can. But the real beauty of our relationship is that it works both ways. So many of the people that I consider regulars will sit and listen to me bitch and whine about my own life and not only offer sympathy, but actually take note and follow up later on to make sure everything turned out okay. If you’ve ever worked in the service industry, you understand how rare it is to find someone that will show you just as much interest and compassion as you try to give them. It makes working in the industry worth the stress and uncertainty to know you could just as easily refer to your regulars as friends.
With all of that being said, I’d really like to thank the people that make my job tolerable, even enjoyable sometimes. There are too many anecdotes and memories about my lunch crowd to share in a single post, and they continue to collect. But I’d like to thank the people that show me respect and kindness, the people that share their lives with me and put up with me on my worst days… From the people that have been with me since my last job to the people that tolerated my most recent hangover, I sincerely could not do my job if it weren’t for you.