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Brace Yourself, Valentine’s Day is Coming

valentines day

After three months of January, Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Here’s a few tips to prepare yourself for Valentine’s Day in a restaurant.

The unofficial beginning of restaurant season is about to happen: Valentine’s Day. For some restaurants, the phone has already begun ringing with requests for tables and information (are you going to offer a vegan option to the tasting menu? How about a gluten-free dessert option?) If you want to keep up, the time to prepare is now.

Drink lots of water
This is pretty much my advice for all people who have access to potable water. Staying hydrated has some serious health benefits. It’ll be the difference between waking up sore after a long night on the line or on the floor and feeling refreshed. But don’t just chug a bunch of water the day before Valentine’s – you won’t be getting bathroom breaks during the rush, after all. Get with the program now.

Prep your partner
If you are smart and lucky enough to date a restaurant worker, you can skip this one. If your partner isn’t a restaurant worker (dating a day walker isn’t easy) it’s time to start preparing them for the inevitable: Valentine’s Day will be rescheduled because you’ll have to work. I advise dropping some hints. Whenever you’re just casually talking say things like “I will have to work on Valentine’s Day and won’t be able to take you to dinner.” Another way to hint at the issue is to mention “I will not have any hope, chance or ability to take off the night of Wednesday, February 14th, as it is Valentine’s Day.” If they can’t read between the lines and get your hints I recommend breaking up and trying to win them back later in the month. Risky move, but worth a shot.

Practice saying “no”
From now to the big night, you’ll be saying “no” to an increasingly desperate set of people. By next week, every time the phone rings you’ll likely be saying “no.” Just for practice here are some possible requests. On your own time, think of ways to say “no” to each:

“Can I get a table for 2 at 7pm on Valentine’s Day?”
“Can I get a table for 2 at 7pm on February 14th”
“Can I get a table for 2 at 7pm on Wednesday?”
“Can I get a table for 2 at 6pm on Wednesday but not arrive until 7pm?”

“Can I get a table for 2 where we sit side by side at 7pm on Valentine’s Day?”

For that last one, just practice laughing maniacally.

Practice opening sparkling wine
A lot of experienced servers don’t get to open many bottles of bubbly. Ahead of the holiday, go get some Prosecco and get comfortable with popping the cork. If you want to really own it, learn to not pop the cork, but open it with the sound of a whispered kiss. This’ll also pay dividends when you sneak a split into the movie theatre to woo your ex in late February. Good luck and have a good service!

Jack Hott

Jack Hott has more than 20 years experience in the hospitality industry. Along the way he’s flipped burgers, tossed pizzas and spilled a lot of wine on white table cloths.

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