Wednesday, November 11, 2009

the napkins are BACK!

Yes, the Friendly's silver box of napkins on the tables are indeed back. No more having to ask the waitresses for another napkin.


-The Spontaneous Waitress

Monday, November 9, 2009


I don't have time to write much this evening, but I sat down with the district manager today and presented to him the "music minute" idea. He thought about it and said "well why not?" We also talked about a lot of realistic logistics like how the electrical stuff works, how we publicize it, and if someone got hurt and sued the company. The insurance part is a little scary, but I am curious to know if Friendly's has insurance for the customers?

All in all though, he enjoyed the presentation, which was mostly what I had shown all of you in the post "Find the Joy in Dancing." He asked me to write an outline about what we discussed, and reconnect on Friday. He thought about having the music minute once a week and watch the sales. If there is an increase, we'll try two days. He felt that Friendly's is losing money anyway, and so why not try something with the potential to bring in more customers?

I think that God was on my side today. It was a bit frightening, yet I gave the best presentation I possibly could, and all that I presented just might work!

I might be able to dance again!


The Spontaneous Waitress

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Cold Feet

Everything is printed out, I have the video of the Matt Harding dance on my ipod, the flyer mock ups, the audio CDs made, and at this hour I'm getting a lot of doubt coming into my mind.

-what if the district manager laughs at me?
-what if he thinks it's not going to work?
-what if I completely fudge up my interview??
-what if I don't really believe what I am trying to sell?

Remember my first post- I'm not a waitress, I'm an artist! Well actually I'm not a salesman either. I've never done anything on this corporate scale before, and already my heart is racing and it's not even monday yet! The biggest thing that's been bugging me is do I really feel this in my heart, or am I just saying things to get attention? I really do believe in this company, in Friendly's. When I think about the company, I feel like I'm coming in to see a close friend over ice cream, and what's ironic about that statement is that I make the ice cream!

But I'm also a little nervous about the response from my fellow employees. Word got out recently that I am going to be meeting with the district manager on monday to share an "idea." They are ripping me up like it's middle school. One of the male waiters said while he was making his sunday "hey, I think I have an idea, why don't I call the district manager and meet with him, eh?" and when I fibbed up on my first table, one of the waitresses said "you sure about that idea?"

Nobody at the restaurant knows what the idea really is, but what if it doesn't work out? Will I not hear the end of it once they find out what it was? Or what if the idea does go through, and they make fun of me for doing it? Really...I think I'm going to be made fun of whether this works or not, so I need to just be strong and take it like a woman...a woman who is not in middle school! hahaha!

I suppose I could say these "what if's" for a long time, but I need to remember that there are a lot of loopy ideas that were laughed at and had amazing success! What is that song called? "They All Laughed" sung by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. Here's a video that will explain what I mean:

Maybe it won't be so bad. I'll just say a prayer and hope for the best. Maybe things would work out, maybe not, but I think in my heart of hearts...I really want to put smiles on people's faces and make their day a little happier. I'm willing to be laughed at for a chance to make someone's day. To make a kid dance, to help others.
That is why I suppose, as a bachelor degree fine artist, chose to labor as a waitress.


The Spontaneous Waitress

Friday, November 6, 2009

A Rundown of the Music Minute Songs!

This morning I put together the songs that I want to put into the Music Minute CD. I feel that anybody at any age can move and groove to this music, and feel that happiness! Here is the rundown:
  1. Angelina/ zooma zooma - Louis Prima
  2. You Make Me Feel So Young - Frank Sinatra
  3. Slippin' and Slidin' - Little Richard
  4. Splish Splash - Bobby Darin
  5. Great Balls of Fire - Jerry Lee Lewis
  6. Fun, Fun, Fun - The Beach Boys
  7. Dancing in the Moonlight -
  8. Johnny B. Goode - Chuck Berry
  9. In the Mood - Glenn Miller
  10. I'm a Believer - The Monkees
  11. Enjoy It! - Hayley Mills and Maurice Chevalier
  12. I've Got the World on a String - Frank Sinatra
  13. Aint No Mountain High - Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell
  14. Walking on Sunshine - Katrina and the Waves
  15. I've Got You Under my Skin - Frank Sinatra
  16. Irresistable You - Bobby Darin
  17. Twistin' the Night Away - Sam Cooke
  18. Dancing Queen - Abba
  19. Night Fever - The Bee Gees
  20. Tutti Fruity - Little Richard
if these songs don't get your hips grooving at Friendly's that I don't know WHAT will!


-The Spontaneous Waitress

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A Meeting With Destiny

I have just read the "open door policy" in my handbook, where it says to go through the chain of command one at a time: the assistant manager, then the general manager, then the district manager, then the regional manager. I recognize that this policy is good for those who have concerns or issues with the company. However, I don't have an issue, I have an idea, and the open door policy is invalid when it comes to new and innovative ideas that could change the company. I think what I would like to do is include my manager in on my presentation, that way she will understand that I am not trying to usurp her authority in any way, I just simply want to present an idea.

The other night I called and left a message for the regional manager. I thought why not? It's an if I can swing by this idea with corporate, then maybe it can be possible.

This evening I got a call from WHO - the district manager!! dun dun DUUUN! I thought for sure I'm in big trouble, because it seemed like I just jumped over him! He told me that the regional manager was in a lot of meetings this week and was unable to return my call this week, so he asked him if he could call me and get together with me to see what my idea was. He was very nice in listening to me talk about my love for Friendly's and that this idea can lift spirits in a difficult economy. I also said that I am not trying to jump over my manager, and I'm not trying to sell anything, I just have an idea that I think might help Friendly's, and I am in need of a little open minded thinking to be able to present this idea. He agreed with me (the man whom I heard was the most closed minded man on the planet!), and said not to worry about my manager, that she works for him (that sounds a little scary to me, but we'll see). So we set up a date: monday at 2pm at our friendly's restaurant. I'll be speaking with the district manager then to present my idea.

I KNOW WHAT YOU'RE THINKING!! This is bad news for me, I'm going to get my butt kicked! I'm not quite sure what is going to happen with my job, really....I'm going to lose my job!!!!!

But here's the plus side - I get to dress up in a business suit and surprise him with my experience in public speaking skills and give a heck of a presentation! I'll be all set to give him an amazing five to ten minute presentation of the very best way I know how. Because as far as I'm concerned, I'm trying to influence a rock to move on it's own. So I better know my stuff!

and I'm going to get fired.

And if I get fired.....

then maybe I'll try to publish a book about a waitress who's "music minute" actually worked.

Anyway, Wish me luck!

-The Spontaneous Waitress

Find the Joy in Dancing!

I feel that now is a very good time to thuroughly explain my idea. I've kept it a secret for a while now, but I just can't seem to keep this in any longer. This is the message I wish to convey to my regional manager....
My cause is just, and it is also simple:

Create a change of flow from a negative day to a positive one.

I believe that the Friendly's Restaurant has the power to change the customer's day into something more pleasant than if they had not come into the restaurant at all. (Why do I somehow feel like a motivational speaker??)

There is so much going against us at this present hour. The economy is horrible, the government bailout put our country more into debt, our troops are still in Afghanistan and Iraq, almost 10% of our population is out of a job (that's a big one!), and least our oil prices aren't so bad, right? There is so much to be sad about, and I want to find a way where I could somehow change that.

I'm determined to find a solution that I can do.

First, I have found certain elements that make us happy(1):

1.The Power of Friendship
"First, family and friends are crucial - the wider and deeper the relationships with those around you the better.
It is even suggested that friendship can ward off germs. Our brains control many of the mechanisms in our bodies which are responsible for disease.
Just as stress can trigger ill health, it is thought that friendship and happiness can have a protective effect.
According to happiness research, friendship has a much bigger effect on average on happiness than a typical person's income itself"

2. The Power of a God
"The second vital ingredient is having meaning in life, a belief in something bigger than yourself - from religion, spirituality or a philosophy of life."

3. The Power of Goals
"The third element is having goals embedded in your long term values that you're working for, but also that you find enjoyable"

I believe in friendship, I believe bringing a smile to other people's faces is my current goal, and I believe in a higher being. Ask yourself if you are happy, and if you have these elements in your life.

Let's focus on friendship, because that's the name of my company. One thing with friendship, I deeply feel that you always have time to make a new friend. That's what Friendly's should be, right? Being a wait staff gives me a chance to meet brand new people and bring out some new smiles. Smiles equals endorphins, smiles equals satisfaction, smiles equals love.

Alright, so my grand master plan can be put it into one word:


Ok, so maybe my little restaurant does not have a dance floor, nor does it have the time to have an all hours danceathon. So what do I mean when I mean dancing? Well in researching, it seems that I am not the only person who has this idea.

Meet Matt Harding! His video explains it all, and I am so thrilled that he has the same idea as I do. Take a moment and watch, and feel the happiness this brings into your heart:

Did that not make you feel a little bit joyous? That is my plan! I call it the "Magic Music Minute Project." Here are some logistics:

-It will be when I first come into work, (5pm) so I would not be serving any tables or have any prior commitments yet.
-This would be a daily 5pm event that the Friendly's in my particular area would provide.
-Hopefully there would be a sign on the door indicating the time it begins, so it would not completely surprise everyone who is dining at that hour.
- all songs must be positive, both young and old appropriate, and up-beat so you can dance to it!
- I would gather everyone's attention and say the same words every day, at the same time:

My I have your attention Ladies and Gentlemen,
Here at Friendly's we have come to understand that given the current economical circumstances, happiness in our customers is not as prevelant as it once was. People have lost their jobs and the economy is down. Because of these circumstances, And because Friendly's is committed to our customer's happiness, this particular Friendly's Restaurant at {give location} has decided to find a way to bring a little bit of happiness into your life, by creating the "Magic Music Minute." This minute is where we turn up a positive feel-good song and the customers and I are welcome to dance in the aisles. If you do not wish to get up and dance then that's perfectly fine, I'll be dancing for you! So without further ado, here is our Friendly's Magic Music Minute! {Que Music!}

So far I have a few songs that come to mind:
-"Enjoy It!"
-"I've Got The World on a String"
-"Aint No Mountain High Enough"
-"I'm a Believer"
-"Walking on Sunshine"

Wish I had more songs at the moment, but I know I can find some more. What kind of positive uplifting song gets your hips twisting and legs grooving? Do you believe in this kind of idea?

The worst that could happen is I dance all alone, and nobody joins me. Then I look like a goofball.
BUT! The BEST thing that could happen is that people get up and dance, they bring their friends, and there are more people at the 5pm hour than there ever was before, boosting the profits and even good publicity of the Friendly's Ice Cream Company. But most importantly, in the best of circumstances it would bring about a moment of bliss, which is what America really needs at this time.

I believe in this project, and I'm willing to look like a goofball for one person to have a gloomy day be lifted.

The Spontaneous Waitress



Wednesday, November 4, 2009

No Dancing!!

So let me fill you in quickly...I've had a very bad day. I'm not going to go deep into my bad day, but one thing after another went wrong, and of course a bad day cannot be complete with a DMV experience with not having the right documentation after waiting in line for 30 minutes.

So I go into work and I clock in - and I can't clock in! I'm 12 minutes early, I'm not allowed to clock in until 6pm, which is when I'm supposed to be on duty. Same with clocking out - I have to clock out on time or else I need the manager's card swiped. I'm not allowed extra time. Seriously, for a normal person on a normal day of normal work, are you not allowed to show up early?

I don't mean for this to be a rant. This blog is about my ideas, not about what's wrong with Friendly's. People who read it can rant all they want in the comments, but me? I'm supposed to be the strong one, not the girl that has a problem with everything. Who wants to read that? That's right. Nobody.

I sucked in my woes, and I decided during a slow period I'll get some smiles by doing a little dance. So I did. The kids were smiling, "dancing queen" was on,

And the manager saw me for the first time doing this, and stopped me.
"No honey, none of that.," she said.

...And that pretty much broke my heart.

What do I do now? How can I implement my plan if I can't dance? I used to always dance at Friendly's...

The server who was training me said "If you want to keep your job, please don't dance." She said it out of concern for me and needing the money. I do need the money. I'm completely broke, and my family is suffering because of my spontanuity. I can't do that. A responsible mother and wife and parent would keep to the rules and try to keep her job.

I just don't know what to do.

-Spontaneous Waitress

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Dancing equals SMILES!

I was put into training with the fountain staff to get the hang of the ice cream when they are not around during the weekdays. The boys were really nice in showing me how each ice cream was made. A funny comment was about the malts - if you put one scoop of malt powder in it's just right, but two scoops, and you'd be running to the bathroom the rest of the night! haha!

You couldn't say we didn't get dirty, I had ice cream remnants up to my elbows and washed my hands and arms often. One of the customers had a special shake order of bananas, vanilla ice cream and peanut butter sauce mixed together! Crazy, but cool!

There were some slow periods, and I learned how to be able to get out of the refrigerator and freezer if ever I get locked in, there is a handle on the side. Being locked in is a big fear of mine, so I'm glad I asked.

During a slow period I thought that it would be the most opportune time to mention the absence of ambiance to my manager. He had said that some of the customers do not like the music, so we have to turn it down sometimes. I suppose they forget to turn it back up again once they leave, because it was almost non existent. If you stood directly underneath a speaker then you might be able to hear something. I told him I have one request: turn up the volume on the music! Music provides a pleasant atmosphere and a jovial place for happier customers. Not only that, it really makes my job a lot easier when I'm bopping to the music!

After prodding him a bit, I told him that if he allowed me to turn up the volume, I promise to do a dance down the aisles. He seemed a bit amused at the thought, and directed someone to show me where the volume was, and we turned it up a smidge. Not blasting or anything, but loud enough to hear it.

Then there was another problem: where were the 50's tunes?? This was 80's music! Better something than nothing though, right? I couldn't seem to figure out how to change the channel to have the oldies back. If you work at Friendly's or have been to Friendly's, do you hear 50's music or something else? This will be something I'll inquire to the manager on another day, but a promise is a promise!

I waited for a good beat song to come on....aaaaannnnnddddd

I danced!

And every customer smiled. Some even laughed!

I did it mostly for the kids, and it's not like I'm an amazing dancer, but jumping around and moving and grooving did make the kids laugh. And it made the parents happy too.

I asked one of the fountain boys to dance with me, and he sheepishly agreed. We waltzed down the aisle, and when there was a table of five and little space in between for the both of us, I did a twirl to get us through. Even the elderly laughed at our funny waltz.

Everybody loved it, including the manager. He asked me if I would dance the next evening, which is Halloween night. I said YES! I would LOVE TO!

And so begins my grand master plan of dancing.

My prediction is that the satisfaction of the customers will be higher, and the tips for the waitresses will be greater during the slower moving times when I get out and do a dance for our Friendly's customers.

Now this is not to say that I am not bound to get some ridicule. The fountain boy that danced with me was made fun of by everybody for the rest of the night. (I apologized to him and he said that he gets it all the time and it doesn't bother him in the slightest). They didn't make fun of me who had the idea in the first place, probably because I was new. But just wait. It's going to come, I know it. But it's alright, the dancing and the music is worth it!

So why am I doing this? Well if it makes the customer's Friendly's experience a little brighter, then why not? Is not our motto "Service With a Smile" ?? and "Friendly, you bet we are!" ?? So what is wrong with doing something to encourage that?

Absolutely nothing.

This is a tough and depressing economy as it is, and I believe in a Friendly's that has the ability to change that!

I rest my case.

-The Spontaneous Waitress

Thursday, October 29, 2009

No Napkins, No Name Tags, No Shirts, No Music?

Today was my first day of work, and I would like to share with you a few of the things that have changed since I last worked at Friendly's.

First, and most ridiculously, the rule of "only one napkin per customer, unless they request more napkins." This napkin is the one that is rolled up with the silverware. There used to be a little silver box on each table with napkins for customers to use to their need or desire, but not anymore. No, only one napkin. So if the customer requests more napkins, then it's an extra few steps into the kitchen and back to get them napkins. Are we saving trees?? No, this is a budget cut of unnecessary expenses, but at the expense of the customers and the waitresses. The more time they have to fill small requests such as more napkins, the more time it will take to make sure their food is out and everything is rolling smoothly. A waitress is responsible for housekeeping, meaning they are given chores throughout their work period that they need to complete. That and then make the salads, put in food orders, make and bring out drinks, bring out the food, and make the ice cream. this puts a set back on the customers because this particular Friendly's has always been considered "slow." Now you know why. napkin, unless you ask, then you will have two.

It may seem easy to be a Friendly's waitress, but it's a lot of work to be a waitress here. I've always known that though because of working her in times past. I predict that this weekend when I am actually put on the floor to flap my own wings, I will make quite a few mistakes. I only hope that the customers will understand when I mess up. I'll be sure to apologize and correct the situation for sure! But I always feel bad when I make a mistake, especially on a food order.

The second thing that has changed is the absence of name tags. I even brought my old name tag to work, but my manager said "no, we are not allowed to use name tags anymore." I was so shocked! As a customer I always appreciated the name tag in case the name of the server was a bit foreign, like "Xavierian" or "Teniqua". I would always forget those kind of names, but if they had a name tag on then I would be able to address the waitress or waiter by name, and I would feel good that I am talking to them as a person instead of "excuse me miss?" I wonder if I have my name tag on anyway, would they be angry with me?? Should I push that? But the District Manager said "no name tags," and so for right now I'll just have to hope that I make a good impression when I present my name to the customers as I greet them.

The next thing is the lack of Friendly's collared shirts. They changed their policy that would require me to go out and buy my own collared shirts under a new color code. These shirts look like pastel golf shirts. I suppose that is another way to reduce expenses, and I understand this new policy because Friendly's also has an open door policy, meaning that you can leave the job at any time for no reason. So if Friendly's continues to give shirts to people who only work a month, that is a big expense to the company. So I'm going to suck this one up and buy my pastel rainbow Wal-Mart shirts in good faith.

One of the saddest things I would have to report is the lack of music. I used to love the oldies music, and it would also play in the back where the dish washer was so I could continue to listen and move and groove. It was up-beat and would keep my feet going during the busy hours. I used to always be able to hear the music...but not anymore. The oldies is not being played in the back, and the volume of the music on the main floor is put to a low. So if there are a few customers talking you cannot hear the music at all. I am very saddened by this, since the ambiance is one of the sole reasons for coming back. I have not said anything as of yet, but I plan to request the music be turned up just a little. Music is my entire mission here! Hopefully I can convince them to have it so we can hear it.

I asked the name of the regional manager so I could talk to him about my idea, and my assistant manager got a little nervous. He asked why and if I wanted to try to fire him! I said no, not at all! The assistant manager said that the man who is over the district manager he has met only once, and he seems like a really nice guy.

Score, an open minded thinker. That's exactly the man I need.

I told him his job is not on the line. Rather, I have an idea that will:

1- boost the number of customers at an off peak hour each weekday,
2- bring smiles, good feelings, and returning faithful customers, and
3- best of all, it's completely free.

I think there were some ooohhhh's and aaaahhh's after I said that, but I told him my idea is a secret, which it is. I want to get a feel for this company and get the hang of everything before I drop the bomb on them with my idea.

And by the way, if I lose my job in all this scheming and meticulous planning and maneuvering around the "one napkin per customer" rule, then so be it. It may be all about the money when it comes to my hiring manager and the district manager, but thankfully for me, this job was never really about the money. It's about serving the customers and making sure that the customers get the best experience while being at the most wonderful restaurant: Friendly's!

Oh's also about eventually presenting my grand master plan!


The Spontaneous Waitress

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Research On Tips

Tips are important for me because that is where I will be banking in on, and I don't want to fudge it! I did a little research and here are my findings:

1- bring a set of pens and some dollars/change to break

It's always a good idea to bring a few pens so if two tables have pens to write on their reciept, then I would have one to write down a new order at a table. Also bring some dollars, 2 fives, 10ones, and a couple dollars in change so I can break the bills when I receive them in cash.

2- consolidate your steps

This means that if two tables are requesting something (one some ketchup and the other needs a credit card swiped) when you go back to the kitchen, do them both while you are there. grab the ketchup and swipe the card and come back to both those tables.

3- make the customer happy

the majority of my wages come out of the tips that I receive, and so it is important to know that I need to make sure that the customer is receiving everything they need and at an efficient rate. Drinks refilled, food coming out on time, checking in on them to make sure the food is good, etc.

4- know your menu

knowing your menu shows that you are professional and passionate about the food you serve, and when a customer asks what is good, you can tell them based on their personal preferences in food.

5- apologize if you mess up

If you or even the cook messes up your order, the customer sees you and not the cook, be a mature sport about it, apologize politely and find a way to fix the problem. If it's really bad then you can ask the manager to go to the table and help you out. They can sometimes smooth things over better than you can.

Anyone have any good advice on what makes you tip high? I always like a good joke from a server, but not everyone likes that.

The Spontaneous Waitress

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Just Got Hired

Let's get one thing straight: I was not originally a waitress, I'm an artist!..And starving one at that. It's not that I'm not a good artist, it's that nobody wants to buy art when they are struggling themselves. My watercolors have not been selling at the galleries. My husband has his master's degree, and for some reason no matter how many interviews he goes to, every one of them has turned them down. Perhaps one day in a better economy, art will come back and I'll start selling again.

So what do I do? Something's gotta give, so I apply to a little Friendly's Restaurant. I'll have to go through some training, but I actually waitressed at the same restaurant back when I was going to college. It all should come back to me fairly easily.

On my way home from the restaurant I was reviewing all of my highlights of my waitressing experience while back in college, and there was one thing that stuck out to me the most. There was a time when a little girl was dancing in the aisle, and I danced with her. A week later I had received high reviews by the mother from the website. I love to dance in the restaurant because they play a fun fifties music. I would dance when I was cleaning off the tables, bop my head when I was serving food and...

then it hit me.

An idea!

It seemed so ridiculous, and yet the more I thought about it, this idea seems so perfect in this struggling economy to lift some spirits and bring smiles to the customer's faces.

And it would also bring in more customers, boosting profit during a normally slow hour.

It's perfect!

All I need to do now is survey the land when I finally start work, and see if my idea is even feasible. Then figure out a way to best present this idea to the manager as well as district manager for approval. We'll just have to wait and see!


The Spontaneous Waitress

Hooray for Friendly's! It's the coolest place to work!