Wednesday, March 01, 2006 by Ospite.

While acting as the Two Bobs, Rob (Gen Manager) and I have brought on board another front end employee. A twenty-something male, Tony. New to the business, he's taking cues from two girls up front as well as myself. From customer service to assorted trattoria duties, we're training him from the ground up. While noble and polite, he has a supercilious air at times. We enjoy having him on the team.

Last weekend I abstained from my normal hours and took 2.5 days off. During those shifts, Tony had the opportunity to work strictly with Angela and Becca. These are the jackals of the front end. I adore them both, but they can tear even the strongest man to shreads if his skin isn't thick enough. Tony is still working on his callouses, so I requested the girls soften their blows, though only if lightly. I stopped in late the other night to reorganize a station and peruse our newest menu items. Angela was working.

"So, how'd he do this weekend?"

"My god, man! He IDOLIZES you!"

"What? How do you mean?"

"You know how you do silly accents and speak in Italian and stuff? Well, he's trying to do all that. And you have conversations with the patrons, polite, keep them interested. He does that too, but they're stupid conversations about nothing and those dining simply seem annoyed."

"Really? It can't be all that bad."

For the past two days I have been working with Tony and assessing the situation. We decided several experiments were in order to see if he might be coming up with his own material or if he was sampling mine. New Italian words...he took and used. The Irish and British accents I use to piss off our bartender from time to time, he sampled those too. Everything down to little tunes I get stuck in my head and then hum to produce sanity again. There was one final test. From time to time, one of our bussers and I do a little 'bit' involving the patented highly-effeminate lisp and dramatic hand motions. We waited until Tony was nearby and launched into our tiny one-act.

As sure as the toasted ant found in someone's Sicilian pizza last night, Tony picked up the voice and the hands. For two shifts now, he has randomly inserted this behavior into conversations. Our next mission: decide whether we should say something, or toy with him a bit...


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At your service, Ospite

I am not in the restaurant business, I am in the people business. I use every opportunity to people watch, because to me, even the most mundane is fascinating.

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