You walk in and immediately clock in. This is how you get paid. You make small talk with the servers and return to the front with your fellow hostesses. It’s not quite 5:30, so you have time to talk before guests arrive.
You and the other girls talk about the recent boys in your lives and gossip about co-workers. It’s finally confirmed that one of the servers is dating a manager. You ask the bar to make you a coffee drink before the night begins because it’s a Saturday and there are well over 300 people in the books.
A manager comes up and tells you that the wrong wine list is in the menu. So now, in less than 30 minutes, you get to redo all the menus. You and Mallory make copies and grab the glue sticks. The managers leave the front for a while, but only long enough to do line up with the servers. You quickly check your phone and put it back in the drawer next to the other phones. You will check it more times than you can count tonight. A server come up and sees both you and Mallory texting. “Do y’all ever actually do any work? It’s either the phone, or Facebook,” referring to your frequent use of the laptops that are used for reservations.
It’s 5:30, and the Burgesses come in for their reservation, as they do every Saturday at this time. You take two menus, a special menu, and a reserve wine list before showing them to their table. They are greeted by several servers on the way. Everyone knows them because they are regulars. There are many regulars and a lot of them come in weekly. So far, everything is running smoothly. People are showing up on time, and no one is on a wait. But you know it’s bound to happen soon, because the restaurant is full. You come back from seating a table, and are reminded to check your phone for messages or missed calls when you see Caitlin doing the same. Kevin, one of the managers who hits on all the hostesses, comes up front. He sees you on your phone and confiscates it, like you are in a high school classroom. You follow him as he walks off and demand he give it back. No more than 15 minutes pass before you open the drawer to check your phone again. Another manager sees you doing this, but he doesn’t care. He just laughs as he walks by. You know which managers let you get away with things, and which ones don’t.
It is getting close to 8:30, and there are still 7:30’s waiting to be seated. Now, you are on a wait. Ashley prints out descriptions for the people waiting and tells you to get a manager to talk to them. Some are growing impatient and irritable. You survey the restaurant to see if any tables got up or will be soon. Two tables get up simultaneously, so you quickly get them reset before returning to the hostess stand. Ashley gives you a table to sit and as you are walking the guests to the table, you realize it’s Carl’s table. You and Carl would flirt every time you sat his section, until, on his off night, he came in to eat with his unmentioned wife and newborn.
Things get a little crazy with everyone on a wait. You are doing nothing but rushing around trying to get tables reset, trying to get tables seated, and trying not to get run over by the servers who are rushing around just as much as you. You hear a loud clank, and the entire restaurant is silent. A manager rushes back to see what has happened. When things finally slow down, you and your fellow hostesses get back to updating each other on your lives. You stop doing the silly girl gossip when Ashley asks how your sister is, because honestly, she isn’t doing well. You find out that Caitlin’s brother also attempted suicide and was in a program at the same hospital as your sister. You listen to Ashley talk about her day job and her patients at the rehab center. Mallory tells you that the guy she just stopped dating left a dead animal on her windshield. Jamie announces that she’s quitting because her mom’s cancer is getting worse and she needs to take care of her. A manager walks up and everyone stops talking. “Oh, I’m sorry, did I interrupt your little gossip?”