Waited Tables At SereniTea House

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Before I got out of college, I held a few jobs in retail (thrift stores in the Mission, Pier 39 tourist trap, the Apple Store), but one thing that I always avoided was food service.  It’s not that the idea of waiting tables was beneath me, I just never wanted to be responsible for someone else’s meals.  I always felt like it would be way too difficult of a job for me to do.

Today, I had an opportunity to try my hand at waiting tables, and I took it. 
SereniTea House is a new tea house in Millbrae (opened in October).  I know the owners, and they were very awesome to let me help them.  They had four reservations that day - one of them was for a party of 12.

I went there before they opened and helped set up tables and place settings.
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It got busy very quickly as a party of four came.  S, one of the owners and the main server at the tea house, told the parties that came in that I was “their intern for the day” and explained what the project was all about.  I’m not sure, but I think this gave me some extra slack while helping out with their service.
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Once a customer placed an order, I was put in charge of their tea.  I would brew various amounts of their twenty five organic teas, set up a timer for steeping, and bring the tea out to the customers.  This sounds easy, but in my opinion, it wasn’t, especially when there were a lot of people in at one time.  At one point, there were 23 customers in the tea house - all of the tables were occupied, and the place was packed.  This is a lot of tea to manage, and while they normally have a bunch of boiling water ready, it runs out pretty quickly when there are that many people in.

When food was ready, I’d bring it out to the dining area for the customers.
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I want to say everything went smoothly, but of course, it didn’t.  When I grabbed a tea pot from one of the tables for refill, the lid fell to the ground and broke.  This was one of those clumsy mistakes that happen once in a while.  I felt bad about it because now they have a tea pot without a lid to go with it.

Overall, I had a good experience.  It was definitely not dull.  I felt like I was busy and moving almost the whole time.  The customers seemed appreciative of the help I gave them, and they all seemed to enjoy what the tea house had to offer.

I also got to wear a spiffy apron and a kick ass t-shirt (both designed by J).
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Thank you so much to the owners of the tea house, J and S, for letting me crash your business for my project.



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