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Every waiter and waitresses appreciates their customers' tips.
Every waiter and waitresses appreciates their customers' tips.
Zohre Bascoban
Zohre Bascoban
Opinion » Cash Handlers

Quick Q & A with waitress Zohre, East London

Zohre Bascoban, 25, is a part-time waitress and coffee 'barista' from Turkey and works at the Turkish restaurant Evin Café in Dalston, East London.

How would you describe your job in a nutshell?
I work behind the main coffee bar, preparing hot drinks for customers and for the other staff to take to their tables. I also waitress during busy periods. I am not full-time here though, and I waitress part-time at another Persian restaurant in Angel [North London]. Before this I worked at Costa Coffee.

What would you say are the best parts to waitressing?
Definitely the free food and drinks! The manager says that all staff here can have as much food or drink from the menu as we like. So long as we don't get drunk during work hours that is! I also like that a lot of the other staff here are from Turkey; I guess being a Turkish restaurant in one of the most Turkish districts of London draws in plenty of Turkish people looking for work.

And enlighten us on the low points, any horrible or stingy customers?
Waitressing isn't very teamwork-friendly and I work on the coffee bar alone a lot. Overly-fussy or impatient customers can ruin my day too. Also, because we are a Turkish restaurant when Turkish customers come in they feel like they are at home and boss us around - that's not very nice either!

Paying on credit can make us all do funny things - have you had any funny moments with cards and customers at your restaurant?
This has only happened a couple of times but sometimes a customer might not understand the chip and pin device that well and they have retyped their pin in as the gratuity. That is usually pretty funny but we always tell them their mistake!

Imagine we are living in the year 2050 and everyone paid on cards; what would this mean for your work as a waitress?
Ugh that would be really difficult! If some genius came up with a new machine then fine, but as it stands it would be hard. Lots of customers already have difficulties with the chip and pin machines as they vary from restaurant to restaurant and often tourists don't understand them at all. At least with cash it is like a universal language, everyone speaks it.

When you are meeting customers for the first time, are you secretly putting them into categories? Can you tell more about them from how they pay or tip?
Yes; they are either polite, rude, happy, or miserable. Some of them are just unhappy with everything and you can usually tell this as soon as they walk in - with others you can see in their faces if they are happy. These are the ones who will tip.

If you could give any pearls of wisdom for future customers what would they be?
Always be polite! Also if you are coming in a large group and wish to pay separately then please bring cash. So many times customers are wanting to pay separately and all on cards - it takes so much time and is even more annoying when we have a line of angry customers waiting to be seated.

If you could choose to work with cash or credit which would you choose? Why?
Cash, definitely. The machines are so slow, especially when it's busy. Sometimes when it is really busy I don't even bother adding the gratuity because it can be even more time-consuming and also a bit awkward having to ask customers if they want to add a tip or not. With cash they can just leave it if they want to and there is no pressure.

Friday, 7th January 2011

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