Puss och kram!

Last week I went to a big attraction parc with two women and a little lovely girl of four years from Finland. However, their mother tongue was Swedish. The girl could only speak Swedish so we had to communicate with hands, but the language barriere was very high so that made her shy. That made me so frustrated that my very very vague intention to learn Swedish has changed in a big desire to learn the basics to be able to communicate with her, collegues and guests. Remember: the easiest way (ahum…) to make rapport with somebody is to speak (a bit) of the others mother tongue!

For that I bought the  iPhone app Go Swedish. (I already had the free love-version) Here you learn the language with a girl with a very sweet voice. She has also put a lot of words on her videos at her Youtube-channel and of course she can be found at Twitter.

Thanks to this nameless Swedish(?) girl I didn’t need a lot of time to learn to count till ten! yay! Jag kan räkna till tio in Svenska nu!

BTW Another great basic tutorial can be found here. But without the cute voice of my Swedish friend! 🙂 (But I always like to use different methods at one time to learn a language)

Stand By Me

Another classic in the collective memory, Stand By Me originally performed by Ben E. King. Great song to hum or sing. This version is very special because it has been sung and played by people all over the world!

Playing for Change is a multimedia music project that seeks to bring together musicians from around the world. Playing For Change also created a separate non-profit organization called the Playing For Change Foundation which builds music schools for children around the world. (*)

http://playingforchange.com – From the award-winning documentary, “Playing For Change: Peace Through Music”.

Order the CD/DVD Playing For Change “Songs Around The World” now at amazon.com!

Dream, design, deliver..

We want to be the best and to give the best to our clients. A way to do it is to use service design. You can talk and write a lot about it (the Wikipedia page will only be the beginning) but in fact it is very simple. You can also do it for your own job and tasks

  • Dream What do I want to give the client? Why? What are best practices possible, what do the guests really want. Use testimonials, films everything what is possible to take the maximum for the guest during the touchpoints or moments of interaction
  • Design How I’m going to do that? What do I need for it? Use brainstormsessions with guests, external consultants and ofcourse collegues and employees. Don’t do it linear but when you’re finished, go back to the start and think “how can i do it even better”
  • Deliver Do it! Minimize the gap between how it is and how it has to be. Because you did the process with your guests and employees they will be better involved and the new situation will be implemented more easily

I know that I might oversimplify it, but it’s a nice way to brainstorm about the things you’re doing!

(Via Molblog (dutch))

Clear Ear

I’m working in a restaurant with a lot of kids and without any materials to damp the noise. That drove me literal crazy, sometimes I had to go backstage to calm down a bit because the noise worked on my nerves. There are a lot of variations of the CrazyWaiter and this is not the one the guests are waiting for. That’s why I decided to use earplugs. First I used other ones, but then I discovered the Clear EAR 20. It’s made by 3M, the big company which also makes the post-it-papers.

They filter very well while keeping the voice range almost intact (the more the noise, the better I understand the guests), they are very discrete (A friend asked me afterwards whether I had them really in my ears or not, while he knows that I use them) and very cheap (around 3 dollar/euro). I use them around 150 hours, then I change them because they become a bit unclear. Like every plug I recommend them to use them from the start, even if there’s not a lot of noise so your brain is adapting itself.

You can find them in several webshops, but if you’re Dutch Conrad has a good deal!

(Post not endorsed by 3M, Clear or Conrad). PS If somebody from 3M reads this: your site is freaking me out, luckily the earplugs are better than the usibility of your site where I can’t find the product (anymore) on the site

Je m`excuse

I’m appologizing to…

  • The guest who ordered a jug of tapwater and got hot water. 50% chance with a single handle mixer and not checking (busy busy busy). Yes that was very very stupid of me. (no irony intended)
  • The guest who complained to my manager that he saw me twice when ordering and bringing their drinks. They walked away without paying, but luckily for me, we tracked them.
  • The baby who I spilled a single drop of hot teawater. The crying was hurting, luckily it was more of shock and tiredness than from pain
  • (a bit) The lady who got pissed of because I didn’t empty the table enough -according to her- when the birthdaycake arrived. I still hear her in my mind “It just isn’t right“. Although the table was well emptied IMHO,  I blew off the candles, and stripped the table completely (even the sets and napkins) and started the ceremony again. I really had to do a big effort not to smile or laugh when she asked with a little voice her napkins and half-full glasses back.
  • (not really) The man who ordered a 60 euro bottle, but claimed afterwards he ordered a bottle of 26 euro “I’m also working in the hotelbusiness and you’ve got a lot to learn“, he told me afterwards. Yes I do, in any case making the guest speak out loud which bottle he wants if there’s any chance of a doubt. But I tracked down his hotel (I think) and when I see the reviews on the internet I think my guests don’t have a lot to complain…. compared to his.. (no no, however it’s very tempting, no link, I want to keep my job)

And in all openess I think these were all the unsatisfied guests I had in 5 years time. Not too bad for a CrazyWaiter…

Etray Ergo

This week I saw in the public library of Arnhem (NL) a new serving tray to serve drinks, the Etray Ergo. It’s like a normalserving tray, with a anti-slip layer and the possibility to print publicity but… they cut out some space to make it easier to serve the drinks. It should be easier to move your wrist, and thus saving 37,5% of the force in that part of your body. To read more about this, see the original patentdescription. The idea is very good, but I didn’t test it myself, but I’ll try to test it in the near future!

EDIT: I’ve tested it and Ididn’t like it that much as I expected. It’s like running shoes: whether you have flexibility whether you have stability. Basic geometry says that a plane is made of three points and when carrying a tray it consists of your thumb, ringfinger and underarm. When using the etray ergo you there’s no third point anymore or it’s at the wrist or middlefinger (lowering the distance and so increasing the forces on your hand, I think it has to do someting with the moment). You’re loosing the stability and I didn’t get used to it at all.

(post not endorsed by Etray)

Dine well, dine right

There are a lot of rules, manuals and procedures for us waiters, but Mr. Wolfe has made a checklist Dine well, dine right for our dear guests. Print and hand out 🙂

1. Call ahead

  • Go ahead and book a table now for New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, a birthday, anniversary or other special occasion.  These dates tend to be pretty static year-in and year-out.
  • If it is a celebration, inform the person taking the reservation of the particulars; name of the birthday guest, an anniversary, etc.
  • This would be a good time to request a special table, particular waiter or alert the Chef to any food allergies.

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Somewhere over the Rainbow – Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwoʻole

This song was played as an openingsdance on a wedding where I served long time ago. It was a wedding of a son of a banker with an atmosfere which made me think of the one in the film Festen. It’s a very sweet song and I was directly flabergasted when I heard it for the first time.

I don’t know why it’s a hit now in iTunes France after seven years (I think it “flew over” from Germany and Austria), but it’s a good reason to post here, because it’s a great melody to hum or sing for your (little) guests full of hope.

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As waiter with guests from all over Europe, I like to know the tophits in the country from where my clients come from. It gives something to talk about and the faces of the people are amazing if you sing a local hit.

Internet is a big tool for that, but I thought it could be easier. That’s why I spent a part of last night to build a new little tool to see the hits in the international  iTunes charts


Of course it has to be expanded, e.g. with links to Youtube and Wikipedia. That needs some extra work and challenges (it’s confronting to see tutorials from ten years ago when looking for help about XML and ASP, I’m a bit behind. Let’s say that I developed myself otherwise ;))

Duck Sauce – Barbra Streisand

Duck Sauce is a collaboration between DJs Armand Van Helden and A-Trak. The song is named after the singer of the same name, and samples “Gotta Go Home” by German disco group Boney M., which in turn samples “Hallo Bimmelbahn” performed by German band Nighttrain (*)

And why Barbara Streisand? DJ A-Trak has given the anwer : “There is no link between our piece and the singer. We just thought it would make laugh the people” (*).

Playing with accents

Today I was seater. I take the guest to the table and explain the buffet:”et voila, l’entrée, l’entrée, plat chaud, dessert“. She:”attendez monsieur je vais le traduire pour les autres… l’entrée l’entréé plat chaud dessert“. WTF!!!

Being a polyglot isn’t easy, you have to fight against your accent because they don’t understand you. French is a very sensitive language in this matter and the Frenchies in general aren’t the most patient people (in contrary to Italians for example). But even in my motherlanguage I have a kind of accent (“You speak it perfectly, but where do you come from”) so maybe it’s me. 🙂

But as CrazyWaiter you can also play and improvse with it to amuse your guests. Amy Walker is doing 21 accents. After the jump she explains how to do it.

(via spanish-podcast.com)

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Flashmob with Alors on dance!

Nothing to do next saturday 13th november 2010 and in the neighbourhood of (Disneyland) Paris? Join the flashmob with Stromea‘s Alors on dance, one of the European summerhits of 2010. To join, fill out the form here.  And no, the CrazyWaiter has to work so he won’t be seen 🙂 The result is after the jump

Those who don’t join can look at the video and take inspiration of the danceroutine. BTW: The artist has a lot of video’s how he built up his music, very interesting for those who dream of a career as DJ or dancemusician.

It’s for ELA, the European Leukodystrophy Association. The word Leukodystrophy refers to a group of disorders characterized by progressive degeneration of the white matter of the brain

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