Sunday, November 8, 2009

Waiting Nightmare/ Sever Dreams

Restaurant Nightmares & Dreams

Table Waiting Nightmare

I've now been in the restaurant business long enough to know that most servers get "the dream/ nightmare." Many coworkers have recounted their stressful slumber's night terrors to me. What is "the dream" you ask?

The dream usually starts off with you (the server), working a normal shift. Things either begin relatively smoothly or slightly hectic, and eventually snowball into a deep, dark hole of unmanageable waiting hell. Tables you can't get to, late food, angry customers, long drink times, crying babies, the host double, triple, quadruple seating. Basically, everything that can go wrong, that would stress a server out, does. That type of thing.

I recently had one of the hosts tell me that they had the dream... which kind of shocked me. It has been my experience that only new and veteran servers have this dream. I guess this is not the case.

Before posting this, simply out of curiosity, I looked up this phenom and found that there is a lot about it. One man's site (Joseph Campbell of Scholars and Rogues), noted that he had not waited tables for about 20 years, yet he still had these dreams. While reading his, I realized that he had had multiple instances where he had these dreams, over long periods of time. This fact is a little surprising to me, as mine stopped shortly after my training.

Do you all get these dreams?


  1. All the damn time. I sometimes feel like I've never left work, when I close, dream of work, and go in the next day. I still have dreams about the restaurant I worked at five years ago, too.

    Strangely, I don't have dreams like that about my old retail jobs.

  2. I get those dreams a lot, and I wake up in a panic. I hate them.

    I hosted before I learned how to serve, and I used to have similar dreams - I couldn't leave until everyone was sat but the line never ended, I sat someone and I couldn't find them to tell them they had a table - which wasn't my job anyway but I felt like it was my responsibility.

  3. I was never a server, but I was a front desk clerk at a hotel for years and I still get nightmares about angry guests, de-magnetized keys, and, worst of all, double-booked rooms. I swear, they are worse than even the "someone's trying to kill me" dreams. It's amazing how long the stress of those situations stay with you.

  4. @ Purplegirl-

    It sucks when you close, have the dreams, then open. You might as well have worked a 20 shift!

  5. I have had those dreams dozens of times over the last twenty years. The tables just keep coming and you go deeper in the weeds.

  6. I get these dreams often and they are horrible! I haven't waited tables in 12 years and I wake up in a total panic if I can get myself to even wake up. It seems to go on for hours and it is exactly as described above. Can't possibly get to all of my tables, everyone is pissed and then you loose the piece of paper you wrote the order on, the kitchen can get nothing right, etc! It is truly terrible but I'm glad I'm not the only one.

  7. I had the dream again last night, haven't waited tables in 15 years. Sometimes I am going back to an old job, last night a brand new place, tables all over, can't read my orders to hand to the chef, tables all screwed up, don't know the numbers, have coffee, but mugs are nowhere to be found... I am in the kitchen so stressed and yet I can't yell, talk or verbalize what's going on, I feel like everyone thinks I'm so stupid, I want to run out and leave all the tables, but I don't, and I just wait in the kitchen in fear... thankfully I wake up. Outside of dreams where I am being killed, no dream is every as REAL and STRESSFUL as this one... I will never wait tables ever again!