It seems almost surreal. With less than two weeks until Santa comes, its Tuesday night and we are sitting with two covers. One table of two. The hotel is full tonight, 80 rooms sold, 81 covers in house!! One double occupancy. Its all a big pharma company, here for some conference or other, but tonight they are at leisure. So maybe we will pick up, or maybe tonight will be the shift from hell and we wont. There is nothing worse that a quiet night. You would think that the customers get the most amazing service when there is only one table. You would generally be wrong.
Try as hard as we might, it wont happen. We get bored, they get quiet and usually weve exhausted all conversation topics within five minutes, leaving long tense pauses, where the clock ticks slowly, and time seems to drag. When Einstein was postulating his general theory of relativity, he should have studied the time dilation effects of an empty restaurant. As the staff anxiously wait for the 9:30 last orders to pass by, time slows down so that seconds seem to last minutes. Its hell.
On the other hand, when the restaurant is full and you are all going full tilt, everyone usually gets great service because we are all focused. We have purpose, we have drive and we know that there is more to come. Before we know what has happened, the last table is asking for the bill and its quarter past midnight. Time flies by.
Update: we picked up three more covers, to complete one of the most mindnumbingly boring nights of the year.