Do you have a box in your dish room?

Five tricks to make your sidework easier. 

I haven’t written one of these posts in a while.  The first and second versions of this recurring feature were very popular.  In defeating the case of writer’s block I seem to have shaken today, I decided to write another set of these tricks to make your jobs as servers easier when doing your sidework.  These are the common sense moves that I have learned after doing sidework the hard way for far too long.  They are intended to make your sidework less stressful and your time more productive.

Cleaning Coffee Cups:  If you use white coffee cups, you know how stained they can get.  This is bad enough when using them to serve coffee, but completely unacceptable when you are using them for hot teas.  Fortunately, there is a cleaner designed specifically to get coffee stains off of ceramic: denture cleaner.  Put all of your coffee cups in a large sink at the end of the night, fill with water, and drop in a handful of denture cleaner tablets.  After you wash them in the morning your coffee cups will be as good as new.

Washing Sugar Caddies:  Most restaurants empty their sugar caddies for washing as weekly or monthly sidework.   The next day someone’s sidework is refilling all these caddies.  The simplest way to make this sidework easier on that person is to fill the caddies the night before.  Wrap the packets you take out of the caddies in a rubber band.  This means that in the morning all the person responsible for filling them only needs to unband the packets and put them in the caddies.

Filling Salt and Pepper Shakers:  I have seen countless systems for filling empty salt and pepper shakers that have just been washed as weekly sidework.  The most effective method is not to do them one at a time.  Line them all up neatly on a clean plate.  Grab a large cup and pour into the shakers in order.  Because you have the plate underneath, you do not have to worry about wasting salt or pepper.  Once all of the shakers on the plate are filled, take them off the plate to put lids on them.  Anything that has fallen onto the plate can be returned to the container it came from to refill the next set of shakers.

Cherries in Kid’s Drinks:  This one isn’t sidework, but it is pretty cool.  Are you tired of kids making a sticky mess out of your tables trying to get the cherry out of their Shirley Temple?  Here is the way to fix it that even works with lids.  Rather than putting the cherry in the cup, put it in the straw.  Stick the stem in first and have the cherry at the end of the straw.  The kids can get their cherries without removing the lid or sticking their hands in the soda.

Bisseling:  If I was given three wishes on any given night at work, I would be tempted to use one on a Bissel that works well.  This is a universally annoying sidework.  Whatever you call your sweepers, and whatever brand you use, none of them seem to work as well as you would like.  Here are a couple tips.  First, always empty the Bissel before you use it.  This will increase the amount it picks up and prevent you from dumping more debris on the floor if you bang it into something.  Second, the key is to use long strokes.  The amount of downward force you use will not increase the amount it picks up, but it will bend the handle.  This will make your sidework go much smoother. 

There are five more tips for everyone.  There are many more left to be shared.  If you have a sidework tip you would like to contribute, leave a comment.  Your tip might just be included in the next round.  Do you have a sidework or task that you think is unnecessarily difficult?  Share with the group and see if someone doesn’t already have a better system they are waiting to tell you.

Share your sidework tips in the comment section.

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