gail gastelu, high societea house, wayne, nj, a day in my shoes, tea room hostess, tea room server
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February 2013 Posts

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A Day in My Shoes
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Episode 1, Part 4 - A Day in My Shoes

Monday, February 25th 2013 @ 12:00 AM

A Day in My Shoes – Day One – Serving with Sylvia – January 19, 2013 - EPISODE 1, PART 4


Welcome to A Day in My Shoes – a blog and sometimes vlog as The Tea House Times publisher, Gail Gastelu, puts herself in another person’s shoes for the day – going behind the scenes in the tea industry!  If you are just joining us, go to the Archived entries in the left column to catch up - beginning with January 2013.  OR Click HERE for a complete listing/directory of entries and topics.

 

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EPISODE 1, PART 4

 

Wrapping up the bridal shower tea party, I will say it was quite an experience.  I had arrived at 10 am to help prepare for the party which took place from 11-2 quickly followed by another party which took place from 3-6.  You should have seen the mad dash to clean all of that china and turn around the entire room and place settings in an hour!

 

We will talk dishwashing and care of china and silverware during another adventure, but for now, let’s wrap up the party.

 

I think the only complaint if you could call it that, was that the climate control needed to be adjusted at one point during the party. This, I would guess, is a normal day to day request – does anything ever suit every single person perfectly?

 

Now you must imagine for a second how much time and preparation went into making this bridal shower tea party a success…From days of planning with the customer, to shopping and food preparation well before the event takes place, to managing staff, preparing place settings, properly preparing and serving tea, to putting on a happy face along with great customer service?  Not to mention, normal day to day, paying the bills, working on payroll, ordering or shopping for food and gifts for the shop….The cost for afternoon tea service seems so minimal compared to the time and effort and care that goes into making it so special.

 

I would also like to comment on how hard it was for me to be on the other side of the table. I desperately wanted to sit down and join each guest for tea.  I found myself wanting to butt into their conversations.  One woman was actually very lovely and did converse with me quite a bit.  She could not help herself either! She kept saying she was enjoying everything, the teas were wonderful, could not get enough, wanted more and more (like I would have been in her shoes), and every time I came around, she told me of another country where she had experienced tea, etc. It was lovely to chat with her in spurts!  I reaaaallly wanted to sit down with her…..

 

Have you ever listened IN to the conversations taking place in a tea room?  I have actually done this before (as a guest). I will sit and enjoy my tea, but try to listen to what other people are talking about. Purely for research, I promise I am not eavesdropping.  You can very quickly figure out why someone has come for tea. Who they are. What they enjoy, etc.  Jolly good fun.  On the other hand, when I was serving each table, I really got an earful of every type of conversation from the enjoyment of the experience to plans for the bride to other people discussing their health issues.  Whoooo…

 

Remember how I told you there can be so many distractions as guests keep stopping to ask you to bring them something more?  Well there were other distractions as well. The shop door was unlocked even tho they were closed for a private party, so there were plenty of people in and out looking to purchase scones or tea or other things from the gift shop. Thankfully, Bernadette had it all covered!

 

I am very happy to tell you that at the end of the party as the guests were leaving, a few ladies came to me to say they had a wonderful time, praised the entire crew, and asked if I was the owner!!  HAAaaa…this will go down in  history.  At first I thought, oooo, I must have done a decent job that they thought I could be the owner.  Then, reality set in and I remembered that I was the old gal.  Serving alongside a lovely group of beautiful young women – I must have stood out like a sore thumb – that must be why they really asked if I was the owner!  Haaa.

 

In closing on this little escapade, I feel this experience has been a combination of Undercover Boss and Restaurant Impossible.  I think it can be very useful for a tea room owner to place themselves into their employee’s shoes for the day. You learn very quickly what is working and what is not and why. 

 

I personally will never complain again when my son asks me for just ONE more cup of tea.  I think I can handle serving him 2-3 cups of tea per day!

 


Gail (l), Bernadette Solari, owner (r)

Thanks to the entire staff at High SocieTea – you are all PROS! – and I had an amazing time at the party.

Coming up next – Restaurant Depot and NY International Gift Fair with High SocieTea owner, Bernadette Solari.

Coming Soon after – reporting on three dates I served the public at High SocieTea

After that – we are mixing it up with some great tea execs! and will move on to other types of tea businesses.

Stay tuned!

 

If you would like to visit High SocieTea House yourself,
Call High SocieTea-reservations required: 973-696-8327
Location: 20 Old Newark Pompton Turnpike, Wayne, NJ 07470 (highsocieteanj.com)

 

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