Waiting staff are one of the best things about restaurants

They’re one of the most important elements of the eating-out experience

The hospitality staffing crisis seems to be worsening.

Restaurants are reducing hours to cope with fewer staff members, and job adverts remain unanswered.

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Alongside their VAT rates creeping back up, less of our favourite venues are able to operate at the usual run-up-to-Christmas tilt, thanks in part to a perfect post Brexit and Covid storm.

One chef and restaurateur told me that everyone is off to work for Amazon.

Another said that if he opened a restaurant now, he’d have to do everything himself.

Anyway, this got me thinking about how much I love waiting staff - one of those positions that is proving increasingly hard to fill.

My restaurant reviews always rate the food and the ambience, but I think there should be a separate score for the server.

Gaby Soutar

Recently, there was the youngster with a Germanic accent and blue hair, who explained the menu concept at the new Johnnie Walker 1820 Rooftop Bar.

“Don’t worry, there isn’t whisky in everything,” they said, making a supernaturally accurate assessment of our interest in the amber nectar.

Then there was the young woman, with a multi-coloured manicure, who enthusiastically talked me through her digit design, at Edinburgh restaurant, The Palmerston. She made me feel like I was her peer, and I shed 20 years, just like that.

This Saturday’s review in The Scotsman Magazine is Radge Chaat.

On our visit, there was some great banter from chef, Lucky Singh, who co-owns this street food business with his brother, celebrity chef, Tony, and has a customer-facing role. Waiting for my food was like going to a micro stand-up show. It was an endorphin hit.

Sometimes I think I might enjoy interacting with strangers in restaurants more than I do with friends and family. It’s a beautifully uncomplicated relationship.

Despite this, my own experience in hospitality is minimal.

I was stymied after one endless night as a silver service waitress, which yielded a tiny pay packet and some budding varicose veins, and a spell behind the bar at Edinburgh’s seediest nightclub. I lined up shots like I was in a Western saloon.

Overall, I would rate myself a three out of ten, so huge respect to those who have actual skills.

You’re more important than you know.

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