Hand signals help restaurant servers communicate
There is considerably less here than meets the eyes. For starters, there is no universally agreed-upon “restaurant sign language.” Some restaurants may cobble together a limited number of gestures to suit certain actions, but I never worked in such a place.
What non-restaurant workers don’t understand is that any decent server, floor manager, maitre d’, seating host or hostess or other such professional can tell at a glance what is going on. When you are juggling a station of 16-20 seats in a white tablecloth joint, wasted motion – and wasted time – is non-existent. Pausing to get somebody’s attention in order to flash them some arcane sign sounds pretty silly to me.
No, you’re not going to yell stuff back and forth, but you will cross paths with everybody on the floor at least once in any given five minute period – at a bus station, at the pantry, the bar, the line in the kitchen, wherever – and anything that needs to be said can be said.
“Joey, water on 24,” muttered at a passing busboy as you load your serving tray on the line works quite well, just as “Your party on 12 left me a fifty last week” to the tron in front of you as you’re waiting for the bartender to fill your drink order will ensure that said party receives stellar service – while merely identifing him as a VIP doesn’t necessarily have the same effect.
The reason I dislike supposedly “insider” stories like this is that they are usually bullshit, but they leave the reader with the notion that they understand what is going on – when they really don’t have a clue.