Everyone likes going out to eat, but often we forget how many people are involved in getting a dish to our table. In this new series, WSN will be profiling NYU students who work in different jobs throughout the restaurant industry.
When you walk into one of the bustling Grey Dog cafes, CAS sophomore Lauren Barker is likely the first person you will see. She works part-time as a hostess at three of the restaurant’s locations around Manhattan and is pursuing a degree in history. Barker explained that hostesses at The Grey Dog have a slightly different job than those at most restaurants.
“[Hostesses] are kind of the tour guides for Grey Dog because it’s sort of an odd system that isn’t normally used,” Barker said.
Barker greets customers when they come in and tells them she will reserve a table for the party with a colored bandana. The customers order and pay at the restaurant’s main counter before finding their assigned table. Barker said she sometimes has to point customers in the right direction.
In addition to her primary duties at the front of the house, Barker takes on other responsibilities, such as returning condiments to the hutch in the back of the restaurant.
“I also like to help out the bussers whenever I can,” Barker said.
This is far from Barker’s first experience in the food industry — her past job titles include dishwasher and ice cream girl. Barker said the community at The Grey Dog makes her current job stand out, however.
“I meet someone new every shift because there are so many of us and four different locations … and they are always so nice,” Barker said.
The Grey Dog can get busy during peak hours, and on a weekend shift that means Barker is on her feet dealing with customers non-stop for up to seven hours. Barker said the worst part of her job is the food stains she ends up with on her clothes.
“It’s one of those things you don’t think about until you go to put a ketchup bottle back on the shelf and lean up against it,” she said.
Though there are challenges, Barker said all of the small annoyances are balanced out by The Grey Dog’s great work environment.
“Grey Dog has this atmosphere to it,” she said. “The atmosphere of a restaurant drastically affects the hostess’ feelings toward the shift.”
Barker reccommends a number of dishes at The Grey Dog.
“We have great salads if you’re into that, which I’m totally not,” she said. “And great comfort food like PB&Js and mac ‘n’ cheese.”
She also singles out the Philadelphia cheese steak because of its substantial filling.
“It’s a wrap, so there’s less bread and more meat,” Barker said.
Next time you are at The Grey Dog and cannot remember which color bandana that you should look for, Barker is more than willing to help.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, Oct. 21st print edition. Email Kendall Levison at [email protected]