Morgane Muszynski: A new kind of service

Morgane Muszynski has been in the business for over 10 years; she is a server by profession and proud of it. Here, we talk to an accomplished, sensitive, and enthusiastic waitress about what it’s like to be a server in 2015.

First, how did Morgane Muszynski develop an interest in serving? Morgane is from Normandy, and her taste for the restaurant world began when, at 14, she worked in oyster farming. At 16, in Normandy, she started working in a bar where her boss identified a particular talent with the customers. She left school and moved to Rennes: “I was supposed to be serving in wine bars, but I partied more than anything else. My parents ended up shipping me off to Montreal because I was doing too many stupid things!” Morgane arrived in Montreal, enrolled in economics at the University of Montreal. “I stayed there for 3 weeks (laughs), but in order to stay in Canada, I absolutely had to go to school, so I thought about the restaurant industry. The ITHQ didn’t accept mid-term students, but Lasalle College did, so I did a DEC in restaurant management.”

Her journey in service in Montreal — She went to Barroco restaurant, worked the opening of Dominion Square Tavern where she stayed for two years – “I loved helping build the clientele and working with all those tradespeople” – then went to Joe Beef – “every time I passed the restaurant I told myself that one day I would work there, and one day my dream came true. There, I learned rigour and intensity; I loved my experience! Joe Beef is like a family. The place exudes passion, a little bit of craziness, and above all the joy of serving customers” – and she is now the lunchtime queen of service at Les Fillettes, where she works days to combine work and family. She does the wine list at Dominion Square Tavern, Henrietta Bar, and the Balsam Inn, and looks after her baby, whom she had with chef Eric Dupuis.

Characteristics of good service — Morgane explains that she believes that being a waiter is a demanding job; “it’s a lot of fun, but it’s also a lot of organization and you can’t be half there; even if you had a party the night before, you have to be on top of your game or else your entire service will suffer and you’ll hurt the whole team. Too many people do service because it looks easy. But it’s not. You have to be passionate about it and really want to provide good service, otherwise it shows.”

She says efficiency, communication, passion, and organizational skills are essential to providing good service. We would add sensitivity. “You have to know how to adapt to the customer, understand your table from the “hello”; sometimes it’s for a business lunch, sometimes it’s just to make conversation. As a server you have to know how to step in, and if you can give your tables what your customers wanted, they are happy. I’m happy to think that I’m making people happy,” service is, after all, still a business of hospitality.

A team job — “Being a server in 2015 is first and foremost being part of a team, of a whole, because I would be nothing without my colleagues and their work. My ability to serve does not only rest on my shoulders but on the shoulders of the cooks, clerks, servers, bartenders, hostesses, and dishwashers. It is important to mention that a waiter who only thinks about himself is not a good waiter in my opinion. It’s a job of sharing and exchange.”

A changing profession — “Before, servers were almost servants; there was a maître d’hôtel, a sommelier, a chef de rang, and then finally servers. Nowadays, it’s completely different, it’s an amalgam: a waiter is now a psychologist, a sommelier, an economist, an actor… You have to have wine skills, acquire information about what’s going on in the world to be able to discuss it with your customers, know the menu inside and out, etc. That’s what makes for a great evening for the customers.”

Morgane says that in our society’s older generations, it’s harder to recognize service as a profession, but that’s changing according to her, “service is a key part of a restaurant’s success now.” We couldn’t agree more, and we hope for a greater recognition and appreciation of the restaurant service community.

Thank you for the contagious energy, Morgane, and we wish you all the best!

From the magazine