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Sequential Organization: of a Quick & Affective Food-Order

Sequential Organization: of a Quick & Affective Food-Order

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Published by wendyy
How does a restaurant waitress of a long-established local burger joint retain customers with the sequence in which she takes their food orders?

This paper is made possible with help from the my inspirational professor and linguistic anthropologist Marjorie (Candy) Goodwin.
How does a restaurant waitress of a long-established local burger joint retain customers with the sequence in which she takes their food orders?

This paper is made possible with help from the my inspirational professor and linguistic anthropologist Marjorie (Candy) Goodwin.

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Published by: wendyy on Oct 10, 2013
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07/17/2014

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SequentialOrganization:of a Quick &AffectiveFood-Order
2011
University of California, Los Angeles 
 Abstract.
The organization of embodied participationframeworks, established social hierarchy, and affect isinvestigated using as data the patterns of a local American
restaurant’s food
-ordering sequences. The sequence generallyconsists of an un-reciprocated ritual greeting, an orderingdirective, many supportive interchanges, a quick payment, anda queuing process for food pick-up. Such phenomena areprojected into the big picture for various types of cognitive,moral & affective stances that are fundamental to both socialorganization and structural expectations, and how participantsunconsciously categorize themselves into particular socialstratums throughout the performance of mundane activitiesthat constitute daily life.
An Ethnography of Everyday Speech
By Wendy Choi
Fall
 
 Nogales Burgers: Sequential Organization of Food-Ordering Choi 1
 A Brief Introduction
This article investigates the sequential organization of an attentive and time-efficient food-order.Particular attention will be paid to the interactive organization of participant frameworks,including the dependence on body-to-body orientation and the supportive practice throughvarious components such as ritual greetings, minimal eye-contact, and code-switching in themidst of question-to-question order-customization process, and the consequences of violating thecomponents of mutual respect.
Time Interval of Date Collection
Due to the lighter flow of customers in the morning, the 6am to 11am interval for breakfast isselected for to collect fieldwork for this particular ethnographic study. The local diner NogalesBurgers operates uniquely from other diners in that food-orders are largely self-served rather than delivered. Its sequential organization represents that of a fast-food restaurant, withemphasis on quick service. During the breakfast period, most customers visit alone. They sitwithin their own private space, finish their customized meal in peace, and leave thankfully after they finish. Personal conversations within the food-ordering space tend to be brief, and they arenot generally preferred by unfamiliar customers. It appears perhaps an implicit taboo againstdisrupting the food-ordering processes is in circulation.
The Restaurant Workforce
With regard to the restaurant management, the owner of the restaurant Peter Tsiramanes has alsoassumed the role as a head chef and often works overtime. Recognizing to the generally lighter flow of customers in a weekday morning, a single waitress Sol Sayune has been assigned thetask of carrying out food-ordering operations.
1
Moreover, she is also accountable for assistingthe chef in preparing toasts and performing the basic food preparation tasks (e.g. chopping,dicing). Due to the fact that Mr. Tsiramanes is normally present at the restaurant, waitresseshave learned in time to routinely
“m
ake-
work.” As Goffman described: “
It is understood inmany establishments that not only will workers be required to produce a certain amount after acertain length of time but also that they will be ready, when called upon, to give the impressionthat they are working hard at the moment.
2
Waitresses became accustomed to resuming their  performance of cooking duties as the assistant chef 
 — 
even if there was no immediate order to be prepared for 
 — 
whenever they are free from serving customers at the ordering counter. (Thedesignated servers for my chosen time frame were Chef Peter T. and Waitress Sol Sayune.)
Characteristics Leading to the Popularity of Nogales Burgers
With respect to the fact that this is not an actual fast-food chain restaurant but, rather, a local burger-joint-style diner, food orders are highly customizable. The menu merely functions as aquick-order guideline. For example, i
nstead of ordering a listed item “breakfast platter”
whichconsists of two eggs, two bacon strips, two breakfast links, & two pancakes, customersoftentimes issues an ordering directive for a customized breakfast platter that contains three bacon strips (extra bacon strip), one sausage patty (instead of links), two pancakes and specifiesfor two scrambled eggs (food-processing). Refer to Figure 1, the relative price for each menu
1
From 6am to 11am on a weekday, there is about 15 plus or minus 3 food orders per half hour.
2
Goffman, Erving. (1959) "Regions and Region Behavior."
The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life
. Garden City, NY: Doubleday. p. 109
 
 Nogales Burgers: Sequential Organization of Food-Ordering Choi 2
item is greatly comparable to the prices of menu items of the popular quick-service chain
restaurants McDonald’s, Jack in the Box, Burger King etc., and Nogales Burgers is known fo
r itssupersized portions. Furthermore, one cannot request a sunny-side-up style egg from
McDonald’s, nor can one ask for extra Hollandaise sauce. Recognizing this fact establishes a
healthy mentality for customers because they feel like they have found a great bargain at a localrestaurant that is an advantage of local in-groups.
 Figure 1
. The glass-front entrance is completely covered with attractive promotional deals, such as$15.99 family meal deals with 4 large hamburgers, 4 bags of fries, & 4 cups of medium-sized soda.
 

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