FORSYTH, Ga. — The service industry was hit hardest during the pandemic between supply chain problems, finding employees, and even just getting people in the door.
In our 'Service with a Smile' series, we're highlighting restaurant employees who dug deep and gave people a positive experience, keeping them coming back again and again and again...
In Forsyth, there's a cute downtown area, home to all kinds of businesses. One of them is Grits Café.
Anne Marie Watson likes serving and being around her friends and family. Coincidentally, she gets to do both at work. Not only does her son work there with her, but she has several good friends who serve alongside her.
She's not just a server, though. She runs the dining room during her evening shift AND she's been at Grits for over 20 years.
General Manager Leslie Waters has known and worked with Anne Marie basically since Grits opened.
Much like Anne Marie, Waters says she didn't know if she would stay in the service industry, but she loves what she does.
Anne Marie says the hours and flexibility are what kept her around, especially since she takes care of her daughter Bre, who has a disease called tuberous sclerosis -- a rare genetic condition that causes mainly non-cancerous tumors to develop in different parts of the body.
It started when Bre turned seven, and now she's on her way to turning 30 in October. Bre is the "light" in Anne Marie's life.
"She's just happy... she's our sunshine," she said.
Working at the restaurant has helped Anne Marie be with her daughter when she's sick or needs her. She says it always works out great.
But when she's not with her daughter, she's at work taking care of her guests.
"She's a very hard worker, very committed," said Waters.
"She anticipates our needs," said customer Angela Sloope.
Sloope says Anne Marie is her friend, but she's all business when it comes to serving. Angela says she's both professional and personal.
According to Waters, Anne Marie is "very interested" in wine pairing, and will often be requested to help guests pair a wine with their food.
"That's one of my things that I really enjoy," said Anne Marie.
Not only is she requested, but there are repeat customers that will travel through Forsyth and stop just to see her.
If you want to dine with Anne Marie, she works in the evenings and would be happy to serve you... and maybe even help you choose some wine to have with your dinner!
The mission of Rob's Place is to "enhance the dignity, uniqueness and independence of people who have disabilities by providing a place where they keep learning life & social skills, providing educational needs, arts and crafts, fun outings and building friendships."
It's located at 109 Martin Luther King Jr Drive.