So You Want To Be A Waiter

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Tag Archives: in the weeds

Holiday season

Even though the holiday season doesn’t “officially” get started until Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, many of you are already starting to feel the rumblings. Every community and restaurant has a different “biorhythm”, but typically, Halloween and cooler weather triggers an uptick in business.

The real fun of course is in December.

This is just my way of reminding you that you have to shake off the shackles of the slow season and get prepared for the crush.

How do you do this?

First off all, make sure that you don’t have any frivolous distractions. Do you have enough pens? Do you have a couple of extra corkscrews, lighters or crumbers? How is your uniform looking? You don’t need to be running to Office Max in a panic because you’ve just realized that you don’t have any working pens. Now’s the time to buy a bunch of pens. I like to keep an extra corkscrew in my car and an extra one at home. I have two spare ties, one in a locker at work and one in my car. When you’re loaded for bear, you eat the bear – the bear doesn’t eat you.

Now’s the time to get your head right. You might have gotten used to a slower pace and getting cut early. If I were you, I’d dispel any such notions from here on out. Just think of that fat wallet and it will be easy.

Stamina is key as well. Now’s not the time to get all run down, which make you susceptible to getting sick during sick season. You are in close contact with a lot of the public so you are already in a vulnerable position. Wash your hands more often then you normally would. I know better than to tell you to stop partying after work, but you might take it a little easier, or cut down on the frequency.

Make sure that you’ve got your A-game mental attitude. Employ all of your wiles to manage the weeds that you know are coming. Efficiency is the key. If you struggle with the weeds, you might go into the archives of this very blog and search for weeds. I’ve got a few posts that deal with specific strategies that you can employ.

Now is the time to salt away some money for the IRS. If you haven’t been “paying as you go” and you normally get a pretty big bill at tax time, now is the time to send them some money for 2010. You can do this by making a quarterly payment. I have a post or two that deals with taxes. do it now while you’re flush with money. Also, you can use a little of the extra money that you will surely make in November and December to pay down your debt and add to your savings. That doesn’t mean that you can’t save up for that big flat-screen TV that you’ve been pining over, but for god’s sake, think about the big financial picture. Did you know that you can reduce a 30 year mortgage by something like 12 years by only make one extra mortgage payment a year? You don’t even have to make a whole payment – anything extra that you pay will reduce the time of your mortgage if you have one. what better time to do it than when you’ve got some extra joss?

For many waiters, holiday money is 40% or more of their income for the entire year. That is crammed into around a 2-3 month period. In order to exploit this, you’ve got to be able to shoot, move and execute. this blog has some of the resources that can help you flourish.

Tell a friend.

Oh yeah, I’ve been pretty busy myself the past month or tow. This is obvious from the lack of posting, a lack that I’ve already warned you about. I haven’t had much time to read other blogs or research the restaurant industry. and I want to apologize to Marta Daniels, whose book, How To Be A Better Restaurant Customer, I promised to review about two months ago. I’m going to try to get around to it shortly. You can find it at http://howrc.com/

Quicksand

Every waiter who’s been in the biz for any length of time knows what I’m talking about.

It starts like this:

You get double-sat. No big whoop except that one of the tables needs a song-and-dance and some hand-holding. Still, it’s not that big of a problem. But the second table needs hot tea along with the shots of Cuervo, iced tea and 3 sodas. So, you collect the drinks, but when you get to the hot tea pitchers, they haven’t been stocked (or you can’t find underliners for them, or there aren’t any small tea spoons…take your pick…) You finally get it all together and you’re back on track when you get your third table. You’re not technically triple-seated but it’s close enough where you feel like it.

So, after you greet the new table and get a drink order, you’re back to the first two tables, getting the orders and getting them settled in for the ride. Now the new table would like for you to bring crackers in addition to the bread ’cause they have a little one that would like to have something to teeth on. So, off you go to get the crackers, but you find that there aren’t any where you normally keep them. So you go to the Chef to find out if there are any crackers in the house. There are, but they’re in dry storage. So you have to go to dry storage, pull out an unopened box, get out your wine tool and open it up.

Now you’ve got everything settled and you get your 4th table, which now has to get settled in. No problem, except that they want a Midori Sour and when you come back to get it, the bartender informs you that they’ve been out of Midori for a week. So now you have to go back, get a new drink order while informing the guest that you don’t have what they wanted. No problem. You re-ring the new drink and get them to the table. Only now, you have to make sure that the manager takes the drink order off of the bill. So you go chase down the manager, which takes a precious minute or so.

Meanwhile, the third table orders a bottle of wine. You ring it in, you grab it and take it to the table, the year isn’t the same as the one on the menu. So now, you have to take it back, have the bartender go through the stock to see if there are any left from the correct vintage. There aren’t any, so the guest wants to order a different bottle. No problem, except now you have to chase down the manager again to take off the original bottle.

And so it goes, the whole night…

Every time you have to grab for something, it’s not there and you have to chase it down. Or it’s the wrong thing. Or the guest thinks the food sucks/has taken too long/the soup’s cold, etc. The kitchen is getting slammed so your timing is off by about 10 minutes on everything. Every minute wasted compounds the amount of time that you’re behind by two minutes. Just as you think that you’re getting caught up, something else out of the ordinary pops up, and it keeps you about a step and a half behind. You’re in the weeds, but it’s a smothering sort of weeds, not an over-your-head panicked weeds. It’s not panic that you’re feeling; it’s rage and frustration every time you reach for a demitasse spoon and it ain’t there.

It’s like you’re stuck inexorably in quicksand. The natives’ spears are landing all around you, there’s an arrow through your pith helmet and your chimpanzee companion is not as bright as Cheetah, because he keeps trying to hand you a banana instead of a long stick.

I guess that you’re waiting for me to teach you how to deal with it.  Well, since I was stuck in just that situation last night for about 3 hours, I’m sorry but it would be disingenuous of me to pretend that I’ve got all of the answers. I might propose some things later that you can do to help keep your pith helmet above the sand, but frankly, there was nothing I could do last night to wiggle out.

Just be aware that you can be in the business for almost 2 decades and you can get caught in such a mess that the only way out is for the shift to finally end.

I’m just sayin’…

Managing the weeds

I’ve discussed this before, but you should have a personal plan for managing the weeds in the back of your mind – a sort of fallback, mindless set of priorities unique to your own restaurant. By mindless, I don’t mean that the priorities are mindless, but that you don’t have to think very hard about them when the weeds come. They should be almost an automatic reaction to the weeds. You shouldn’t have to think very hard about them. They should come naturally.

I can’t list priorities for you because restaurants and even waiter personalities are different. What might work for me might send you further into the weeds. But here’s what I’m thinking when the weeds start climbing.

My first strategy is to start thinking of my section as one big table. I start jettisoning the “unique approach” that I try to give each table. This doesn’t mean that I’m compromising my service, just that I’m not so concerned about giving a unique spiel to each table. I go slightly into “robot mode” without sounding “robotic”. IOW, if each table could hear me at every other table, they might think that I was being ‘canned” with my spiel, but when they hear it only at their table, it still sounds like I’m engaged with them, if this makes any sense. I don’t need to be spending a lot of mental energy tailoring my speech patterns and rhythms to each table. I also have a special that I usually tell my guests, something that the kitchen can always do that’s not on the menu. Nobody else incorporates this in their spiel, but I do it because it’s a $16 side dish where our most expensive side dish is around $11 and most of them are around $8-9. I usually sell between 2 and 5 of them a shift. If I sell one at lunch, it’s almost like adding a cover to my count. One lunch, I sold 5 of them! That’s like an extra 4 top. But that’s the first thing that gets jettisoned when I go in the weeds. It saves me about 30 seconds of verbiage and there’s nothing really lost as far as the guest is concerned.

My next priority is making sure that if I’m seated during this period, that I at least swing by and say, “good evening, I’ll be with you in just a minute”. Normally I do this when I present the menus, but I’m usually scurrying around doing things for other tables and don’t have time to make a trip to grab menus. This accomplishes two things – first, it counts as a greet within the required time limit (we have 1 minute to greet a table). Second, it lets the guest know that they have been noticed and that it will take a minute to return with the menus. If the guest tries to order a drink on the spot, I do everything I can to prevent taking their order. I usually tell them that I’ll be right back with their menus. If they seem annoyed by that, obviously I’ll take their order on the spot. But I won’t bring menus until I bring their drinks. They can wait since apparently they know better than I how to do my job.

We’re discouraged from collecting plates from multiple tables (most restaurants don’t have a problem with that though).  I do sometimes make stops at other tables even if I have a handful of plates, especially if they try to catch my eye. I’ll do this especially if I have a quality check to make (for civilians, a quality check is the 2 minute check back after a dish is delivered). The more that I consolidate tasks within the parameters that my restaurant allows, the more efficient I can be and the more time I’ll have with each table. When the weeds are high, every second is important.

When I’m really weeded, I’m not all that interested in selling dessert. Dessert could mean the difference between getting a turn or not getting a turn. While I am tasked with selling dessert because it’s considered an “upsell”, even the management would rather have that table back than lose it for another 20 minutes for an extra $15. But I don’t not mention dessert. I might ask a loaded question like, “Anyone still have room for dessert”? In a restaurant like mine, one that serves large portions, phrasing it that way has a slightly negative connotation (negative for dessert, that is).

Also, when I’m weeded, I try to “slow time down”. I do this by trying to take an extra couple of seconds when ringing food in. I know that this contradicts my other point about every second being important, but it’s more important to keep a clear head and also to avoid miss-rings and mistakes. Standing at the terminal is the one place where I can get re-centered and catch my breath. Of course, I have to be cognizant of others needing to use the terminal. Sometimes, if I’m the waitee, I’ll use that time to review what I’m going to enter or I’ll try to organize my thoughts while I wait.

These are some strategies that I employ in my restaurant. Feel free to add any that are relevant to your own situation.

More about steak temperatures and food-borne illnesses

At the blog, “You’re My Shadow Today”, the subject of steak temperatures came up.

http://servernotslave.wordpress.com/2009/11/17/beaten-and-bloody-or-burnt-to-a-crisp/

This was something that the blog “In The Weeds” recently tackled

http://frothygirlz.com/2009/11/03/in-the-weeds-how-to-order-a-steak-and-not-act-like-a-total-tool/

and a topic that I also discussed a couple of months back.

https://teleburst.wordpress.com/2009/06/13/steak-and-meat-temperatures/

One interesting comment was from someone with HIV who always gets steak cooked to well done out of a concern for health. Patients with HIV and AIDS are usually told to avoid “undercooked foods”, including steaks.

I was going to get on my high horse and say that you can safely eat a medium-rare or medium steak without fear of contamination because of the fact that e Coli and other pathogens that might be transmitted through an intact steak (as opposed to punctured or ground meat) are actually killed in the cooking process because they are “surface dwellers” that are aerobic (they need oxygen to survive and reproduce) and are killed when the steak is exposed to heat above 145º (giving an extra 5º as a hedge). This obviously happens when you cook a steak even to rare, although the USDA says that you should cook the internal temperature to at least 145º because they want to be super safe in these litigious times.

However, as it turns out, there’s a bigger reason why an internal temperature of 145º is the absolute safest way to go (which is what I consider the high side of medium). Turns out that it’s not so simple. Why, you might ask.

Turns out that some lower quality steaks are “blade tenderized” (or “needled” or “pinned”). This is akin to pounding a veal scallopini or pricking a flank steak with a fork or a roller to tenderize it. This damages the integrity of the surface and can drive pathogens into the interior of the steak while it indeed tenderizes what might be a tougher cut of meat.

Fortunately, if you go to the major steakhouses, you can be assured that this doesn’t happen. I’m not prepared to say what kind of restaurants that serve steaks might serve these sort of steaks, as you’re seeing lesser expensive steaks in all sorts of casual dining restaurants these days. It’s unlikely that you will find such “adulteration” of cuts like sirloin, t-bones, strips, tenderloins, etc. even in lower end places, but it’s certainly possible that you might find it in tougher cuts like flank steaks. Fortunately, those are the type of steaks that you want to cook longer anyway.

Here’s an article that lays out the issue, and everyone should read it:

http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/2009/07/articles/food-policy-regulation/more-doubletalk-from-usda-on-e-coli-and-swift-meat-recall/

Now, lest you think that I’m going to be ordering my steaks medium well, you’ve got another think coming. But I don’t have HIV, lupus, or any other immune-compromised issue. Mine is a personal decision. I think I’ve got a better chance of getting sick from cross-contamination (which is independent of internal temperature) than I do from some odd steak having a natural fissure in it that allows pathogens to get beyond the flame or running into a blade-tenderized cut somewhere that just happens to be infected. However, those with health issues or personal health concerns should read the above article and decide for yourself.

And, for those of you who grill steaks at home, you should keep away from those long pointy forks that some use to turn steaks after stabbing them. Most cooks know that it’s bad to puncture a steak because it releases juices, but the more important reason is that it sacrifices the surface integrity of the muscle meat. Even if the fork is squeaky clean, it could drive pathogens into the center of the steak, where, if you don’t cook it to the high end of medium (145º), you could give someone e Coli. So don’t do it. I don’t even own a prong like that anymore.

Sidework Pt. 2

In part one, we tried to paint sidework with some broad brushes. 

I’m not going to list all possible tasks that you might have to do on a typical shift. Every restaurant has its own unique needs and it would be impossible to list them all. Besides, you’ll find out soon enough what they are. So, why is sidework important? Because it’s so often thought of as an afterthought; it’s thought of as drudgery. Waiters whine about it. Waiters blow it off. Waiters do part of it but don’t finish it. Waiters do a poor job of it. Don’t be one of those waiters. While you can certainly whine about it, do your sidework. Why, you might ask? Why should I do it when I see others getting away with sliding on theirs? After all, you’ll soon identify certain slackers who can’t be relied upon to do their work and they seem to get away with it. Well, all I can say is, don’t be that guy (or gal for that matter).

It’s extremely important that sidework gets done because nothing will put you in the weeds faster than having to break your routine during the rush to go back to the walk-in to grab the half and half that someone else hasn’t bothered to restock as part of their sidework. This is especially grating when you make it easy for them by assuring that they can put their hands on what they need because you did your sidework while you hunt through the restaurant for a single clean glass because they didn’t do theirs. 

Hold your fellow servers accountable for their sidework.

And remember, someday, you will be a closing waiter and you will rely on others to do their work. You already have enough to do without having to do someone else’s job too.

The main thing is for each waiter to pull their weight so that if the waiter gets in the weeds, it’s not because his or her fellow waiter let them down.

It’s hard to do sidework when the rush is on. However, it’s even harder to have to do someone else’s sidework on top of  that. Or suffer the consequences of not being able to put your hands on what you need when you need it.

Sidework is important. Curse it, fear it, hate it, but respect it. Because to respect it is to respect your fellow co-workers.

New blog link added

She’s only slightly  cranky. Most of the time it’s slightly. Some of the time she’s peaches and sunshine. And sometimes she’s a fire-breather.

Experience the Purple Girl in all of her glory here:

http://slightlycrankywaitress.blogspot.com/

You know she’s a smart gal when you see that she’s added my blog to her blogroll, so of course I’m going to reciprocate. I have a quid pro quo going – you add my link and I’ll add yours. Of course, I might give you a mention without the quid pro quo, so you don’t have to add me for me to add you.

I especially like this post of hers:

http://slightlycrankywaitress.blogspot.com/2009/06/shorthand.html

That’s a theme that I’ve been planning to cover – so you should read this…

LastScan

Capital Grill hurting since firing blogger

Well, yes and no. They were hurting before they fired our friend in Kansas City, but I’d like to think that it was a direct result of being buttheads.

They are definitely underperforming in the steakhouse sector, but they did come in first in the chain steakhouse category in the most recent Consumer Reports nationwide restaurant survey. Personally, I’d listen to to them when it comes to buying a washing machine, but when it comes to matters of taste, as a recovering audiophile, I always had to laugh at CR’s complete lack of a sense of style and taste. I mean, Bose? Really? So, when a report that lists PF Chang’s as the number one “Unique Dinner House” chain restaurant, I have to wonder about Capital Grill.

BTW, for 3qtr fiscal year 2009, they were down 19.0% same store sales from 2008. Pretty bad indeed, even in these bad times. It jumped to 22.1% down in the 4th quarter. They are one of the worst performing companies in the sector. Other steakhouses like Palm, Fleming’s, Ruth’s Criss, Mortons, Sullivan’s etc. are hovering between 10 and 15% down this quarter.

So, maybe CJ’s firing has had some effect! Look at their bar – deserted:

Capital Grill

:chuckle:

New link added – Caution : Blonde Thinking

Thanks to this Hooters Girl who’s added me to her “Sweet Reads” blogroll. Very cool. She obviously has impeccable tastes.

Everyone should check out her blog and read about the unique issues that Hooters girls have to deal with.  Like this:

“Along with a few changes and additions to the management team, we received a particularly informative memo on the back of this week’s schedule.

Hooters has always been a very image-based company, requiring their employees to follow reasonably strict dress codes and other codes of conduct.

Well friends, it’s gotten even worse, er, better.

We were asked to read the memo with an open mind and to consider the motivation behind the changes that are being made. “We are aiming to focus a bit more on the ‘girl next door, all American cheerleader, athletic, healthy, friendly, outgoing, happy’ aspects of the ideal Hooters Girl image.” That I completely understand. During times like these, we cant afford to lose any business, and chubby antisocial Hooters Girls are definitely a no-no. (Notice the HUGE drop in currently employed Hooters Girls at my location.)

I’m not sure if these changes are being made in every location. (Sauce? KH? A. Robb? Mayor? Thoughts?)

1. We are now no longer allowed to wear white bras under our white uniform tank tops. I completely understand this. Our uniform tank tops are very much like snowflakes. They are all completely different and unique. Because of this, I dread purchasing new uniforms. Although I always buy the size XXS, they all seem to be of different material thicknesses and shapes. Some tank tops squeeze my armpits. Some necklines are higher or lower, which can make your C look like a D, or the other way around. Occasionally you’ll get a shirt that requires a “trim.” Which is why we always have a pair of scissors in the break room, so the shirt doesn’t bunch up underneath our ever-smooth shorts. Some are so thin, that while wearing a white bra, it looks as if you just participated in a wet tee-shirt contest. Hence the illegalization of the white bra”.
<snip>

http://miss-amazing.blogspot.com/2009/06/times-they-are-changin.html

There are actually several good blogs from Hooters Girls that I’ll be adding in the near future. Having never been to a Hooters and having a rather jaded view of the concept itself (not being a lecherous 40 something car salesman), I’m glad to see that some Hooters Girls have good coping mechanisms that guide them through all of the bullshit, not only with their gabby, grabby guests but with their fellow co-workers, management and corporate policy. Good on ya, girls. And I’m sorry for not having patronized you so that you got some of my hard-won money. Maybe if I get the hankerin’ for some wings…

PS, I wonder if Brit (her handle based on her nationality) has ever been able to use “Get on your bike, Johnny” as a way to dismiss some creep. Seems like something that might go right over their heads in a typical Hooters. Obviously I misread her profile, thinking Brit was short for British and not realizing that it was short for something else. Apologies!

PPS, look for the link to her blog in my Waiter Stuff blogroll.

PPPS, yes, Hooters Girls are waiters too. Just the periodic reminder that waiters are either sex.

614_1

Find your lanes

Every restaurant floor plan has its own unique geography. If you were able to look from above during service, it might resemble watching rats in a maze all trying to get to the cheese.

So it’s important to find your lanes and learn the flow of traffic and the “rules of the road”.

In most restaurants, if there are two swinging doors, you normally use the right one instead of the left one. This is the usual convention and if you defy it, you could cause a catastrophe. Imagine carrying a tray loaded with expensive entrees and having a door that you’re going out suddenly swinging in on you. Or think of a tray of drinks going flying. You could see some serious injuries, not to mention having to redo the drinks, which screws that waiter and his or her guest and causes food costs to rise.

So, one of the first things you should find out and commit to muscle memory is which door is in and which door is out. Even though most restaurants are “right is right”, there are some that might have a different convention, so don’t take anything for granted. It can also be a little weird because department stores and supermarkets often reserve the left door for entrance. So it might take a little getting used to. It’s mission-critical that you do though.

“Right is right” also works for aisles as well. Most restaurants want you to stay right. This means sometimes having to stop and give the right-of-way to a guest who doesn’t follow that convention.  What makes this hard sometimes is that servers’ lanes sometimes have to cross this line sometimes. When you’re coming around a corner and going left, you will naturally have to cross the left side of the aisle unless you swing way out. It’s possible to run into someone coming the other direction so you should always be very careful when you’re rounding a corner, especially a blind one. One thing you’ll hear called out is “Corner”. This is a very good habit to get into. The thing is, if you’re out in the restaurant, it can be intrusive to the guest, so, just be really careful when rounding corners because something that’s even more intrusive to the guest is a bowl of hot soup landing on their head. Also, there’s the case of the double swinging doors being in a short hallway that connects two or more aisles. This can mean having to cross others’ lanes. You should be prepared for that. You want to quickly develop a sense of an internal GPS for the whole restaurant.

Avoid turning around quickly and changing directions. This happens a lot (and I’m a serial infractor myself) when you just remember that you forgot something. If you pivot on your foot and turn around, you sould find someone moving quickly in your own lane in imminent danger of trying to occupy the same space at the same time, which is impossible in this dimension. Always check behind you before making this move.

Which brings us to the most important word that you’ll hear in the traffic system that is the restaurant – “Behind you”! You’ll hear it a lot and you’ll use it even more. Anytime you get within 3 feet of someone’s back, you should at least say the word “Behind”. You don’t have to shout it, but you should say it loudly enough for the person to hear.

You should never run, no matter how much in the weeds you are. The fastest you should move is a brisk pace.

Carry any knife either blade backwards if not on a tray. Never turn around with a knife facing forward.

Non-slip shoes are mandatory, whether the restaurant requires them or not. You have to move from many different types of surface – from carpet to wood to concrete to tile. Wet tile, such as you’d find in a kitchen, is deadly for regular shoes. Non-slip shoes are a wonder. You’ll wonder why you ever tried to do without them. I don’t care how comfortable your high-end loafers or tennis shoes are, imagine how uncomfortable a sprained ankle or a busted tailbone is to you and your pocketbook. Many restaurants are now requiring them anyway because of insurance issues. Shoes For Crews is a pretty popular brand and places like WalMart have brands that are even cheaper but obviously made in the same Chinese factories (their house brand is called TredSafe and they are almost identical to Shoes For Crews). 

Here’s a little subtle thing that you can do to help your fellow waiter. If you sense someone behind you as you’re coming out of the kitchen, give the door a little bump with your hip or the side of your foot after you’ve initially pushed it open as it starts its swing back. Most restaurant kitchen doors have a hinge that dampens the speed of the swingback, and if you’re able to give it a “double bump”, you’ll keep the next server from having to kick it or push it open. If you time it right, they’ll be able to clear the doorway without ever having to touch the door. At the very least, they won’t have a door swinging back right in their face as they enter the doorway.

If you learn the friction points of the restaurant, those spots where people tend to converge, and you pay closer attention to them as you encounter them, you’ll avoid all sorts of disaster.

Oh yeah, the guest always gets the right-of-way. Always.

Waiter Crash jpeg

Update from my last “New Link Posted” – a cautionary tale

fired

Sad news in that apparently there was more than “a little fallout” over our newest blogger’s funny commentary on her co-workers.

From “Girl in the Weeds”:

“For the last three years, I have worked at a job that I love.  Quite unexpectedly, I was hired to work at one of the best restaurants in Kansas City without much serving experience.  I convinced a skeptical manager that my background as a concierge and my passion for service and high-end hospitality would fit right in with what he was looking for in a team member.  They took a chance on me and over the next three years, I built a good following of regulars, routinely did well on secret shopper reports, and was asked to be a trainer.  But the two best things about my job were bonding with the guests that I served and the amazing friends that I made.

Okay (insert needle scratching a record sound here) that’s enough of that hazy “Dreamweaver” moment.  I was fired on Wednesday for writing my weekly column.  ”In The Weeds” has been a fun, sarcastic and anonymous look at my experiences in the restaurant industry.  It will continue to be fun and sarcastic.  It will no longer be anonymous.  I will continue to post on Frothygirlz.com on Tuesdays so please visit often for real stories from my years at The Capital Grille.   

Teaser for Tuesday: A look inside the little shoe box that serves as both manager office and execution chamber”.

http://frothygirlz.com/category/in-the-weeds/

Sad news indeed. I hope that everyone will continue to visit Shannon’s CJ’s blog in support. I’m sure that some interesting dirty laundry is forthcoming.

Thanks to bitterwaitress for alerting me to this, as I wasn’t planning to check back in until Tuesday, her normal day to update her blog.

And this should serve as warning to those who choose to blog about their workplaces, whether in the restaurant biz or not. I’m not saying that it’s right for such a chilling effect to be possible, but folks should realize the risks that they take in being too specific when they talk about workplace happenings. I think that this sort of thing still hasn’t been sorted out in the courts and we’re likely to see some interesting legal actions unfold in the coming years. I think, at the very least, one should think long and hard about telling fellow workers that they are even blogging, especially if they are writing about personalities or issues in their workplace and especially if they work in “Right To Work” and “”At Will Employment” states. I don’t think that those workers are offered very much legal protection when it comes to being fired on the grounds that they have blogged about their work.

It took only a few posts over a month-and-a-half for this situation to develop.

And now you know why I haven’t offered much in the way of personal information.

But, in case you were wondering where I get off on offering all sorts of information about waiting tables, let’s just say that I’ve been either waiting tables or managing restaurants (4 years in the late 90s) for the past 15 years and my first job as a waiter was in 1974 for a year and and a half and another job in 1980 – 1982 in another restaurant.