So You Want To Be A Waiter

The best book on waiting tables that you have never read – yet

Tag Archives: restaurant blog

The book that you have been waiting for is finally out!

No, not my book.

Sorry to get you all excited.

No, it’s Tips²: Tips For Improving Your Tips by David Hayden of the Hospitality Formula Network.

Let me be blunt – if you are a waiter/server/bartender and you don’t buy this book, then you really don’t care about how much money you make. This book is a multiplier of skills and bank. It’s written in a clear, concise yet comprehensive style. It’s laid out logically and covers just about every topic that a waiter needs to know in terms of maximizing his or her earning potential.

The book is broken down into 10 sections and 41 chapters. With sections like Before Your Shift, Starting Your Shift, Interacting with Your Guests, and The Mechanics of Serving, the book puts lie to Hayden’s statement that “This book is NOT a training manual. Due to the fact that you picked up this book, it is assumed you know how to wait tables”. Those preliminary sections cover much of what the rank amateur waiter needs to know to make his or her descent into the maelstrom of waiting tables a smooth and unbumpy one. This book should be part of the training package of every restaurant who hires people who have never been waiters.

But it doesn’t stop there – with subsequent sections like Selling and Serving Wine, The Pitch, The Key Times, Selling as a Server, Special Guests, and The Intangibles, the main intent of the book becomes clear – waiter make money, guest get good experience, manager get smooth shift – everybody happy.

My blog covers many of the same points. In fact, you’ll get a sense of déjà vu when you read Mr. Hayden’s book if you’ve spent any time with my posts. The main difference is the clarity of vision and training. I tend to ramble, go off-the-cuff, go off on tangents, and generally get parenthetical (sometimes). You’ll find little of that in this book. What you’ll find is  a book full of practical hints, tips and directives that aren’t just theoretical abstracts; they can be applied on a daily basis.

Do I think it’s complete? Hell no! There are valid points that this very blog have made that are left out. Anyone who has waited tables for a long time has had situations that have given them insight that could be valuable to the waiter-at-large. But, all in all, the book is probably the most practical and valuable resource that a waiter could find on any bookshelf (either real or virtual) in North America. I say North America because other restaurant cultures have different standards and practices that might be at odds with the North American restaurant culture.

In a perfect world, this book would be the core of the book that I had intended when I first considered starting a blog on the subject of waiting tables. I wanted a book that was lavishly illustrated with photographs, filled with sidebars of interesting factoids and footnotes, brimming with information about everything from rapini to Calvados. I envisioned parts of the book that would be considered reference material for the ages – a book with the heft of a wine atlas, the look, feel and knowledge of a Thomas Keller book, the practical and accessible wisdom of a “…for Dummies” book. This book would be part of the curriculum at Cornell, would sit on every restaurant book shelf, would grace the coffee tables of the rich and poor alike, and my name would be whispered with a measured awe in the break rooms of restaurants for years to come.

Well, sorry. The bones are there; the framework sitting in the archives of this very blog. Until the storied day when a literary agent looks at my concept, knows just the perfect graphic designer to create the cheap equivalent of the Nathan Myhrvold “Modern Cuisine” $625 cookbook, my dream of the ultimate book on waiting tables is just that – a dream.

Until then, this book by David Hayden does what I hoped to do – make it possible for a newly-minted waiter to avoid the usual pitfalls of “learning on the job”. This is a dual goal; not only does it mean that waiters can share the knowledge necessary to maximize earnings, it means that fewer restaurant guests will have to suffer the fumbling of such “on-the-fly training”.

It’s lean, it’s mean – it’s the opposite of what I intended. And just what the world needs.

BUY THIS BOOK.

Buy my book or I'll make you look like a fool in front of your date.

Article on tipping out from The Orlando Sentinel

Waiters can keep the change – but not all of it

By Sandra Pedicini, Orlando Sentinel

12:28 a.m. EDT, March 14, 2011

When you leave your waiter or waitress a tip, chances are they don’t keep all of it.

It’s common in the restaurant industry for servers to share part of their tips with other workers, sometimes voluntarily, but often because they have to.

But many workers have balked at what they describe as unfair tip-sharing policies, and some have sued. Starbucks, Chili’s, Outback Steakhouse and Orlando-based Hard Rock Café International are among companies that have faced lawsuits.

Restaurant workers often depend heavily on tips because in many states, employers can take “tip credits” and pay regularly tipped employees less than minimum wage — in Florida, as little as $4.23 per hour.

Read the rest of the article here:

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/business/os-law-and-you-tip-sharing-20110313,0,1299262.story

Tipping out is something that most waiters grudgingly tolerate. Afterall, we are told upfront what we are required to tip out. Problems generally occur when tipout policies change, and several companies who have changed their policies are discussed in the article, mainly because their staff went to court against them.

In states where there is no “tip credit”, i.e. hourly wage is at least minimum wage such as Oregon, there really aren’t too many restrictions that can be made to the tipout. Kitchen personnel are often part of the tip pool in those states. In states that have a tip credit, or allow sub-minimum wage, tipouts are restricted to personnel who directly serve the public.

As much as I respect the work that line cooks and dishwashers do, I’m against the mandatory sharing of tips with them. Their positions are production positions and they are paid a commensurate hourly wage. While they generally make less than waiters overall, they also get raises periodically and have the benefit of a steady and predictable income. And, while generosity is a good thing, I also don’t like the idea of voluntarily sharing tips with them, only because it sets up the possibility of unfair delivery of the food. It’s only human nature to wash the hand that feeds you and it feels a bit like extortion to be forced to pay to get your food in the order that it was sent to the kitchen, or to have someone who’s greasing the kitchen get a better plate than someone who isn’t.  Having said that, if a waiter ever goes out for drinks with a kitchen person, I feel like they should buy at least a couple of drinks for the kitchen person, if not pick up their tab. After all, it’s a fact that waiters generally make more money than kitchen personnel. And they work very hard under hot and dirty conditions. Of course, they are doing what they want to be doing and many of them are working toward the goal of being a chef one day. Waiters really don’t have any upward mobility in their profession, except to work at another restaurant that offers a higher tip income.

Most tipouts take between 15 – 40% of a waiter’s tips. The average that I’ve seen is more like 25 – 35%. Many waiters, including myself, usually grease our backwaiters a little extra as well.

Tipouts can be done two ways – they can be based on sales or they can be based on tips. My current job is the first that I’ve had that has based it on tips, and I definitely prefer that way. That way, everyone benefits or suffers from how well the guest pool has tipped. With sales, you’re stuck at a percentage regardless of how great or poor the overall tip percentage has been. I guess I understand the idea behind tipping on sales. You don’t want the possibility of a waiter hiding cash tips from his or her support staff. But I highly encourage restaurants to consider basing the tipout percentage on tips, not sales. It’s a much fairer system. A waiter can’t complain that they’re tipping out on a stiff.

Anyway, I’ve discussed tipout in the past. If you want to revisit the topic, go here:

https://teleburst.wordpress.com/2009/06/15/tipout-pt-1/

https://teleburst.wordpress.com/2009/06/16/tipout-pt-2/

https://teleburst.wordpress.com/2009/06/17/tipout-pt-3/

One bit of disturbing “news”, if you will; something that was discussed in pt. 2. The Department of Labor used to have “fact sheets” on how tipped employees are treated. Those fact sheets have disappeared from the DoL website. Here is what it said about tipping out:

“Tip Pooling: The requirement that an employee must retain all tips does not preclude a valid tip pooling or sharing arrangement among employees who customarily and regularly receive tips, such as waiters, waitresses, bellhops, counter personnel (who serve customers), busboys/girls and service bartenders. Tipped employees may not be required to share their tips with employees who have not customarily and regularly participated in tip pooling arrangements, such as dishwashers, cooks, chefs, and janitors. Only those tips that are in excess of tips used for the tip credit may be taken for a pool. Tipped employees cannot be required to contribute a greater percentage of their tips than is customary and reasonable”.

I don’t know if they have just changed the website and haven’t added the old worksheets back in, or whether because of states like Oregon that specifically allow kitchen employees to share in the tip pool, they can no longer make that statement. And, with other court rulings that have impacted on tipouts, perhaps the governance of tipouts is in flux now. Therefore, it’s best to discuss with your local Wage and Hour people or with a local attorney that specializes in labor law what the current thinking on tipouts is if you have concerns about how your tipouts are being handled.

I’ve been a bad blogger…

…because I really haven’t had the time to keep up with the ever-expanding universe of restaurant bloggers.

Normally I like to give a little review and add links to fellow bloggers individually because I think that they deserve credit for their hard work and I like to make it easy for my readers to decide whether a blog is worthy of following.

So this is a bit of a departure for me.

I’m going to list a raft of blogs that have popped up recently. I have at least taken a cursory look at each of them and feel that they are worthy of inclusion in Ye Olde Blogroll. I am not listing them in any particular order nor is the inclusion of them a permanent condition. But I think it’s important to give them exposure and I’ll let you decide for yourself which ones you find relevent, entertaining and informative. I’ll be actually adding them to the blogroll shortly. Meanwhile, use the links that are provided here.

http://www.thejadedwaiter.com/

http://aneducatedserver.wordpress.com/

http://dignityandrespect.wordpress.com/

http://fuckmytable.wordpress.com/

http://doyoudothatathome.com/

http://www.gratuity-not-included.com/

http://waitress-tales.blogspot.com/

http://www.servernightmares.com/

 www.lifeonacocktailnapkin.com

I’m sure that there are more that I’ve missed. If I’ve missed your blog, feel free to list it in the comment section of this post.

I apologize in advance for not giving each of these blogs their rightful due. But I think it’s better to at least get the links out there. Perhaps I will comment on them later, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. Needless to say, I found a lot of entertaining stuff in these blogs and I think you will too.

I got many of these links from this compendium:

http://www.bschool.com/blog/2011/60-best-blogs-in-the-restaurant-industry/

I’m proud to have been included. I’m listed #2, although I doubt that they ordered their list in any particular hierarchical fashion. Also, there are quite a few related blogs at this site that will be listed later, especially those dealing with the kitchen (i.e. back-of-the-house, chef/cook related).

Some positive restaurant industry news from Nation’s Restaurant News’ Breaking News

10 trends to watch in 4Q reports

Restaurants expected to outline higher sales, future price hikes

January 21, 2011 | By Mark Brandau

Fourth-quarter earnings season kicks into full swing next week, and many restaurant companies are expected to report improving sales and profit, said restaurant securities analyst Jeffrey Bernstein of Barclays Capital.

Restaurants also are likely to discuss plans to raise menu prices in 2011 to combat increased commodity costs, he said in a research note Friday.

Bernstein listed 10 items to watch as companies report final results for 2010:

Catch those 10 items, several of which bode well for waiters in all niches here: http://www.nrn.com/article/10-trends-watch-4q-reports?ad=news#ixzz1BmLeXd4S

Brand refresh

Any Doctor Who fans in the house?

I was re-watching a couple of the new season and was reminded that the (new) series always refreshes the opening title sequence slightly. I’m actually old enough to remember Tom Baker as perhaps the most famous Doctor Who of all time – the doctor from the mid-70s (he’s the iconic one, all tweedy and wild curly hair and the trademark scarves).

For those of you unfamiliar with Doctor Who, it’s a venerable BBC series that has been around since the early 60s and ran until 1989, when it went dormant.  In 2005, it was revived, bringing happiness to those who grew up with the series.

Doctor Who is a Timelord. He looks human but is actually a separate species with two hearts and one very advanced brain and an immune system to die for (basically, as long as certain conditions are met, he can’t die, but he is “regenerated”, complete with a new body and face. His last name isn’t Who. We don’t know his name. He’s just the Doctor. Doctor Who gives the writers plenty of opportunity for clever wordplay when someone is first introduced to him – “Doctor WHO”? “No, just The Doctor”.

This regeneration is a very clever conceit by the producers as it allows them to bring in a new actor to play the part. There have been 11 “Doctors” since the story began (12 if you count a guy who thought he was the Doctor because he had absorbed all of the information about the Doctor – of course, he was just a human, but it made for an interesting Christmas episode and starred the always charming David Morrissey as the misguided Victorian with a balloon replacing the Doctor’s famous TARDIS and a wooden version of the famed “Sonic Screwdriver”, the Doctor’s only “weapon” besides his brain and wits.

Why am I going off on a fanboy’s idolization of Dr. Who?

Because it illustrates the difference between a brand refresh and a re-branding.

The Doctor Who title sequence/theme song has been basically the same since the beginning. However, each season (at least for the 3 renewal seasons and certainly for some of the original series), there is a slight difference in the graphics and the theme song. this would be a “refresh”. It doesn’t change the basic nature of the title sequence but it “modernizes” it or provides a difference to delineate it from the preceding season.

However, when Dr. Who regenerates, it’s like a “re-branding”. The face is totally changed. The new actor brings his own quirks, characteristics and cadence to the role. The first Doctor in the revival seasons was a bit dark (Christopher Eccleston), the second more playful but full of power, intense and is judgmental at times (Scottish actor, David Tennant) and the new Doctor seems to have a more childlike and buoyant personality (Matt Smith). However, many of the basic personality traits of the Doctor’s own quirks are preserved.

This is the mark of a successful rebranding. Sometimes the slate is wiped clean and the restaurant takes an entirely new direction and flavor. But generally, when you rebrand, you want to retain a link to the past. You want to keep the basic character of the restaurant that has been developed over time, and you don’t shift from one concept to another (a Mexican restaurant goes to Italian, for instance). Usually shifting concepts or market niches occurs when a restaurant is sold to another who wants to turn it into a brand new restaurant.

Many, if not most rebrandings take the idea of rebranding literally. They change the name, the decor and the product mix. However, they tend to try to retain a lot of the things that made the previous brand strong while bringing the restaurant into a new era. The Houston’s rebranding to Hillstone is a good example:

 http://www.nrn.com/article/hillstone-restaurant-group-rebranding-houstons-units

They aren’t moving up or down market – they are trying to create a mental link with a more local and seasonal-type menu and  insulate themselves from the image of being a “chain” (Houston’s is a venerable brand but is seen as just another mass-market chain in a sea of mass-market chains). This is always fraught with danger, especially when you tamper with a chain that has seen massive success and is perceived as a restaurant that provides a certain level of consistent quality. Houston’s is leveraging this danger by not converting all of its units to Hillstone. There will still be Houston’s in certain places, but I suspect that if the rebranding is successful, the Houston’s brand will eventually disappear from the face of the Earth.

On the other hand, you have what I would term a “refresh”. Three years ago, Ruby Tuesday’s “rebranded” but I think that  it was really closer to a refreshing. the name only changed by removing “Bar and Grill” from the title. One could argue that, by moving upmarket with some pricier items, this was a rebranding, but I don’t think that they did a substantial change to decor (this had already occurred. They kept most of what was good about the restaurant (the salad bar, the upscale bar food like premium burgers, etc.) and tried to push check averages up and attract a slightly more affluent crowd.

So why would I term this a refresh and what is a refresh? In my mind, a refresh is when you retain more of the original concept. Instead of going up or down market, you introduce aspects of those markets which you haven’t really captured. For instance, a trend in steakhouses is to incorporate value meals, prix fixe specials, more modern drink offerings, etc. Another restaurant might revamp their platewear, plate presentation, do a dining room remodel, expand a wine list and premium liquor brands or offer only premium brands as their well brands. They might design a new logo. They might aggressively seek to-go and meal replacement business. One of the most common refresh items is the uniform. It’s relative cheap and can give the impression of a freshened decor without doing a lot of demolition.

One example of a refresh that appears to have possibility for success is the Palm Steakhouse. I have a friend who is a long-time regular in one of the East Coast restaurants who pointed me to their new website. Having been to the previous website when doing posts on other subjects in the past, I knew that it was in desperate need of renovation. It was ugly, unwieldy and not particularly informative or evocative. It was basically a placeholder. However, the new website has a timeless sort of look that reflects the heritage of the long-standing restaurant chain (which, oddly enough is still privately owned). It has a burnished look that fits the decor (sort of a men’s clubby look that doesn’t seem or feel ‘exclusive”). digging deeper, I found this statement from Libretto, the company which worked on the redesign:

September 2010 – Libretto is pleased to announce the launch of the redesigned Palm Restaurant website. Libretto and Korn Design were engaged by The Palm to revitalize the classic American steakhouse’s brand, messaging, and website. During an extensive discovery process, the two firms worked closely with The Palm to surface and reinterpret the authentic brand attributes that distinguished the restaurant prior to its national expansion. Libretto then developed new messaging and Web content to support The Palm’s polished identity. The resulting site features clear navigation, engaging content, and a vibrant mix of contemporary and historic photos.

Clearly, they didn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. They focused on the heritage of the 80+ year old restaurant and did a virtual steam cleaning which didn’t alter the character or the restaurant but made it sparkle.

Here’s the new website:

http://www.thepalm.com/

There are moving parts without it being distracting. There are multigenerational shots, showing younger and older people enjoying dining together. There is a requisite number of trendy ear-length closely cropped sideburns and more than a fair share of modern pricey eyewear while retaining more than a few receding hairlines, pin-striped suits and grey haired, well-tended older types as well. This seem quite intentional. The Palm is known for having an older clientele and so, it would seem incumbent on them to try to steal market share from hipper, more trendy expensive restaurants. There’s enough food porn to caress the eye and the site is fairly logically laid-out and easy to negotiate.

My friend wasn’t too specific but she implied that there were going to be some menu refreshes as well as some changes in presentation. She said that she actually went to one of the restaurants that has started the change and was pleasantly surprised. She said that the plates had changed but didn’t get too specific about any other changes.

I tried to find a cached version of the old website but didn’t have any success. Trust me when I say that it was bleak. I can’t really comment on whether or not the menu needs refreshing as I’ve never dined out there (it’s a bit out of my price range). Having reported on some of their menu changes, I’ve seen their menu and it seems fairly old-school, so perhaps it could stand to move forward a little. But they are quite successful and have been since the 20s, so I suspect that, as with their website, they will update without losing touch with what has made them the hit that they have been.

The Palm isn’t the only steakhouse to refresh. They’ve all done it during this time of economic crisis. whether it’s offering bar food specials or bundled meals for lesser prices, look for more, not less of this sort of refresh. Other restaurant routinely tweak their product yearly, sometimes doing enough to call it an actual refresh or, more often, just doing enough to call it a tweak. People like familiarity, but they also don’t want to eat in a stale environment. they need just enough change to make them feel like they’re eating in a newly-scrubbed dining room with a modern menu. 

Man, all of this from watching Doctor Who.

One thing though, BBC producers, don’t you think it’s time for a female Doctor? 

From the Palm website.

Analyst optimistic about restaurant growth

From Nation’s Restaurant News:

Improved sales expected in next round of restaurant earnings

Analyst: Chains still face higher commodity prices and shaky consumer confidence

October 6, 2010

Mark Brandau

While commodity price inflation looms on the horizon and the Consumer Confidence Index has retreated to its lowest level since February, Morgan Keegan analysts Robert Derrington, Destin Tompkins and Joe Drake think recent improving same-store sales at 15 of the restaurant companies the firm tracks should continue this quarter and into 2011.

Read the rest of the article here:

http://www.nrn.com/article/improved-sales-expected-next-round-restaurant-earnings

Change of seasons

We are now on the cusp of a new season. This has implications on several levels for waiters.

The main one is the effect of seasons on the guest. This drives everything from eating habits to dining patterns to mood.

Eating habits change. This drives culinary offerings in restaurants that have seasonal menus as well as altering the ordering patters of the guest. The restaurant might have a consistent menu mix but even those restaurants find diners choosing different items and some of this is location dependent. If a location is in a place that has an oppressive summer weather, the guest naturally chooses lighter fare like fruit based dishes, fish instead of steak, lighter wines. As the weather starts to cool down, they start choosing heartier fare, which culminates in lots of rich, comfort food by mid-winter. Wines gradually move from things like crisp sauvignon blancs and pinot noirs to big, oaky chardonnays and chewy dense cabernets and rustic, spicy and bold zinfandels.

The change of seasons also changes dining patterns. Each change of season is accompanied by big holidays or events that change the frequency of dining. Whether it’s parents dealing with sending kids back to school around the time of the big blowout farewell to summer, Labor Day, or Thanksgiving signalling the true beginning of fall, or Memorial Day triggering the desire to cook out or hit the lake, the change of seasons is the kick in the butt to the complacency that the day to day drudgery of waiting tables engenders. The change of seasons also falls in line with the start of various pro sports seasons and this can impact reservations both positively and negatively, especially for those cities lucky enough to have sports franchises. 

So what’s a waiter to do?

Now’s the time to acknowledge that change is coming. Some of you have already noticed it. This isn’t the time to let your guard down or rely on the status quo. If you are counting on a certain level of income and the guests stop coming for a week or two while they get their kids in school, you’ll be for a big shock.

Now is also the time to use your menu knowledge to your advantage. If you can get in sync with the guest’s internal rhythms, you can show yourself almost on an unconscious level that you are creating the perfect dining experience for the guest. You’ll find your suggestions flowing instead of fighting the impression that you are just trying to sell the guest something. You are trying to sell the guest something – the perfect culinary experience. You start using your wine and alcohol knowledge to the advantage of both you and the guest. For instance, when someone asks you for a beer suggestion in the middle of a humid summer, instead of randomly picking a beer or your own personal favorite, you steer the guest toward a summertime perennial, wheat beer instead of a Guinness. Of you discuss the advantages of choosing that violet-scented viognier that you have never been able to sell in the past. It’s all about matching food and drink to the climate.

See the change of seasons as an opportunity and a challenge. By staying in tune with the seasons, you force yourself to stay current on your menu and alcohol knowledge. You fine-tune your knowledge of the flow of your restaurant. Most restaurants are fairly predictable in terms of ebb and flow. It might not be totally congruent year day to year day, but patterns emerge over time. It’s almost like the restaurant has a unique biorhythm. This is one argument for staying with one restaurant instead of bouncing around, trying to find the new hot restaurant. The longer you stay with a restaurant, the more you can deal with the natural ups and downs of a particular place.

The seasons are your friend, but only if you embrace them.

 http://verydemotivational.com/category/motivated-photos/?id=60941

Restaurants go to the dogs in Nashville

In a new trend, restaurants are allowing dogs to accompany their owners on selected restaurant  patios in Nashville. This isn’t a new thing for me to experience, as it’s quite common in Europe for patrons to bring their dogs with them in restaurants. It’s probably even pretty common to have al fresco Fido dining in other parts of the country. But it’s a pretty new thing here.

Due to health codes, it will probably always be forbidden for dogs to come in the dining room (with the exception of dogs for the disabled). Personally, I think it’s a shame, but, to be honest, some guests probably wouldn’t have the sense not to bring a dog unless it was totally comfortable with lying still for a couple of hours at the foot of its owner. Look at the problems we have with children sometimes!

http://www.tennessean.com/article/20100826/FEATURES01/8260302/Dog-friendly-restaurants-welcome-all-to-dinner

Occasionally, I’ve seen people sneak their tiny dogs in a large purse. Happened just a couple of months ago. Back when I was managing a restaurant, we had a homeless-looking guy sitting at the bar who had a red squirrel under his coat. I thought to myself, “Hmmmm, now we have a new soup of the day”.

 

I ordered my peanut MEDIUM RARE! I want to see your manager RIGHT NOW!

 If you have this image as your wallpaper, then I’m worried about you. However, if you don’t have this as your wallpaper and desperately crave it, then, by all means, go here, the source of the photo:

http://www.1280x1024desktopwallpapers.com/1280x1024wallpapers-animals.php

Personally, I have a photo of a Patagonian Toothfish (aka sea bass) as my wallpaper. No lie! But let me tell you, it ain’t warm and fuzzy:

Blind waiters and dining in the dark

This interesting story about a restaurant where the waiters are blind and diners dine in the dark:

http://abcnews.go.com/Travel/blind-waiters-serve-diners-dark-restaurant/story?id=11431202

What an intriguing idea!

From Restaurant Report – what’s wrong with kids these days?

From The Great Debates” series at “Restaurant Report”:

The State of Service in our Restaurants

Original Article:

BRAVE NEW ORDER
By Jack Mauro

A man I worked for, a maitre’d/restaurant owner of the Old School, once told me that he always ignored resumes and applications when hiring servers. He’d nod, make polite noises as the applicant presented himself, and then he’d ask the person to bring a folder or a sheet of meaningless paper over to the bar. He would watch how the person walked, moved, and generally performed this relatively simple task. And he would base his decision to hire primarily on that.

On first sight, this is a pretty flimsy, if not downright pompous, sort of interview procedure. But there’s wisdom to it, and it’s at least as sound as the stats listed on any application which can tell you nothing of how this person carries himself; which, in turn, is pivotal in getting a sense of what this character is all about.

That man has since retired, although “retreated” might be the better word. It seems he was hiring fewer and fewer people towards the end. The walks he witnessed had become struts, and badly dressed kids, who swore they needed a job, regarded the request he would make to carry over the paper as burdensome.

Read the rest of the article here:

http://www.restaurantreport.com/greatdebates/service.html

Yes, the article is a bit curmudgeonly. And there are plenty of young servers that I’ve worked with who have a great work ethic and a great attitude, just as there are old grumps such as myself who are always yelling for those kids to “get off my yard”! (at least the workplace equivalent of it.)

The one thing that I take issue with is this:

“…any waiter who approaches his table consciously anticipating a tip amount is no waiter. And this is precisely what you encourage when you tell these kids that they’re salespeople”.

Frankly, I am one of those who consciously anticipates a tip. and I am a waiter. The tip is my rationale for working. And face it, we are salespeople. But here’s what I don’t do. Even though I’m human and I’ll do a little prejudging regarding the tipping abilities of the guest based on their demeanor, I don’t tailor my service to them unless I know for a fact that they are poor tippers (we have more than our share of regulars and yes, some of them are not very good tippers). No, I’m not going to spit in their food or sabotage their meal, but I’m not going to give them the priority that I give the rest of my diners.  I’m not going to give them my best recommendations, I’m not going to sweat if their food is running a little behind; basically they’re going to get the service that they pay for.

And I’m a seller. But here’s the difference – I only sell to enhance the meal, not to raise the check, although it’s a byproduct of my selling efforts. Sometimes, rather than upselling, I’ll actually downsell if it’s in the benefit of the guest. It’s all about The Experience. Greed is never the goal. Great money will be harvested if you work in the interest of the guest at all times.

Sorry for the strange formatting in the first quoted paragraph – that’s how it came along for the ride.

When you go to this page, you’ll find links to other interesting articles, so click on them and have some fun!

Yeah, I’m your waiter. What the fuck do you want?