So You Want To Be A Waiter

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

Tag Archives: revenge

Another recent “restaurant scandal” highlighted by Waiter Rant

I’ll leave Steve to outline the story:

Waiter assaulted with mashed potatoes and survives!


Diner Patron Threatens to Kill Server Over Subpar Food

by John Del Signore

Speaking of things waiters should “never” do, here’s something a diner should never do: throw your food at the server and threaten to kill him or her. On Wednesday night one Steven Scott, 40, was arrested for assaulting a server at the New York Fried Chicken Diner on Fulton Street in East New York. Hapless waiter Baljit Singh says it all started when Scott came in at 11:30 p.m. and ordered mashed potatoes. After a couple bites, Scott “started griping about the nasty tasting food.” So he was given a new serving of potatoes, but this didn’t satisfy him either. Oh, no it did not.

Read the rest of the story here:

New link added – Waiting in Vegas

I haven’t added a link in a while. Some of it is my patented laziness, some of  it is the busyness of the restaurant that I work in, and some of it is my notorious ability to be distracted by shiny objects.

There’s one other reason as well. I’ve added links to sites that have gone dormant. I’m not talking about dormancy like this blog has undergone recently where I might miss a day or two – I’m talking no posts for months.  So I’ve been a little more careful adding links. There are quite a few that I’m going to get around to in the coming weeks, so if you have a waiter’s blog that you think is worthy to be added, feel free to provide the link in the comments section. If you don’t want to accidentally fall into my spam folder, you’ll need to make a personal comment that refers directly to the content of this blog. You might already be on my radar and I just haven’t gotten around to adding you, and if that’s the case, I apologize.

Anyway, this is a caustic, sometime scathing look at waiting tables in Las Vegas, the land of dreams, escorts, flagship restaurants, and, currently, Top Chef.

I hope you enjoy it in all of its profane glory.

More on the Sparks Steak House settlement

Read the rest of the article here:


Photo by Jonathan Barth

Your waiter could be a lawyer

So remember, not only can you be served by your waiter, you could be served by your waiter.

Sparks Settles With Waiters for $3 Million

From the blog Grub Street New York:

Sparks Settles With Waiters for $3 Million

  • 10/23/09 at 11:05 AM

Alexandra Vallis 

Sparks Settles With Waiters for $3 MillionPhoto: Jennifer MacFarlane

It’s payday for waiters at Sparks: The steakhouse must award $3 million to around 200 servers who charged that they were shorted on pooled tips in a class-action lawsuit.

Read the rest of the blog post here:

Burning bridges

One of the realities of working in a restaurant is the often transitory nature of working in a restaurant.

There is a myriad of reasons that this is true.

One is the fact that workers themselves see the job as transitory. They don’t consider it a “career”.  They consider it something to do while pursuing their education. They consider it a job worth jettisoning if another hot new restaurant comes around. They don’t consider it “full-time” because they don’t work 40 hours a week and they don’t work consistent hours. They might not feel like they are an essential part of the “team” or that they are unappreciated. Part of it is burnout, pure and simple.

Another part of the equation is the fact that restaurants often consider their workers “disposable”. Part of this is based on the attitudes of the service staff itself. Part of this is based on the high turnover and the fact that not everyone is suited for the job. Part of this is the wage structure. Part of this is the low cost of job entry and training.  Part of this is turnover in management itself. And part of this based on the burnout factor that I’ve previously noted. Management is often burned by waiters who simply no-show because they’ve found another “better paying job” or they’ve simply “had enough”. The proliferation of waiter bitch sites highlights the challenges that waiters face when trying to feed a picky and demanding public.

One of the goals of this blog is to get both management and staff to consider waiting tables in a different light – i.e. a worthy career instead of a “placeholding” type job.

And yet, despite the best efforts of staff and management, a waiter might find him or herself in the position of deciding to leave. For purposes of this discussion, I’m going assume that the waiter is voluntarily leaving.

If you decide to leave, think long and hard about just quitting and pulling a no-show. Burning bridges is never a good idea, for several reasons. First of all, the “greener pastures” that you think you are departing to might actually be a barren field. Second of all, you want to get a good job recommendation from your current employer in the future. And third, you should consider yourself a professional. The restaurant community is often tightly knit. Managers know each other; waiters hang out together. Your rep is an important thing to preserve. It might mean the difference in getting that prestigious job that you are trying to move up to.

There are a couple of obstacles to leaving on good terms. Management might feel “betrayed” by your leaving. They might also not want to keep you on during a two week notice because of a lack of confidence that you will complete your shifts or because of security reasons based on previous experience with other waiters who haven’t been professional in their dealings with the company. They might not let you give a two weeks notice. If this is the case, there’s not much you can do except to offer a written two weeks notice and ask them to reciprocate. If you have been a responsible and reliable waiter during your term of employment, they might actually let you stay. By providing a written two week notice, you preserve your reputation as a professional even if they refuse to let you stay on. If they waive this two weeks notice and let you move on, then they have made that choice themselves and aren’t forced into it by you. This will look better in the future if they are called upon to give you a recommendation.

Your new job might want you to start immediately. If this is the case, you might want to point out to them that you are a professional and you need to give your current employer two weeks notice. This puts them on notice that you are a professional at the very beginning of your employment. You might point out to them that you expect to give them the same consideration should you leave. This will help you jump-start your rep with the new management. If they don’t understand this, it should give you pause as to their own professionalism.

An employer is constrained legally by what they can tell a prospective employer. If you use your current employer as a future reference, about the only thing they can say is whether or not you are eligible for rehire or not (at least on the record). You want to preserve your eligibility for rehire and you do this by offering a written two week notice. This doesn’t mean that they would rehire you, just that you left on good terms. By doing this, you avoid gaps in your resume. Many waiters don’t look at the long-term implications of changing jobs and burning bridges. Three years from now when you are up for that great job, you don’t want a year long gap in your employment history because you know you screwed a restaurant by not showing up for that Friday night shift. Plus, you don’t want a manager going “off-the-record” and telling a prospective employer that you didn’t even bother giving notice and you simply no-showed. This sort of thing is done all of the time and is hard to prove, especially when managers know each other. They know how to preserve confidences and realize the ramifications of disclosing what they have found out about you. They’ll simply tell you that they don’t have a place for you at the moment. 

Giving a two weeks notice doesn’t mean that you can’t try to schedule some training shifts at your new place of employment. One of the great things about working in a restaurant is the fact that you have a flexible schedule and you should be able to work around your existing schedule. Sure, it will make your training at the new job more protracted, but at least you will continue to earn a regular income during the low-paying training phase.

If you do give a two weeks notice, make sure you either show up for all of your shifts or you get your shifts covered. Make sure you talk to your GM and get his or her assurance that you will be given a good recommendation. Doing these simple steps will help assure that you will get a good recommendation, plus, if you find that you shouldn’t have left for any reason, it will help you get rehired. You might want to come back because management has changed. You might want to return because the new restaurant wasn’t the money-printing machine that you thought it would be or the working conditions aren’t to your liking.

The important thing is to not burn bridges. By avoiding this syndrome, you rise another rung on the professionalism ladder. Even if you aren’t going to stay in the restaurant business, this can only help you in whichever career you decide to make. Take the long view – it will benefit you far more than you might realize.


Frank Bruni writes a book

Food critic pens book about relationship with food

By ADAM GOLDMAN, Associated Press Writer Adam Goldman, Associated Press Writer 57 mins ago

NEW YORK – When Frank Bruni stepped on the scene as the chief restaurant critic for The New York Times more than five years ago, many industry insiders and observers thought the choice was odd.

Bruni had no previous experience reviewing restaurants. He hadn’t sweated long hours behind a hot range in a well-regarded kitchen learning his craft. He knew how to shape sentences but what did he know about simmering sauces?

But even odder was Bruni’s love-hate relationship with food — something he now acknowledges in his new memoir, “Born Round: The Secret History of a Full-Time Eater.”

The revelation isn’t exactly shocking but it is unusual. Bruni, the man who had volunteered to eat out six nights a week, had obsessed about his weight for most of his life. He had battled bulimia briefly, toyed with laxatives and torpedoed many a diet — all the trimmings for his third book.

“I remember thinking if I look up after a couple of years and I am right, and I have figured out a better way to manage my relationship with food, it’s probably a pretty interesting narrative how I got to this point,” Bruni says about the moment he decided to take the job.

Read the rest of the article here:

Books Frank Bruni



















By the way, this “Wanted Poster” wasn’t constructed by Jeffery Chodorow, who likely doesn’t have that much imagination. It is the invention of the blog, Jaunted.

Poll finds around 75% of restaurants in Memphis and Nashville will ban guns

“Walt Baker, CEO of the Tennessee Hospitality Association, said his group has received about 100 responses to a statewide survey of 650 restaurant owners. He said 78 percent of the respondents said they would ban guns on their premises.

Of the other 22 percent, about half were concerned that posting signs would hurt business by turning off potential customers who aren’t familiar with the law and might wonder about a restaurant’s reputation.

The percentages are about the same among Memphis restaurant owners, said Mike Miller, president of the Memphis Restaurant Association.”

Read the whole article here:

As background, the Tennessee legislature has passed the only law in the nation that specifically allows guns in restaurants that serve alcohol and bars. It allows the restaurant owner to opt out if they post a sign saying that no guns are allowed.

(Editorial comment follows):

As some have pointed out, it would have been more logical to let restaurant owners “opt-in” rather than opt-out. That way, you’d post a sign saying that guns were allowed, which seems like a more logical way to keep “the bad guys” away instead of letting the bad guys know that fewer people would presumably be armed in a given establishment. But public safety really wasn’t the gun lobby and the gun fanatics goal here, despite protestations to the contrary. This opt-out clause proves that. It also shows that the gun lobby and the legislature is willing to sacrifice public safety in order to promote an agenda. Sad.


Court challenge to Tennessee allowing guns in alcohol-serving establishments

First of all, I’m against concealed carry permit holders bringing their weapons into my restaurant or any other restaurant. Alcohol and guns don’t mix well. And I’ve heard all of the arguments.

Basically, the law states that a permit holder can bring a weapon into an establishment that serves alcohol but can’t drink while carrying.  The article that I’m linking to implies that Tennessee might be the only state out of the 37 states that allow concealed-carry permits to specifically allow guns in bars and restaurants (27 forbid it outright). Tennessee has also recently passed a law that allows guns to be toted in public parks as well, which seems rather insane to me. Governor Bredesen vetoed the guns in restaurants bill but it was overriddenby the Senate. Bredesen was resigned to signing the second guns in parks bill doe to the political realities currently in the Legislature.

Fortunately, opponents to the bill in the state legislature demanded an opt-out clause to both pieces of legislation. Municipalities are now free to pass local ordinances banning weapons in public parks (Davidson,home to Nashville and neighboring Williamson County and Shelby county, home of Memphis) are among the first to rush to beat the Sep. 1st  start of the new state law.

Furthermore, many restaurant owners are now posting “No Guns Allowed” on their front doors, including Randy Rayburn, one of the leaders in the fight to have the new guns in restaurant law declared a “public nuisance”. Rayburn, owner of venerable Sunset Grill, Midtown Cafe, and newish hot spot Cabana is willing to risk the wrath of the gun lobby and the more rabid elements of the gun ownership population. He fears that public safety will be compromised, employer liability increased, and tourism possibly hurt. Even the police seem queasy about the possibilities inherent in allow guns and alcohol to mix.

Here’s one article about the challenge to the law.

BTW, I was a .50cal gunner and Track Commander in my Mechanized Infantry platoon, so I’m pretty well-schooled and familiar with guns of all types.  I qualified not only “Expert” with the M-16 and M-60, I was also “Sharpshooter” with a Colt .45 (just didn’t have much need to get “Expert” with that one since I didn’t carry one like my hot-shot 2nd Lt. did). 

And now, a gratuitous and obviously staged shot of a gunshot victim being helped by a manaical Clive Owen (I decided that a real picture of a gunshot victim would be too graphic.