So You Want To Be A Waiter

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

Tag Archives: workplace issues

Take this job and shove it…

From USA Today:

JetBlue flight attendant strikes a nerve with stressed workers

NEW YORK — JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater was apparently mad as hell and wasn’t going to take it anymore.After reportedly exchanging words with a passenger who had hit him on the head with a piece of luggage on a flight that arrived at JFK Airport here Monday, Slater took to the jet’s public address system to curse the flier. He then bid the flight — and by his own acknowledgment, his job — adieu by sliding down the plane’s emergency exit chute, but not before quickly grabbing a beer from the jet’s galley.

Once on the tarmac, Slater made his way to his car and drove to his home in nearby Queens.

Slater, 38, was arraigned Tuesday in New York City Criminal Court on charges of criminal mischief, trespassing and reckless endangerment. Although his actions landed him in jail, they won him a legion of fans on the Internet and on talk-radio shows across the nation. His dramatic exit struck a nerve with many overworked, recession-weary Americans— or folks who have been frustrated by the conduct of fellow airline passengers. Messages of support for Slater flooded Facebook pages and Internet message boards.

“He did what all working stiffs have only dreamt of,” a reader who identified himself as Brill Galt wrote on USA TODAY’s reader response line. “Millions of Americans WISH they could have quit in that fashion. … Free Slater!!!”

Read the rest of the article here:

To me, this is the takeaway:

“Before scooting down the chute, prosecutors said, Slater went on the jet’s PA system where he said, ‘Those of you who have shown dignity and respect these last 20 years, thanks for a great ride’.”

This goes for co-workers as well. For those who don’t show respect for their co-workers, this applies as well. The restaurant business is tough enough without us eating our own. You should show dignity and respect for the weakest among you.

Republican candidate for governor goes after tipped employees

Tom Emmer girds for overpaid waiter reaction

By Hart Van Denburg, Fri., Jul. 9 2010 @ 7:45AM

Waiters and waitresses around the state were startled to learn the other day that Republican candidate for governor Tom Emmer thought they were overpaid, after hearing about a very few servers at a St. Paul resto who reportedly make more than $100,000 a year.

Emmer managed to generalize that out-of-the-ballpark outlier stat to all servers in the state: He wants restaurant owners to be able to pay their wait staff a baseline sub-minimum wage.

Here’s the quote that got him in trouble:

“With the tips that they get to take home, there are some people earning over $100,000 a year. More than the very people providing the jobs and investing not only their life savings but their families’ future.”

Make it up in tips, he told servers — as if tips represent predictable income.

Read the rest of this blog post here:

The interesting thing is that Tom Emmer is a lawyer.  The “average” wage for lawyers nationwide is $110,590 according to the Bureau of labor Statistics. The average wage for a waiter in Minnesota is $ $22,730. Nationwide, t’s about $18,000 average. This is due to the higher “minimum wage” allowed to be paid in Minnesota verses some parts of the country – a whopping $6.15 for restaurants that gross over $675,000, which is probably the vast majority of restaurants in the states. Mr. Emmer should note that this is still under the national minimum wage.

Now, I hear you saying, “What’s the big deal?” Of course lawyers should average $110,000 because they have to graduate from a college or university as well as go to an expensive law school. I agree. And yet, there are many lawyers who make less than that. Public defenders and criminal defense lawyers can make less. In fact, according to, the average is $74,000 and someone who comments about this figure at this site notes that the figure drops when you consider the net income. You might consider those roughly analagous to beginning waiters or waiters  who work in places that allow them to earn close to the average. In my experience, most waiters make around $25 – 30k once they get established. Some who work in more exclusive restaurants make $40k – 100k, but 100k is extremely rare. The norm is more like $40k – 60k and this is still a very small percentage of the workforce. In my city, for instance, there are probably 10 or less restaurants out of about 600 where most of the waiters can earn that kind of money. there are probably another 20 where the top producers can reach those levels and that might be one or two popular waiters with lots of call parties.

There are many lawyers who make far more than $100,000 though. Lots  more. I daresay that there are a lot of lawyers who make $200,000 – $500,000 per year, far more than the relative handful of waiters in Minnesota that make $100,000. Ibn fact, there are quite a few lawyers who make $1,000,000+, which would be the equivalent of a waiter making a million a year. I can guarantee that there are exaxtly ZERO waiters who make $1,000,000/yr waiting tables.

So, by using Emmer’s logic, we should create a statute limiting the amount that a lawyer can charge per hour or the percentage that a lawyer can get from a successful civil suit, right?

It’s funny how Republicans talk about people lifting themselves up by their bootstraps but are quick to take the bootstraps away.

Emmer looks at a handful of waiters in St. Paul in an exclusive restaurant (the equivalent of a successful private practice lawyer) and extrapolates that to every meat and three in the state (the equivalent to the humble public defender). What ever happened to encouraging the American dream by encourage people to move up in their careers (this isn’t to say that lawyers should only chase the dollar, but accept that just as there’s a need for waiters to work in cafes and meat and threes, there’s a need for public defenders, but public defenders whould have the right to move up dollar-wise if they so choose and they shouldn’t be hamstrung by being spotlighted as “drags on the system”).

Minnesota waiters should look at the blog post and note that he’s holding a town hall meeting about this issue on Wednesday of next week. Details can be found in the post. I just wonder how many waiters will be able to get off of their dinner shifts to attend the 4:30 meeting.

He looks just as you might expect, doesn’t he?

PS, I have friends who are Republicans who don’t ascribe to the idea that you need to cripple workers’ wages in order for business to succeed. So, my comment about Republicans shouldn’t be taken as anything other than a generalization. I also know Democrats who pander to big business so there’s that too.

Spanish researchers find that non-smoking laws help waiters quit smoking


Anti-Smoking Law Helps Waiters To Quit Smoking

“Researchers from the Catalan Institute of Oncology have studied the impact of the law banning smoking in public places such as bars and restaurants on those working in these places. The results are positive – 5% of waiters have stopped smoking, and the number of cigarettes smoked by those who still smoke has fallen by almost 9%”.

Read more about the study here: