Apr 22 2006, 02:49 PM
Oh boy, tyger, good luck!
All I can say is that if you make a mistake (and you will!) just apologize and make it up to your patron. People really get pissed if something goes wrong and they feel like you dont care. Also, always check on each table even if they look like everything is fine. When I started serving I felt like if my patrons looked content, I didnt want to bother them,...but I was wrong because I would get complaints that once I brought the order I never checked back to make sure they were satisified. I assumed they would just wave to me if they needed something but for the most part, people dont want to have to do that.
People will be jerks to you but you just have to grin and bear it, and save your anger for ranting on this board!
Speaking of rants....! Do you ever get those snobby patrons that like to test you? Last night a patron asked me what "maduros" meant, as he pointed to "platanos maduros" on the menu. I said it meant "sweet", and he said, "no it means ripe, but that was close!" !!! Can you believe that jerk! He was friggin testing me! grrrr.
Apr 22 2006, 03:46 PM
i'm hoping i don't have to deal with patron testing, seeing as i'm working in an asian buffet restaurant (it's, like, mostly vietnamese with random thai stuff, and then onion rings, too.) i made, like, 4$ in tips, which is good for that kind of place (for some reason people in my town think they don't need to tip all that much at asian restaurants, unless they're the ones with sushi and stuff), and i think i had maybe 5 tables during the whole shift.
i'm just hoping i get enough hours to pay for school next year
Apr 22 2006, 03:46 PM
Greenbean, I used to hate those people who were seemingly professional restaurant-goers. Inevitably they were trying to impress the people they were with by showing off how much they knew about food or wine. I've always said you can tell a lot about people by how they behave to waitstaff.
Tyger, I haven't worked in restaurants for years, but for me training was usually about halfway helpful. You learn the specifics (usually anecdotally) about how that particular place works which is useful, but you're also given a bunch of busywork instructions (sorting out condiments to folding napkins and polishing silverware) about doing those tasks correctly which frankly, IME, can be a load of crap. It's good not to shirk those tasks because you'll piss off your coworkers otherwise, but generally working the floor is the real learning curve. You'll be fine; you'll pick up the lion's share of what you need to know through experience. And yes, always ask questions if you're unsure and always admit to mistakes. You're only human. And good luck! I learned so much about dealine with people and workplace politics from waitressing.
Apr 23 2006, 07:49 PM
Greenbean, I console myself by thinking that these know-it-all/show-off asshats probably have no real friends to speak of. Um, yeah, like your dinner companions really care whether or not the wine they're drinking was put through malolactic fermentation. Zzzzzzzz... boring.
I'm so over this job.
That is all.
Apr 24 2006, 11:21 AM
You know who bugs me? The people that go all over town looking for the "best" fill-in-the-blank. I just met tiramisu guy. He says we need to chop the chocolate more coarsly. I say he needs to make his own damn Tira and not bug me about it. Fuck that guy!
*walks away, fists balled up*
Apr 25 2006, 02:08 PM
Then on the other hand, you have the very non-gourmet crowd that ask for stuff we dont have, and then get frustrated when we dont have it. example:
"I'll have the salad but can you replace the coconut vinaigrette with ranch please?"
"Sorry, we dont have ranch"
"What! How can you not have ranch!?...I guess I'll just have a burrito instead"
"Um, we are a Cuban place not Mexican, so, um, sorry no burritos."
"No burritos!?, fine I'll have to think about it,..in the mean time can we have some chips and salsa for the table?"
"um...we dont do that here...."
Those situations are always uncomfortable, because I don't want to come off as a snob but sometimes I want to shake them and say "why did you come HERE!? Theres a taqueria and a burger joint down the street!"
Apr 27 2006, 06:17 AM
Hey Tyger--I was you in a past life! I worked at a Chinese buffet for about 5 years in my hometown (through high school and part of college). You have to realize that there are a lot of cheap fucks out there who don't want to pay anything and eat as much as humanly possible. But, looking back, I have forgotten most of the rotten assholes (except for the one prick who yelled at me on EASTER Sunday while I was working at Cheddar's) and just remember the friends I still have who were servers with me.
I did some really mean things while I was a server--licking people's lemons when I had a chest cold, recycling fried noodles, dropping egg rolls on the floor--so you will have ample opportunity to exact revenge on the negative patrons!
Apr 27 2006, 07:11 PM
Don't Do It!!! getting caught coughing in someone's gazpacho is WAY worse than just learning to not give a crap about stupid patrons.
my 2 cents.
Apr 28 2006, 11:34 PM
Yes, I'm with pepper. I've waited on some truly rude and clueless people, but I've never done any 'revenge' service. I've mostly worked for small, family-run restaurants or else for chefs that take their work really seriously. In those restaurants, the food itself and the reputation of the business were too important and meaningful to risk for secret revenge on a jerk.
Weirdly enough, in all my years of food service work, I only witnessed one incident of food tampering revenge. At a large fine dining place, one of the bartenders put Windex in the dining room manager's after-shift drinks. The DR manager was a true asshat. A few months later, somebody slashed his tires.
Apr 29 2006, 11:34 PM
ooh, the windex revenge. truly, he must have been heinous to deserve such punishment. that's almost as bad as visine, yikes.
Apr 29 2006, 11:42 PM
My boyfriend's brother worked as a room service waiter at a hotel when he was in college. There was a woman there on business, staying for about a week and got most of her meals from room service. She was a real pain in the ass, always bitching about something and sending food back for no good reason. On her 3rd day or so, she sent back the vegetables that came with her entree back because they weren't hot enough or not enough sauce, something like that. My BIL took it back to the kitchen and the chef had enough of her crap, so he dropped trou and peed in them, then warmed them up some more...I guess the smell of cooked pee was worth it!
My dad has been a waiter for over 30 years, and he said that there's been plenty of times when he's wanted to do something bad to customers food, but like you said, edna, it's not worth the reputation of the restaurant to do so. I think karma will take care of rude customers!
May 4 2006, 01:23 AM
I disagree--I think that customers have to understand that there might be retribution for being bitchy and rude. Otherwise we are all out there making $3.15 an hour without any recourse.
Then again, I have not been a server since 1998 so maybe things have changed.
May 4 2006, 01:24 AM
Ay, mamachka, double post!
May 4 2006, 03:11 PM
3.15 and hour? my god, that's an awful wage. i'm making at least 6$/hour, and it's more likely that i'm making 8$. how could anyone survive on a ridiculous wage like 3.15$?
so far so good. i get suckily few hours, and if i'm not working dinner i'm lucky to make more than 5$ in tips. so i'm still looking for a second job. i'm just proud that all i've spilled is half a tray of chow-mein, and that i didn't get any on anybody. that is my waitressing accomplishment
May 9 2006, 12:16 PM
okay, is it normal for the first month or so a person works as a waitress that they are given a single lunch shift a week? because that's all i've been given, and i'm sorry, but i was under the impression that they actually needed another waitress, and i stopped looking for work because i got the job. now i'm slowly eating away at my bank account because i make 12$/week plus less than ten dollars in tips. so, is this normal practice? or is it odd and i should go back to looking for work instead of waiting for my hours to increase?
May 9 2006, 12:33 PM
Tyger, in a lot of restaurants that kind of thing is very normal. Sucky, but normal.
If you're in the states, though, your hourly wage plus your tips must be equal to minimum wage our your employer must pay you the difference. Since it is unlikely that you can live on the minimum wage, either, I suggest continuing your job search. There is too much cash to be made as a server to be having the fight you're gearing up for.
May 11 2006, 07:35 AM
Tyger, I think that's ridiculous. I know that it's normal to put new servers on lunch and brunch shifts, but that's shifts, plural, not a shift. Did you ask about scheduling before they hired you? If you're not getting what they promised you, you should speak up.
I put in my notice this week. So for this three-week period, I'm going to be more like a casual observer than anything else. My two years of rocking the boat, taking a stand, and trying to change the way things work for the better are over. I shrug everything off and laugh at the absurdity.
Um, now I just need to find a non-restaurant job where I can make this much money.
(Not. going. to. happen.)
May 11 2006, 11:44 AM
Ris, would you consider bartending? I know you'd still be serving customers, but I found the power dynamic to be very different. I moved to bartending when I was sick of waitressing; it's faster and you don't have to form that relationship with a table. You just serve to people as and when--if you do build up 'relationships' with regulars it's more often because you choose to. And in a good place you shouldn't have to put up with abusive customers.
Just a thought, especially as you can make good money bartending in the US.
In any case, good luck with your next move, and congrats!
May 14 2006, 11:42 AM
Holy shit greenbean; your words just rang true for me.
I just started working in a dominican restaurant around the corner from me; the work is allright, its nearby, and with tips I make a little over $10 an hour, but holy mother of god, the drama.
The reason I have a job is one of the last waitress/busboy/countergirl/phone answerer(because we are ALL of those things, and only one person works at a time), Anna, quit because she claimed sexual harassment by the owner. I don't know if its true or not. The day I started, she sends two boys in to work for here, who obviously aren't allowed behind the counter. Then she and a girlfriend come down, tell the wife of the owner all these charges, and this screaming fight breaks loose. Which I just watch.
Next day, when theres no one in the restaurant, I go to the bathroom. Come back to the counter, and theres four girls sitting there, one of them Anna. One of her friend's orders an empanada, pays, but right after I tell the cook the order he sees them, and forgets to start making the food. Then they start screaming at the owner, insulting me, and the girls trying to get her job back. After 10 or 15 minutes of this, I realize theres a five dollar bill missing from tip jar. Finally, this screaming fight breaks loose, and the girl wants her food, and the cook looks at me and we both realize that he forgot to make it, and I hadnt written a ticket for it. The girl starts screeching, I tell her there's money missing from my tip jar.....and holy shit. The screaming.
Yesterday, two of the girls come in and want to be waited on. They test me on everything on the menu...this, whats this like? What's maduro's mean? What are plaintains? Do you serve Pina coladas? And I'm just like, girls, why are you doing this? And then the one starts crying. And they start insulting everything I'm doing again, and pay the bill with exact change, not a penny of tip.
Everything else about the job is fine...but their making it mad hard.
May 14 2006, 11:50 PM
goddess, vv, that sounds really freaking hard to deal with.
I came home very demoralized yesterday because a lack of sleep, PMS, a busy shift, and a slow but mouthy busser all combined and led to me bitching the hell outta said busser and giving the manager an earful as well. sigh. I know that I didn't say one thing that wasn't true or fair, but I know there's gonna be some 'edna is a bitch' talk going around for awhile. I hate that.
There's plenty o'drama in most restaurants, but violetviolet, yours sounds extra dramatic. If you can hold it together through that shit, you can work anywhere.
May 15 2006, 11:39 AM
I had drama at work last night, and I hate when it happens like this:
a large party had a reservation and they were upset with the size of the table. They seemed pretty snooty and I didnt want to argue with them so I did my best to give them extra attention and accommodation. Eventually they softened up and had a good time. My other tables seemed mellow so I thought the night was going pretty well. WRONG. When I dropped off the check to a table of three they were like "You know, after you took our order we never saw you again and we are very disapointed in your service and we just thought you should know blah blah blah...".....I was totally blindsided because they seemed cool, and unfortch, I was so concerned with the big party and afraid that they were gonna be the a-holes of the night, that I neglected my (thought to be) mellow tables. grrr! I HATE getting scolded like that. At least they tipped ok.
May 15 2006, 12:01 PM
so, i was ready to be on warpath at work today, making it very clear that if my hours didn't start going up i would be looking for other employment, because i need to pay for school next year and having a 2 hour a week job wasn't going to cut it.
but, i'm working three lunches and two dinners next week. on dinners i make close to 10$/hour in tips (and that was on a weeknight. i have a saturday dinner, too. i think that it was just sort of odd there because the boss was out of town (i was hired be the person-in-charge-while-boss-is-away). i'm still going to look for a second job of the part-time variety, but at least i'm not getting so totally shafted anymore
May 21 2006, 01:54 AM
All servers and former servers, I command you: Go to www.theonion.com
and click on the "opinion" piece, "Do Waiters Always Have to Swear So Much?"
May 21 2006, 08:59 AM
BAH HA HA HA HA HA! from your link edna, shave anywhere
May 23 2006, 11:18 PM
Zora, I know what you mean with the "best fill-in-the-blank" people. In New Orleans they come in everyday (I'm sure they do everywhere) and since I'm at the bar I can't leave, but stand there agreeing with them on who's the best at this and that, I'm trapped. Anyway, that tirimisu guy can go to hell...you know how annoyingly hard it is to whip that egg yolk/sugar mixture when making that shit? Here we get the "bananas foster was invented at Brenens, but it's good here, too" wink-wink crap.
Now that we're on Bananas Foster let me say this...do not go out to eat at one restaurant and then "stop" in at my restaurant "just" for Banana's Foster...and especially on a weekend. Yes, I do understand there are some places that entice people to want to simply come in for dessert, and we may be one of them. (and Banana's Foster is no ordinary dessert) But, my restaurant is set up in teams and these teams have a section that they will NEVER want filled with people who just want to order freaking dessert! This isn't a cafeteria. You don't wait to be seated along with others who are ready to order a full meal, a full meal that may lead to Banana's Foster, and rightfully so. Banana's Foster is an annoying big deal that takes freaking time! You have a cart with wheels, and fire, and rum and orange and banana liquor, brown sugar and everything else that makes it a pain in the ass...and you don't come in a busy restaurant just to stop everything so you can have your effing Banana's Foster! You wait for your table and you order the entire expensive meal and get the shit as just another TREAT for paying and taking the time to have the wonderful meal that we get to work early in preparation for! Yes, my bar is a beautiful room. Bartenders do not make banana's foster, do not expect a waitstaff team to break up and wheel that fucking cart in my bar just to waist their time serving you Banana's Foster either! I have to ask...why do you think everything is so much at your fucking leisure!?!?! When we do accomodate your sorry asses, and you end up watching this poor soul wheel that cart into my bar from the dining room, set everything on fire and waist their time on you...just to wheel it back into the dining room so they can have it ready for their guests who may order it after enjoying their "whole" meal...I have to ask again, what are you thinking?
We have a coffee drink that is on fire too (admittedly, the experience is awesome). It takes twice as long to prepare in front of the guests, they come into the bar for that, too?! They get into the rotation of reservations JUST FOR IT! So a team's section may have a four top coming in just for the coffee? And then that's their section skipped then on the next table that might sit down with full dinner and two bottles of wine. It is not a fucking cafeteria!
Where was I?
ViolentViolet...wholly shitsfire is that DRAMA! Our drama has dropped immensely. The whole "after Katrina" bit has everyone in accomodating moods. Both guests and staff.
As for the Onion bloke. Yeah, pretty funny. But, in reality dicks like him don't affect me as I'm the bartender and I kindly offer them other bars to go to...ones that'll serve them.
I like the ones that'll act like the professional-restaurant goers also, the ones that'll one up the "help" in front of their group...like the lady who asked of the Chardonnays we have by the glass and then smirks and laughs at me when I say "Pouilly Fuisse."
Ok, back to the reality of it all and that is this...working at my restaurant here in New Orleans now that Summer has arrived means only one thing...another job. Normally it's slow down here for the summers, but this one will be particularly slow...me thinks Doxy's gonna have to get another hustle to make it thru. Here's hoping.
May 24 2006, 04:10 PM
this is completely OT, but every time i see this tread title in the 'last day' listing, i crave something from a diner. chili cheese fries and a fountain soda with lots of crushed ice, perhaps?
May 24 2006, 10:27 PM
I just got home from serving at the Italian restaurant where I work. Fortunately, tonight went pretty smoothly so I'm not in full rant mode, but Doxy I empathise 100%. I hate those ignorant deuces who come in to drink tap water and share a half order of pasta, (share a half order!!?!) take up a four top and sit there "catching up" for five hours. The worst is that they act like that when there's a line up down the restaurant of people waiting for their reserved seat to finally open up.
Or, more closely related to your rant. After the kitchen is closed and we're trying to put up chairs and finally go home a friggin party of 8 will walk in for "dessert and coffee" aka Two slices of crostata to share and 8 decaf lattes. Shoot me. They will sit there with the chairs up around them. People are blinded by their own selfishness.
May 25 2006, 11:55 AM
someone snapped their fingers at me the other day. on what planet is finger-snapping the thing to do, huh? to make it worse, he was snapping for me to come take his credit card, when it's really clear you pay at the cash register at the front of the restaurant. wtf?
in other news, i discovered i do actually make the real minimum wage, not the 6$ starting wage crap my province has. it's 8$/hour plus tips for me, which means i've gone back to barely caring about what i make in tips.
i wish tipping didn't exist. i don't get why i should pay someone to do a job they're being paid to do (or, in my case, why people think they should leave some change on the table because i refill their drinks and clear their plates). i've always tipped, but now i have this urge to tip extremely well when i go out to eat, even though i still think it's a stupid custom. of course, nothing beats the time i was at the detroit airport and my dad tipped the guy who checked our luggage in for us, which struck me as the epitome of ridiculous tipping
i realize tipping is a part of our society and it won't go away with the snap of the fingers, but why not increase the price of food at restaurants be 15-20%, and waiters get better wages? or get paid a 'bonus' based on how the restaurant does each week (as tips are dependant on the bills for the most part, anyways). i guess i just feel kind of disgusted with myself when i feel so happy looking at my cup full of change every night that it makes me wish tipping didn't exist even more
May 25 2006, 12:26 PM
But, you have a point, and we all have points as well when it comes to tips. I have to go excersize now and then put on my tuxedo in preparation to work and make tips. When I get back I hope to have had sufficeint alcohol in order to properly get my point across regarding your wishing tipping didn't exist. I will not insult you in any way...I only hope, rather, that you'll have a better understanding when I'm thru. Of course, you could also always agree to disagree.
Until then, my friends, I hope the Goddess of income, Lady Fortuna, smiles upon you all...
May 25 2006, 03:19 PM
i'm looking forward to what you have to say, doxy. i realize i'm in the minority of servers/bartenders with my opinion. i really don't mean offense to anyone with my opinion, i understand that the vast majority of servers are pro-tip, and in some cases i think it's apropriate, but it just conflicts with my strong-willed independentness more than anything else
i think for me it comes down to despising relying on others. right now i have two five-ish (varies due to business) days and one lunch shift, which means my paycheques break 150$ if i'm really lucky (usually it's closer to 100-120, as we've been rather slow lately, making my days closer to 4 hours) is this enough for someone to live? no. is it enough for me to save up for school next year? barely. but i know if i put on my suzysunshine face, pretty and girly myself up, i'll increase my tips. increased tips means i can afford to take a week off in two months and go visit my friend who lives 12 hours away. it means i can go see x-men friday night, and go to 24 hour diners in the middle of the night with my friends when i'm bored. it means it doesn't matter if i don't get big scholarships, i'll make it through next year at school and not be in the red. and you know what? i hate (and i use the word 'hate' maybe three times a year) that my financial situation is more dependent on what my customers deem an apropriate tip than on the paycheques from my boss
also, i heart all you guys here, and i now have immensely more respect for hot waiters. i don't understand how they can stay looking so hot while working. i know i cant
May 25 2006, 07:07 PM
i think you have a GREAT idea. profit sharing with the servers would be AMAZING. then it wouldn't matter if you got a lousy tipper, it would be included in the bill and you'd get your share. all you'd have to do is upsell, which you do anyhow just Hoping that your patrons will tip well on the whole bill. i'm all for an added 15% and profit sharing. if it ever happens i'll don my penguin suit and relearn how to carry five large steaming hot plates at once.
May 25 2006, 09:43 PM
including the tip in the bill...very European. I don't think I would mind that too much, it just sort of evens the playing field and takes a bit of stress off the waiter. What I cannot stand is POOLING tips. What a rediculous idea. So I get to work my butt off while Jack Slack makes the same as me. Why do places implement this on their staff anyway? I've never understood the logic.
May 26 2006, 02:02 AM
First off...we're in America- where tipping has been added to the ever increasingly annoying social norm. Back in the day it was only accustomed to high end restaurants frequented by the privileged few who were able to attend such affairs. Gradually all kinds of people began tipping to prove they, too, were of such class...cue the snowball effect...and here we are: afraid/embarrassed not to tip, thus becoming "those" who were never expected to tip.
And so now we tip, and I always will, and I will also always have a problem tipping...here's why: I was there when 15% was expected, begrudgingly I accepted the new 18%, and I now tip 20% to someone who hasn't even served at Pizza Hut yet is allowed to drop a $40 plate on my table. Indeed it has become a scheme of gratuitous welfare, like it or not.
and it's because I don't like it that I do what I do...make the guest feel like their socially normal tipping was worth something to them. We have a museum in my restaurant, you won't know it unless it's mentioned and I make sure each guest is aware as I want them to get the most out of the high dollars they're dropping while dining. I'm a bartender and I'm sucked into discussion whether I like it or not and they like it so they tip. Because they tip I have to look at it this way- I want to deserve that tip. Back to the pizza hut comment, I served at pizza hut and I got tips according to what I knew…pizza, beer and bread-sticks. As I got older I moved on to restaurants with more challenges, I took a chance once at a beach resort town and bartended for an older clientele-eque restaurant. The guests took a chance with me, too, they explained the original martini movement, European dining and how it’s almost a lost art in America…and why it’s an Art at all. I looked at restauranting in a whole new way. There is an immense amount to learn, and it’s an immense amount to tolerate when under pressure. But at the end of the day you get tips and it’s business…and just like every community in the business world, the more you know the more you make. (I know I’ve gotten off why we get tipped, I guess I’m just explaining why I can come to terms with it…with the help of my Mariah’s Ridge Zinfandel…gets me every time) So I react differently as I see the approved tip rate moved to 20%, and I know there’s kids out there riding on the social norm of tipping in America, not giving a shit about the guests because it’s now in their court to ridicule as those sitting in their tables have the gun of social norm pointing at them…to me it’s social welfare only I won’t feel guilty about receiving it like Tyger does as she looks at her change jar at the end of the night. Because I’ve learned the flavoring agents in every single liquor/spirit I sell, I know the origins of each grape in the wines my restaurant offers and I am versed in pairing bottles with items on the menu…I know the history of cocktails and New Orleans’ importance in that movement, as well as every forgotten cocktail invented in this city. I wear a tuxedo to work every day and I tend bar in one of the most beautiful rooms in the whole town, I’m going to be tipped. It sounds like I’m proud and big on myself but in frank I like to treat it like a graduation and to be open with you I imagine this to be the last restaurant I work in. As if Pizza Hut lead to this, this and my understanding of tipping.
It’s like it’s my fight (along with yours) against the social welfare that is tipping. There’s bottles of wine, there are prices on plates and they all add up to inventory that is taken from the restaurant, if it were any other firm in business there’d be no tip, but it’s a restaurant and so there will be one. Think about it, you jog and need shoes, the bloke or bird at the shoe store sees your arch and has recommendation…you purchase shoes, you’re on your way. No tip for depleting that store’s inventory. My only explanation for this is this: there’s nothing social about shoe shopping. But, when it’s your anniversary, if it’s your birthday, if it’s a first date, if it’s because you want to be served, if it’s because you’re on a trip and can’t cook…it doesn’t matter the case…bottom line it’s social and it’s our nature. Computers can’t take our place, and that’s just further reason to be thankful and accommodating and knowledgeable.
I can’t argue that tipping isn’t absurd. I could argue that tipping could be racist (because think about it…if every starving black person were at the counters and tables instead of white persons that are in some cases assumed to be hard on their luck…would it really have reached 20%? Is there no “shade of attraction” involved in this?) When I order my Cos de Estournel St. Estephe and have it’s cork and wine cap mutilated, I’m sorry but I simply have to believe so….because why else am I tipping after all that has happened? Anyway, it is what it is and as I begin to feel ashamed I like to get back to knowing the differences between Armangac and Cognac; the history of Cointreau, triple sec and Cuaracao; why you serve food and beverages from the right or left, where to place the creamer and coffee pot if you do so; the five grapes of Bordeaux, the two grapes of Burgundy; what pastis is and why absinthe is illegal; how many bitters there are; what is port and what’s the difference between tawny and ruby; which spirits go in which glasses; which garnishes go with particular beverages; what sauces go with what items and why…my bar is a cigar friendly bar and so now I even know how to help guests choose a cigar as well as what to drink while puffing one. I don’t always get guests that are ready for everything my restaurant can offer, it’s the being ready and the ability to accommodate that makes the difference for when situations come where those who are ready to be served in such style that makes the difference…like last week when Bill Clinton and George Bush Sr and Ellen Degeneress came into my restaurant. In the meantime, I’ll gladly serve anyone who comes in and I’ll make sure whatever tip they leave is warranted.
I’ve gotten off topic and I’m drunk and I know I’ve not made much sense except to place praise to what can be working in the service industry. Of course I still blame the Zinfandel, but at least I tasted the dark cherries!
Tyger, you have a point. But, I believe you’ll take back your first stance in a couple years. After all it’s the social norm?! I’ve nothing to do with it, except to quaff away at my grape juice and go with the flow. I’m not some uppity schmuck either. I don’t go to Galatoire’s for lunch on Fridays even though I could, I don’t go to Antoine’s either, I don’t go to Emeril’s and I don’t go to Restaurant August (ok fine, I haven’t gone to my restaurant either)…I’d be alone (except for those that recognize me from serving them at my bar) and I’d be out of place. And so I’ll go to Finn McCools to watch international soccer or I’ll go to Nacho Mama’s and tip minimum 7 bucks on a ten dollar tab. Seven bucks at Finn McCools because I’ll be there at the bar on a stool for two hours while the bartender is trying to find something to do while I stare at the tv avoiding small talk; Seven bucks to the bird at NachoMama’s on a ten dollar tab because she’s doing service to tables and serving the bar as well and running around for food that won’t ever total 30 dollars. You don’t have to do the same, you just have to be able to accept whatever you do as ok in regards to what you think your social norm is ok being. If you can’t take the good with the bad in this industry I don’t think you’ll do well, because it’s more good than bad and I don’t mean monetarily speaking…because even though it’s a given: Americans like to tip because it’s one of the last constant forms in which they are able to show generosity towards those who are lower income workers…and so you still have to assume that lower-income-worker-role for a couple hours and it’s “how” you assume that position that I’m on about. So, I hope you do well. I also hope you, too, will fight those who insist on 20% gratuity to receive what they pay for. Me, on the other hand, I’ll just continue my spiel on how tipping came to be, why I detest it, though live by it…as I sit there at the table sipping on my glass of Champagne pondering the Pinot Meuniere and how much fun it would have been picking those grapes from those regions in a land far far away that ferments grape juices to the point I can inflate my table’s expenditures so that I’m able to make it to World Cup this year in Germany…just to come back home to complain about being stiffed on a tip.
May 26 2006, 07:17 AM
Doxy, you've made me thirsty...
I've always thought pooling tips was bullshit, from both sides. If I'm working my ass off, staying on top of stuff and still managing a rapport with my tables, I deserve every extra penny I earn. However, if I'm delicate from a late night and not doing so well, I shouldn't reap the rewards of someone who's on top form that night. The only argument I can see for pooling tips is if different sections have been unevenly (and unfairly) seated.
May 26 2006, 07:41 PM
i think that servers are paid an atrociously low wage in respect to their effort, have to tip out on what they sell and are taxed on their tips and that is why it is such an afront to find a pile of small change on the table after an hour of fetching more free refills and extra toast. i have worked high and low and i tell you, i do not miss it at all.
but i still love all things foody and drink so...
"knowing the differences between Armangac and Cognac; the history of Cointreau, triple sec and Cuaracao; why you serve food and beverages from the right or left, where to place the creamer and coffee pot if you do so; the five grapes of Bordeaux, the two grapes of Burgundy; what pastis is and why absinthe is illegal; how many bitters there are; what is port and what’s the difference between tawny and ruby; which spirits go in which glasses; which garnishes go with particular beverages; what sauces go with what items and why…"
more please.... couldja answer those questions for us here? i'm very interested in your answers.
a friend of mine and i spent an evening at a lovely little spot in san fran discussing grappa and eau de vie with the bartender there. it was amazing. there was a bottle of pear eau de vie there with a rather large pear in it that had been grown inside the bottle. wow.
May 26 2006, 08:34 PM
doxy, you really have quite a way with words. i understand that tipping is the norm, and now expected (even moreso in the US than in Canada, where I am), and that you do work hard are do your best to provide to your customers. i get that.
frankly, i'm not going to change my mind based on it being the 'social norm'. drinking alchohol is the social norm, and i don't, nor will i ever again. smoking weed is the social norm (at least in my city) and i never have and never will. you know what i think social norms can do? go shove themselves up their own asses, because i'm not going to think or do anything just because *most* other people think and/or do said things. and i honestly don't think my personal opinion of tipping is really going to hold me back working at a chinese buffet to put myself through school, thankyouverymuch. i don't mean to sound rude (ok, lie, that was meant to be rude and snarky, and i apoligize for that, but my tone isn't just coming out of thin air for no good reason), but your assertion that you weren't going to insult me put my back up to begin with ('i'm not going to insult you' and 'no offense' are simply buffers to lessen the blow of an insulting or offensive remark; if you weren't planning on insulting me there was no reason to pre-emptively cover your ass) and i found the portion of your post directed at me rather condescending. which, of course, leads to the tone of this post. i'm really sure you didn't mean it to be that way, but it's how i ended up reading it. does that make sense?
i do love to read your posts, doxy, you are amazing with words and i love your stories. i just don't like to bite my tongue or tone down what i want to say to be more 'polite' in most settings.
May 27 2006, 02:44 AM
tyger, my second post (the long one) had nothing to do with you. I wasn't covering my own ass with my second post, I just thought about it at work that night and decided I wouldn't have the right amount of time...hell, my entire theory of tipping could seriously be my thesis in regards to my graduate school program in hospitality/tourism with UNO. I don't "agree" with the social norm, I was simply stating that's what it was.
I did switch my post from being one that would cause you to understand to tip, this is true, but it wasn't to cover my own ass. It's because I don't agree with the social norm that I do make sure my tips are warranted. The pre-emptive covering my ass was because of how much more harsh text is to read and so I wanted to have a healthy discussion without getting anyone thinking they need to be on the defensive. I guess I should apologize then? Fine, I shouldn't have posted the first post...I was just excited to discuss something that has been bothering me for a decade now.
Back to you not changing your mind: Don't. Because this giving and receiving of tips is a two way street. You don't want to tip then go to a cafeteria or Wendy's...but don't come into my restaurant and order Cos de Estournel St. Estephe on your anniversary, because just like you wouldn't want to tip for the $200 bottle I won't want to serve it to someone who isn't happy that indeed I do know the grapes involved and which side of the river in Bordeaux it's from, regardless whether I have the label facing you while I open it or not. It isn't the server's fault restaurant owners know the typical percentages of tips that are given thus pay a shit rate because said tips will make up for it, legally. My post was intended to place hope that those(us) who do work for tips will do their part to make those who do tip feel as if it is at least warranted. Because at the end of the day...no one can go to a bar and make their own drink, and no one can go to a restaurant and make their own meal. They get to the bar knowing the person behind the bar has what they want, even if what they want can be found at home, they go to the bar to be part of the scene that everyone else is in at the bar and to walk around the bar with drinks...being social. They go to the restaurant because they like to be amongst other peers and people, together, while they have their meal. It's social, we're human beings and we're social, whether we like it or not. Tipping has become our (American) social norm, whether we like it or not. You don't like it and so you can eat and drink at home (I'm not being harsh) but you won't like it because you'll be alone while your friends are out agreeing the endive salad was a little bland and that the blueberry chantal sauce was such the compliment to the roast duck...that creme brulee is as close to heaven as it gets (even though I prefer chocolate). We went out on the town, we ate food we hadn't prepared, we used dishes we didn't have to wash, we moved around in a social setting, just pampering ourselves...and then tipping those that sacrificed their own social desires to make sure ours were quelled. Yes, the main reason for tipping is because it's the social norm, but the original reason for tipping was, after all, gratification. And so here we are.
I don't smoke that much pot anymore, but me thinks you need to enjoy a puff or two of some marijuana cigarettes, tyger...it'll help you relax...maybe it'll even help you feel a little bit more at ease the next time you've got to accept that next tip?
May 27 2006, 10:09 AM
hm, i didn't catch the vibe that your big long lovely post was aimed at anyone in particular. maybe tiger is sensitive about this whole issue and it's making her touchy? i can understand that, when i get passionate about something, especially when it's fresh, i take everything about it personally. let's not fight guys, this conversation is too interesting to deteriorate into snarky arguements.
i have to thank the experience of being a serving for making me into such an awsome customer service rep. i can keep a smile on my face through nearly anything and the shit that happens just never fazes me. i learned not only to grin and bear it, but to not take it personally. lord, i've been stiffed on the bill, never mind the tip, caught in the middle of fist fights, puked on, hit on, spilled on, and met some of the nastiest, most unhappy, ungrateful people out there. and some of the kindest, sweetest, most considerate people as well. really, it takes all kinds and it's never, ever about you. you're just the waitron at the end of the shift after all. the only difference you can make is in the level of service that you're willing and able to provide. and if it's a matter of your own sense of self pride, well, you can make yourself pretty damn happy at the end of the day no matter what went down. dealing well with the messy, irritating, and sometimes potentially dangerous situations left me with as much of a sense of satisfaction as leaving with my pockets full of cash.
doxy, if i lived closer i'd come to your restaurant just for you. but in the meantime please keep talking mister.
May 27 2006, 11:40 AM
doxy, just because i don't agree with tipping doesn't mean i don't. also, just because i don't agree with tipping doesn't mean i don't appreciate the serving staff at a restaurant; in fact, i do, and even moreso now that i work in a restaurant myself. none of that will change my opinion of tipping.
the parts of the big long post there were actually addressed to me i assumed were aimed at me. and in your first post, doxy, you did say 'I will not insult you in any way', which really wouldn't be necessary if you *didn't* plan on insulting me in any way.
last post i wasn't mad, i was merely irritated because i felt like i had been talked down to, and i really do apologize if it wasn't meant that way. this time? kinda mad, doxy. take your couple of puffs of pot and blow it up your asshole next time you think of suggesting to me that drugs will help (yes, you struck a nerve with that comment. i don't really think you deserve to know any details beyond the fact that half of my close group of friends aren't the same anymore, and it's because of all the weed they smoked in school; they're not really present even when they are. so, i have a very personal problem with weed being reccomended to me, i don't care if it was a serious or joking suggestion.)
there, i'm done. i'm sorry i was totally a bitch in *this* post, but i respect doxy's point of view (and everyone else's for that matter, so long as they don't advocate eating babies) but just because doxy doesn't agree with me doesn't mean i need another adult giving me a 'you'll change your mind given time' talk because i'm going against the grain yet again
May 27 2006, 12:45 PM
I think the fact that tyger is in canada makes a HUUUUGE difference. I mean, the canadian goverment takes care of everyone pretty well, dont they? I mean, in the states we are on our own pretty much, as far as heath care and stuff. I may be wrong but I get the impression that there is a more level middle-class structure in canada, thus, tipping is a bit unnecesary there.
With me, tips are my livelyhood. With just my wage I'd make $40 a night, but with tips its $200. Pretty different. And would it be nice if the restaurant owners gave us a higher wage or bonus, yes. But it aint gonna happen because they can rely on the generous people of San Francisco to leave tips. In San Francisco, there is barely a middle class,..there are insanely rich people and then there are the students/artists/immigrants etc. The well off tip because they know we servers are struggling to live in one of the most expensive cities in the world.
Anyway, I'm a bit nervous for this weekend...San Fran is having its annual "Carnaval" weekend and the restaurant is gonna be slammed...my worry is that everyone is going to be coming in already drunk and full from street venders, and will just come in to crash. Plus, the boss wants us to all come early so its gonna be a looong night. I can only hope it'll be high-energy and maybe the boss will hand us some shots!
May 27 2006, 05:23 PM
yes, we do have a good health care system here. but the middle class is slowly being eradicated. there are the wealthy, the lower middle class, and the poor. there really isn't a middle class here anymoer so... that arguement is out the window.
now, here in bc servers do get the regular minimum wage, which isn't really all that bad at $8/hr. but that's just one province (like a state). in ontario servers earn $1 less per hour than regular minimum wage and that minimum wage is $6.95/hr so servers make just under $6/hr and most of them work short shifts, 4-5 hours, not a regular 8hr work day. without tips those cats would starve, and they are also expected to claim a certain percentage of wages as tips on their taxes, regardless of what they actually earned. now that works out ok for those who make decent tips, but anyone working a dive knows that it's a long, hot, hard sweaty day of slinging hash to drunkards and the hung over, and a super fast paced high turn over to bump those wages up to around $10/hour. no job security and no benefits so god help you if you get sick from, say, stress or wearing your damn body out. them's the facts about tipping in canada.
seriously, i never made more money than when i served in san fran. 20% was the norm, generally speaking. it was GREAT, way better than business lunch in the financial district in toronto, let me tell you. i made less money offa the suits than i did offa the college students at sneaky dee's (i don't even have to describe that place to you, the name says enough).
May 29 2006, 04:39 AM
I've found the mere thought of blowing smoke up my own arse to have no appealing quality what-so-ever...and so therefore I'll decline;)
So the Memorial Day Crawfish Boil is at my house this time, as the usual home where it's held is vacant due to the flood. 100 lbs of Crawfish and two Kegs of Abita; an Amber and the Purple Haze. Going to be a good time (I just hope my house holds up). This is one of my more favorite aspects of restauranting: partying together. We've all got the day off and the owner buys the food and beer for this event each year. I've got Bocci Ball, Croquet and Horseshoes in the event anyone wants to venture to the park across the street in the heat. Let's all just hope I'm not found drunk-posting anywhere in bust tomorrow...happpy holiday to you all!
May 29 2006, 12:48 PM
ooo, doxy you are lucky to get the day off. I'm jealous! this will be my third night in a row working a long, busy shift and it doesnt even seem worth it. The money is ok but the holiday weekend crowd is so chaotic and draining I would give up the cash in exchange for hanging out in someones backyard. (head falls on the keyboard)
May 29 2006, 08:11 PM
A Campus Campaign for Starbucks Baristas and Coffee Farmers http://www.iww.org/en/node/2548
Jun 6 2006, 04:31 PM
Nohope! Where the hell have you been lately?
Aug 18 2006, 08:37 PM
Ah, the food industry thread....glad to have found it again.
Aug 19 2006, 12:48 AM
Oooh, thanks, zora, for finding this thread and bumping it. I just got home from work and was ready to do a search for the thread 'cause I'm in a venting mood.
I quit my job at the Dysfunction Cafe in the middle of June. I put out loads of resumes a week or two later, and nobody would so much as look at me. Then suddenly, about two weeks ago, the flood gates opened and I was offered a dozen jobs. Crazy. It's all about the time of year, looking for restaurant work.
Anyway, I'm sort of shell-shocked after a year and a half at Dysfunction Junction. I just started at a popular place with great chefs and nice owners. No one yells at each other. They have coherent systems in place. There's no big drama or bitching. Everybody's happy with their wages and tips. It's terrifying. Goddess, please let this place be for real.
But, since I am a server, I've got some whining to do, regarding our guests:
Our restaurant doesn't take reservations, and it's first come, first serve. We don't have a host person, we all take turns seating guests.
When people get on the waiting list, there are always a couple of class acts who won't sit in the waiting/reception area. They want to stand in the dining area so they can keep an eagle eye out to make sure they get their freaking table. This creates a pleasant atmosphere for other diners, having a hungry person stand two feet from their table. It's also convenient for servers to manuever a big tray though a dining area with people standing in any clear space ( of course, we make 'em go sit down, but damn, it sorta bugs me that we have to do that).
And they demand to know how long the wait will be. Honestly, this is an unanswerable question. We give an estimate ("it shouldn't be more than 30 minutes"), and folks get all huffy, "Can you guarantee that we'll be seated in 30 minutes?!"
Uh, no. There are 3 parties in front of you on the list. Some of the folks who appear to be finishing up might linger over dessert or want a couple more drinks. There's no way of telling for absolute certain positive guaranteed sure. I mean, I guess I could go rush my tables, bus their plates before they're done, slap the bill on the table before they've had their entrees. Do you want me to treat you like that once you're seated? Because unless we start putting an hourglass on each table and telling folks they've gotta jet by the time the sands run out, I will never ever ever be able to "guarantee" you'll have a table in half an hour. Sheesh.
Okay. end o'rant. Thanks for listening.
Aug 20 2006, 01:46 PM
Hey, I've got PMS this week, so all I can do is bitch about customers...
I've been doing some fill-in/ sub shifts at a little cafe. Last night a charming party of five came in, seating was limited, so we pushed two small tables together and put a chair on the end for them. Of course, they needed to rearrange the chairs so that there were people seated at either end of the table, blocking the aisle for all the servers.
We have a giant chalk board with the evening's specials on it. Well, while we're trying to get their table ready, four of them are hovering/supervising, while the fifth stands in front of the specials board and reads it loudly, for the benefit of the rest of the party who are across the room. They finally get their asses in the chairs, I bring them water and menus and another doofus from the group gets up and HE reads the entire specials board out loud across the room. They were a joy from the get-go.
These folks left $5 for a $46 check.
But, on the other hand, pretty much everyone else I waited on last night was wonderful...it almost always evens out, there's a lot of interesting, kind, polite, and/or generous folks out there for every clueless bastard. So I know I shouldn't bitch so much.
Aug 28 2006, 06:21 PM
Edna, I worked at a place once that had a bar down one side of a narrow room and tables on the other side. On busy nights, the bar would be three people deep and (of course) the biggest tables were on the far side of the room. I'd try taking an 8-top tray through the crowd and, even though I'd say "excuse me, hot food coming through", no one would move out of my way. One day I decided to re-word my plea to "messy food coming through, watch your clothes!". The room parted like the Red Sea.
Sadly, I actually miss waiting tables sometimes. There's just something about being in the weeds all night, getting it all done and counting your cash at the end. Instant gratification.
Dec 28 2006, 02:29 AM
There can't possibly be a question asked more than, "so is business coming back?" and the 10 other questions I'll get referring to the hurricane when tending bar in New Orleans...or is there?
If so then I am sorry for your lot.
I'm sorry for sounding callous as I'm happy to see any-and-everyone coming down to New Orleans to visit...just ask a different question, or three. Ask how "I'm" doing (maybe), ask...to be honest, I don't know what else to ask (now that I think of it). In fact, go back to the basics. It's a bar...tell me how you're doing and what you're up to. I can't take it anymore.
Oh yeah, the reason I'm on here. Cafe Brulot is cool. It is, and I recommend it. But, as it is coffee set on fire that dribbles down a peeled orange I'm not going to be doing it at the bar. Talk about labor-intensive cocktails...can you imagine? Go to eat at the restaurant and then enjoy your cafe brulot, you trifling bastards!
Just checked the thread on here...damn, Tyger, you were a bit of a "b" word back then. Bet you're drinking now (joking).
Anyway, just wanted to bring back the thread.