Thursday, July 24, 2008

Thursday Thirteen


1. Avoid eating out on holidays and Saturday nights. The sheer volume of customers guarantees that most kitchens will be pushed beyond their ability to produce a high-quality dish.

2. There are almost never any sick days in the restaurant business. A busboy with a kid to support isn't going to stay home and miss out on $100 because he's got strep throat. And these are the people handling your food.

3. When customers' dissatisfaction devolves into personal attacks, adulterating food or drink is a convenient way for servers to exact covert vengeance. Waiters can and do spit in people's food.

4. Never say "I'm friends with the owner." Restaurant owners don't have friends. This marks you as a clueless poseur the moment you walk in the door.

5. Treat others as you want to be treated. (Yes, people need to be reminded of this.)

6. Don't snap your fingers to get our attention. Remember, we have shears that cut through bone in the kitchen.

7. Don't order meals that aren't on the menu. You're forcing the chef to cook something he doesn't make on a regular basis. If he makes the same entrée 10,000 times a month, the odds are good that the dish will be a home run every time.

8. Splitting entrées is okay, but don't ask for water, lemon, and sugar so you can make your own lemonade. What's next, grapes so you can press your own wine?

9. If you find a waiter you like, always ask to be seated in his or her section. Tell all your friends so they'll start asking for that server as well. You've just made that waiter look indispensable to the owner. The server will be grateful and take good care of you.

10. If you can't afford to leave a tip, you can't afford to eat in the restaurant. Servers could be giving 20 to 40 percent to the busboys, bartenders, maître d', or hostess.

11. Always examine the check. Sometimes large parties are unaware that a gratuity has been added to the bill, so they tip on top of it. Waiters "facilitate" this error. It's dishonest, it's wrong-and I did it all the time.

12. If you want to hang out, that's fine. But increase the tip to make up for money the server would have made if he or she had had another seating at that table.

13. Never, ever come in 15 minutes before closing time. The cooks are tired and will cook your dinner right away. So while you're chitchatting over salads, your entrées will be languishing under the heat lamp while the dishwasher is spraying industrial-strength, carcinogenic cleaning solvents in their immediate vicinity.

FROM Reader's

Winning may not be everything, but losing has little to recommend it.



Kim said...

Well said!

I used to be a waitress (before I decided my boss was a total douche!) at a somewhat high-end Italian restaurant and these things all hit home.

I never did spit in anyones food, but I was sure tempted. :) Thanks for sharing this Thursday!

Ivanhoe said...

I've done waitressing before so I know these are all true. I'm also a good tipper because of that (unless the service really sucks). I know how hard they work :o)

mommagurl32 said...

I read this in my Readers Digest yesterday...its very blunt but also very true!
*I also NEVER spit in anyones food.

SandyCarlson said...

The look of death used to come all over me when I was a waitress and some last minute Charlie would stroll in. Great list, Mary.

Unknown said...

Well written article and great that you shared it. As a former waitress and employee in the field of food service I am very critical of staff when I go out to eat, you earn your tip, but I tip darn good as long as you earn it.

Forgetfulone said...

These are fabulous! I couldn't work in the food industry - not enough patience, and I think being a waitperson would be difficult. Not that teaching 12 year olds is easy, mind you. I try to treat my waitstaff good because I just can only imagine how hard a job it is.

That's true they have to split tips. My oldest step-daughter was a hostess, and she got tips, which doesn't seem fair, but that's how they do it. That's how they get away with only paying them $2-something an hour.

I know you're right about the busboy with strep, but I guess I never thought about it. I'm thinking about it now.

What's the standard tip where you are? I usually do 20%. Oh, and I subscribed to you!

anthonynorth said...

One of my sons is a chef. I won't even let him cook in the house ;-)

Gattina said...

I think it's a little different here (tips are included) but most of what you say is true !
But I can tell here in my summerschool the food is excellent !

After Hours said...

Interesting list.. I've never sent food back or argued with a I never will. I do however tip well. I think good service demands good rewards!

Sandee said...

Not playing this week, but wanted to comment. What a great set of rules to live by. I did this kind of work for years as a young person. It's indeed tough work and people that weren't very nice made it far more difficult that it should have been. Have a great day Teach. Big hug and lotsa lovies. :)

Anonymous said...

Great TT! The one that really strikes a chord with me is #2. Living with lung disease, I know that I should do all that I can to avoid respiratory infections.
My husband and I laugh (sort of...)that every trip to the Chinese buffet is a walk on the wild side. And McD's? Oh my...
I do try to avoid restaurants in the winter at the height of cold and flu season.
But sometimes you just have to have the General Tso's chicken!

Thanks for visiting my blog and thank you for the support you give to people working to become smoke free.

Vinny "Bond" Marini said...

excellent list and having worked in the industry it is all true...though I would not say do not eat out on Saturdays...

Any good restaurant staffs for a Saturday or a holiday

Travis Cody said...

As to #12, I agree with increasing the tip if you're going to linger over coffee after a fine meal. However, my mom talks about the days when going out to dinner was an evening in itself, not just something you did an hour before your next event.

These days a restaurant seats you, often takes your drinks & meal order at the same time, serves your entree before you've finished your salad, brings your check with the first pass by to ask how your meal is, and swipes your plate as you take the last bite of food.

Then someone hovers to snatch the bill folder as soon as you reach for your wallet.

I'll reward a good experience at a restaurant with a healthy tip for attentive wait staff and my return business. But let me sit for a bit and enjoy the person with whom I'm sharing my evening. Be attentive, but don't rush me just so you can get more butts in the booths.

I respect that it's a tough business, but it's my date!

Geraldine said...

Very good points Mary! My brothers were both professional chefs and oh...the stories they had to tell. We don't eat out much and it's not really a burden, given my passion for cooking but it's too bad that eating out is such a roll of the dice. And just eating in 'better' restaurants, means nothing, in terms of food safety. Good to see this posted.

PS: If you are looking for a new prompt opportunity, stop by MPP when you can for details. Looks like a winner over at Selma's

Anonymous said...

Oh my! We're staying in for dinner tonight, for sure!!!