Recommended Reading 11/1

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I promise nothing this boring is on the list

In my continuing attempt to find a good Monday feature, I have decided to share some of the more fun or interesting things I have read over the last week.  I’m not really putting a minimum number of in because I don’t want to ever post filler.  These are just random restaurant related articles that I have found or were sent to me that I thought were worth passing along.  I will gage by what is clicked the kinds of stuff the majority seem interested in and will try to cater the list to it.  Let’s give it a shot.

Read the full post at Tips For Improving Your Tips

First 100 Posts Recap

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I couldn't decide on an image. So I searched yahoo images for "tipsfortips." This was the first result.

I know I am pushing the envelope spreading the 100th post commemoration over two days.  The first day was to thank everyone who showed patience and support in getting this blog off the ground.  I really do appreciate each and every one of you.  Today is going to take a little different tone.  Today I want to give you all a little peak behind the curtain to share some insight from this side of the screen.  This post is a bit more for the bloggers, those who have thought of starting a blog, and those who just wonder about how I put this thing together.

After 100 posts there is still no shortage of topics.  Right now I have about 30-40 on a list.  A few times a week I will get and message on facebook or text message with a topic idea.  I appreciate all of them.  I still wake up every morning though and wonder, “What the hell am I going to write about today.”  When you write everyday it becomes almost ritualistic.  It is part of my routine.  I wake up, check stats, check facebook, check my newsites, make a pot of coffee, read a few blogs, and then I write.  Each day I pretty much write about what I find interesting that day.  If I get stumped, I have the list.  The list generally gets longer rather than shorter by the week.

The problem with determining what to write is usually convincing myself that anyone will want to read about it.  When I look over my top 10 posts of all time, at least half are things that I really didn’t think would catch on when I wrote them.  At least one was thrown together between shifts on a double when suffering from writer’s block.  When I look at the 10 least read I note two that I did a ton of research for and found fascinating.  The combination of reader preference and search engine fickleness makes for some strange results.

So without further ado, lets get on to some stats.  Yesterday I asked for guesses on my most popular post of all time.  I received some great guesses, but for those of you playing along at home, here are the 10 most read posts on this blog.

1)    Foodie Friday: Types of Crab

2)    A Tale of Three Burgers

3)    Servers Vs Dentists

4)    Foodie Friday: Beef Made Easy (Part One)

5)    Fighting For The Server Wage

6)    Cherry Limeade Recipe

7)    Understanding Restaurants: The Owner’s Perspective

8)    Three Ways to Describe Dishes

9)    Why Not To Date Co-Workers

10) The Rules: Rules 1-10

What you can’t tell from this list is that the crab post has nearly triple the views of second place.  Some search engine has made sweet algorithmic love to that post.  There is a similar story behind the cherry limeade post.  In another week or two my post on olive oil and balsamic vinegar will break into this list as well.  Three of the top 10 received love from Tony’s Kansas City.  Another got some serious love from Frothy Girlz.

Which leads me to another interesting list.  These are the top non-search engine referrers to my site:

slightlycrankywaitress.blogspot.com/

tonyskansascity.com/

teleburst.wordpress.com/

frothygirlz.com/

blogs.pitch.com/fatcity/

As discussed in yesterday’s comment section, I think many of us owe the only slightly cranky waitress a beer.  The same goes for everyone on this list.  Three of them are great local bloggers.  Kansas City has a great local blogging scene and they have all been very supportive of this little corner of the internet.  Well with the exception of my nemesis, Charles Ferruzza.  If you missed that post, you are missing out on some fun.  The latest comment to his original article should be good for a little rage and since Chuck has decided to ignore my intervention I think it might be fun to unleash the kracken on him once again.

So yesterday I expressed my gratitude to a ton of different people by name.  It got a little sappy and I caught a little flack for being sentimental so I will skip calling out bloggers by name today.  Instead I will unveil one last feature that I am introducing on Monday.  I work doubles on Monday and Wednesday so I often struggle to get something posted.  I have been trying to come up with a way to have something to post that does not require tons of writing and editing.  This led me to an idea.  Starting Monday I will recap some of the funnest posts of the week from the bloggers in my blog roll.  It is a great way to highlight some of the other super talented voices out there and still not be late getting back to work.  If you are not already on my blog roll, drop me a comment to make sure I am not missing you.  If anyone wants to nominate a post they read, drop it on the fan page or leave me a comment.

Thank you again for all you indulgence over the last two days of celebration.  Tomorrow I get back to work on another weeks worth of weird restaurant stories.  Sunday I am planning on revealing my ballot in The Pitch’s Best of Kansas City competition.  Monday we will debut the best server blog posts from around the internets.  Then back to trying to help all of us make more money taking care of the people who leave us tips.

100th Post Extravaganza

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Unfortunately cakecentral.com did not make this cake to celebrate this occasion.

I try not to self-indulgently pat myself on the back too often, but damn it I have written 100 of these posts.  It is time for a little self-indulgent tripe.  I wanted to take this opportunity to make some announcements regarding this blog, thank some great people who have helped me along the way, and reflect on some of the posts of the past.  When I started this blog I had no idea where it would lead.  Along the way I have learned a lot about writing a blog and want to share a little bit of that knowledge with other bloggers out there as well.

First off let’s knock out the announcements:

Welcome to the new layout of the blog.  It took a great number of hours of deliberation to decide on this format.  I will miss the familiar blue look, but am excited about some of my new features.  The most exciting part is that at the top of the home page there are now tabs.  This works somewhat like the index did, but categorizes the information more succinctly by categories the reader will enjoy.  I have determined my readership is divided in four ways: servers, managers, foodies, and people who think I am occasionally chuckle worthy.  Now each has a category at the top to find just what they like.

I also have decided to leap into 2006 and start a twitter account.  You can follow my twitter feed at http://twitter.com/tips4tips.  I have to admit I know very little about twitter protocol and such.  I will just send a tweet when the blog is updated to give you a chance to catch up.  This may fail miserably, but it is worth a try.  Also if anyone wants to send me some twitter etiquette tips, feel free.  So go to the twitter page and become a follower if you want.

With this format redesign and some other new features they have introduced, I have decided to stay with wordpress as well.  They run great blogging software and make it very easy to get started.  The lack of ftp access and share options bothered me at first, but since they added them I think I will stick around.  The biggest announcement of all is related to that.  I was hoping to be able to make it today, but alas it is still a couple weeks off.  Stay tuned though, because it will mark a whole new chapter in this blog.

Now that we have that out of the way lets get to the topic at hand.  When I started this blog I made no secret of it.  I know most server bloggers keep their identity top secret.  I knew the story of CJ from Frothy Girlz who worked blocks away.  My decision was based on the idea that I have no problems answering for anything I write on here.  My name is David Hayden and I write this blog.  I keep my employer a secret at their request, but frankly I don’t think I have posted anything they would find too offensive.  I wanted to write a different type of server blog.  I have to say that at first I was a little under whelmed with the response from my coworkers.  Perhaps they thought it was going to be preachy pronouncements from me on how tables should be served.  Over time though I think those that read it have learned to appreciate it for what it is.

There was one point where the response was a bit overwhelming.  When I wrote about why not to date coworkers, plenty of them chimed in.  While I definitely do not want to reignite that debate ever again, I think it serves as a good learning tool to those starting a blog.  You will have to answer to your readers.  You can do so anonymously, but if you decide to be public about your writing you will have to do so in person too.

At the same time I could never have gotten this blog to the point it is without the help of my friends and coworkers.  So I am going to take a break from self indulgence to give some much deserved thank you s.

Thank you to:

Jessica and Michelle for referring the most people to the page at it’s inception.

Lisa, Heather, and Bobbie for sharing the heck out of my stories of facebook.

Becky, Yellowcat, Brenda, Jessi, and House for kicking in with comments and letting me know that someone is reading.

Scott for always keeping the debate lively whether he is on my side in it or not.

Paige for being my designated drinker.

Stefne and Eric for giving me reminders that I should have proofread again.

Pren for giving me countless ideas on how to structure a blog and for a very thoughtful introduction.

Candice and Julie for making me write my way through it.

The Chefs for constantly giving me ideas to write about.

Drew, Maggie, and Roman for kicking through with countless post topics.

Jenn Jones for being Jenn Jones.

The Burtons and The Hollmans for giving me the chance to get away from time to time.

Blitzel for not pointing out that I am still the second best waiter at my address.

Bramble for restaurant knowledge you cannot find online.  This guy is a restaurant genius.

Marcy for being my biggest cheerleader.

Jeff for enduring hundreds of hours of listening to me ramble about the blog and always having insight.

My Mom for being the person who has read every post.

My Dad for believing that this could be as big as I think it could.

And Ali for listening to me ramble about this thing more than anyone.  For being patient with me when I run late to finish a post and not getting mad when I check my stats 40 times a day.

Finally, I want to thank all of you who read this blog.  I cannot begin to express how much I appreciate each and every one of you.  This is the first step in a much larger dream of mine.  Each one of you has helped inspire me to keep at it and helped me to believe I can really achieve this.  From the bottom of my heart I truly do appreciate each and every one of you.

Tomorrow I will wrap up this extravaganza with recap of my first 100 posts.  A list of my 10 most popular posts.  The search engine terms that brought me the most traffic.  A special shout out to all the bloggers and blogs that referred me traffic.  There will probably also be thank yous for all the people I forgot to include on this list.  I know it doesn’t sound that exciting, but I think those of you who are regular readers will find in very interesting.  A special contest in the meantime:  Can you guess the most viewed post of all time on this blog?  Leave your answer in the comments.  The winner will receive a special mention in tomorrows post.

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