Critiquing The Server

6 Comments

Next week we review the biopic of an amateur server critic entitled, "Why did you shove that fork in my eye?"

As you are reading this, I am most likely sitting in a courthouse awaiting a trial.  Not my trial or anything of that nature.  I was summoned for jury duty.  If this is the last post for a while, you will know I was sequestered for the crime of the century.  In anticipation of my potential selection, I have spent some time thinking about my recent guest post and a comment it included.  The idea of critiquing a server was brought up in the post and confirmed by some comments posted afterwards.

I have never been a lawyer, but I was on the mock trial team at North Kansas City High School.  I love Law and Order.  I have several friends who are lawyers and even know a couple judges.  People tell me all the time that I should have been a lawyer.  All of this makes me fully qualified to tell the lawyers what they could do better next time.  Right?

Read the full post on Tips For Improving Your Tips

A World Without Tips

3 Comments

A world without tips

I am still incredibly grateful for my recent guest post on tipping.  It inspired my response that discussed the economics of tipping.  It also raised a few other interesting points that I am now learning are common misconceptions about restaurants.  For people who have never worked in a restaurant, these misconceptions can easily be mistaken as facts.  Upon further consideration they may not be wise to pursue.  One interesting idea that she raised in the post was raising the wages paid to server by restaurants to replace tipping.  While on the surface it seems quite logical, it would have a disastrous impact on the industry.

Restaurants are operated on incredibly thin profit margins.  As discussed in a previous post, large corporate restaurant chains are extremely susceptible to anything that affects their stock prices. With a huge spike in the cost of labor, restaurant stock prices would crumble.  Independent restaurant owners struggling to stay afloat would shutter.  Consumers would lose choices.  A vast majority of restaurants would survive this initial wave, but be forced into the next step.

The remaining restaurants would set a wage for servers considerably lower than what the servers make now.  Professional servers with years of experience would have to settle for the new rate or venture into a new career field.  Between servers quitting and terminations, restaurants would reduce the size of their server staff by about a third.  Servers who worked four table sections before would now be required to work six tables for less money.  This would reduce the damage to the restaurant’s bottom line, but also drastically reduce the quality of service that was provided to guests.

Read the full post at Tips For Improving Your Tips

The Economics of Tipping

6 Comments

A reminder for all of us.

I still occasionally get the guest who will say, “I can buy this wine for half this price at the store.”  Which is true, but it doesn’t come with a staff to serve it and a crew of chefs ready to cook you an incredible meal from a fully stocked kitchen.  I wonder if the same people have ever priced grapes at the grocery store.  If they want to get really serious about cutting out the mark up, that would be an even cheaper place to start.  Better yet, if they buy seeded grapes they could plant the seeds and never have to pay for a bottle of wine again.

Most of you understand the absurdity of this logic.  Those who do not understand have already stopped reading to go buy grapes.  At each step along the process of making the bottle of wine the cost of goods and service, along with a healthy profit margin, are passed along to the next stage.  From grape to cellar, farmers, vintners, bottlers, distributors, and restaurants all add to the price of the bottle in advance.  There is one exception to this rule.  The person who opens the bottle and pours it actually makes that wine less expensive.  At the most basic level, the person who serves the wine pays for part of the bottle for you.

Read the full post at Tips For Improving Your Tips

On A Good Night

5 Comments

On the great nights

(Note: I am enjoying the final day of my mini vacation.  Having a great trip.  Met my favorite musician and a personal hero yesterday.  Today I will be taking the scenic drive through the Ozark hills of Central Missouri.  This is a post I wrote a couple months ago.  Not my standard fare, but I hope you all enjoy it.)

Some nights I just love waiting tables.  They are the nights where everything goes right.  The guests are congenial and friendly.  You make connections with your tables and they are happy.  They take your recommendations and commend you on them afterwards.  It almost doesn’t seem like work.

Read the full post at Tips For Improving Your Tips

10 Reasons Why Serving Is Not Like Your Job

10 Comments

Let's hope he isn't working while sick.

After 15 years in the restaurant industry, I can still be surprised at how little some people know about how the industry works.  Restaurants operate in a manner far different than most businesses in the United States.  While most Americans are familiar with restaurants from dining out, very few are aware of the working conditions endured by the average restaurant server.  This lack of knowledge is made worse by the fact that the customer who is unaware of this information determines the wage of servers.  This is why a brief refresher on life as server is worth reviewing for those who dine out.

Here are ten ways serving differs from most occupations:

Read the full post at Tips For Improving Your Tips

The Disadvantages of Set Schedules

8 Comments

As Close As You Can Get As A Server

 

Saturday night I spent some time on the patio with one of the newer servers at my restaurant.  He is low on seniority, but has spent more years serving than I have.  I estimate total the two of us have between three and four decades of serving experience.  I am pretty high on seniority at my restaurant, but nevertheless we were in neighboring sections on the patio on a reasonably busy Saturday night watching the rain.  After nearly four hours (five for him) we were sent home without receiving a table.

I work at a restaurant that has a set schedule.  They take it a step further by rotating sections by an established system.  This means that seniority and experience do not factor into what station I have on a given night.  I know in advance what station I will have, what sidework is mine, and how likely it is that my station will be cut.  This has both positive and negative impacts on how I view my job.  Today I will discuss the negatives and tomorrow I will address the benefits of having a set schedule.

Here are some of the drawbacks of set schedules:

Read the full post at Tips For Improving Your Tips

Dr Strange Salmon

3 Comments

An AquAdvantage Salmon and traditional salmon of the same age.

or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Genetically Modified Salmon

Earlier this week I posted a link to a story regarding the AquAdvantage genetically modified salmon.  In the days since, I have become fascinated by this concept.  I have consumed dozens of articles on the topic and several related topics.  I have also read the companies literature on the topic and reviewed the data they sent to the FDA.  I have come to a very specific conclusion on this issue.  Everyone needs to take a deep breathe and look at the big picture.

The AquAdvantage Salmon is for all intensive purposes an Atlantic Salmon.  As you might recall from a previous post on salmon, all commercial Atlantic Salmon is farm raised since it was fished to near extinction in the Atlantic.  The AquAdvatage Salmon has two major differences.  They introduced the growth hormone of the much larger Coho Salmon and a cool water tolerance gene found in the eelpout.  These modifications allow the salmon to grow to market size in half the time.

Read the full post at Foodie Knowledge

Weird Restaurant Stories 9/11

2 Comments

Welcome to a very special episode of Weird Restaurant Stories.  This does not mean that Arthur Carlson will try to take naked pictures of Gary Coleman while the girl from Striptease pops caffeine pills and Tom Hanks gets hammered on vanilla extract in Michael J Fox’s kitchen.  Nope, this one is even more special.  Today’s weird restaurant stories come with a theme.  Even though the economy is rough, restaurants open everyday.  Today I want to share my insight with restaurant owners on how to open a successful restaurant.

Read the full post at Restaurant Laughs

Resumes For Servers

1 Comment

 

What I meant by "Head Trainer" was "Head Trainer of Dishwashers."

“You should never write your own resume, personal ad, or obituary.  In all three cases it is better to show your humility by letting someone else lie for you.”

-David Hayden

Every since picking up a copy of Peter’s Quotations in high school it has been a personal goal of mine to quote myself in something I wrote.  I can now check that one of the bucket list.  Contrary to the impression I give writing this blog, I am actually a pretty humble guy.  I consider humility an attribute.  In most cases it serves a person well.  Writing a resume is not one of those cases.

Writing a successful resume requires the writer to place the most positive spin on their achievements possible.  This does not mean lying, but rather fully accentuating the positive.  There is no room for humility in resume writing.  It is assumed by the reader that a resume contains a fair amount of exaggeration.  If you do not include that exaggeration, your humility will be mistaken for it.

I recently was asked by a friend to take a look at her resume.  She had a big interview coming up and wanted to have a fresh set of eyes to take a look over it.  I determined at this point there are two types of people in this world: those who edit and those who write.  I write, but am not so strong on the editing side (as many of you who read regularly have gathered).  I returned to her what I consider a very strong server resume.  She gave me permission to share parts of it with you and I think it can provide some inspiration for anyone writing their own.

Read the full post at Tips For Improving Your Tips

A Food Critic Intervention

15 Comments

Above My Computer

There have been several instances while writing posts for this blog where I have felt the need to place blame for the things that drive me crazy about the restaurant business.  I have always managed to stop short of that because I do not want this to be a blog that complains about the problems we are all aware of.  My mission is a little different.  I want to help servers make more money by exceeding their guests’ expectations. Whenever I find myself kvetching too much I only have too look at the Woody Guthrie quote that I keep hanging above my computer to get me back on track.

I consider myself fortunate to have worked with some great “old school” waiters who instilled in me a respect for the industry and the way things used to be.  I have heard tales of the days when people dressed for dinner, left the kids at home, and did not ask for ranch on their Caesar salads.  Since I did not cause the mass corporate casual restaurant to become the norm, I do not complain about it.  I try to adapt to a world where anyone with a yahoo username can be a food critic and hundreds of cooking shows allows everyone to consider themselves a chef de cuisine.  I do so because this is an industry that I love and respect.

Read the full post at The Manager’s Office

Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: