How To Memorize Orders

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brain

I know that order is in here somewhere

(Note: In yesterdays post I discussed why I feel it is beneficial to memorize orders.  I will not recap to avoid redundancy, which itself if redundant in this post.)

I am terrible with names.  Not particularly good with faces either.  I will forget three things every time I take a trip.  I promise I will remember to bring that CD I was telling you about next time I see you.  I have left the house in my slippers.  This seems like a good chance to wish a happy belated birthday to everyone who had one before the days when Facebook reminded me.  There was a point to this paragraph, but I am not sure what it was.

If you ask most of my friends, they will gladly tell you how forgetful I am.  If you ask my guests, they will tell you I am some sort of memorization genius.  Memorizing orders is skill rather than a talent.  A talent is something you are born with.  A skill is something you get better at through technique and practice.  I am an absent minded person who has trained himself to be highly proficient at memorizing orders.

Read the full post at Tips For Improving Your Tips

Memorizing Orders

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When I started my first serving job years ago I worked for a company I will affectionately refer to as “Five Four.”  That isn’t what it says on the signs out front, but it what we all called it.  My first day a manager who introduced himself as “CSV” told me that if I couldn’t figure out how to carry three plates at once by the end of the shift, I was fired.  I wasn’t sure if he was telling the truth, but I learned to carry three plates.  A couple days later I was training with a guy named “Timmy” who never wrote down his orders.  I asked him why and he said, “Only rookies write down orders.”

There are any number of managers who would read that last sentence and be horrified.  The thought of not writing down orders puts fear in the heart of managers who are responsible for the rise in food costs related to misrung food.  A former boss once put it this way; “I would rather have a stubby pencil than a sharp mind.”  The debate on whether or not to write down orders has pretty much been won by the side of managers who want to eliminate mistakes.  I do not disagree with them, but I also do not write down orders.

Read the full post at Tips For Improving Your Tips

Weird Restaurant Stories 8/21

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For a while now I have tried to come up with a weekend concept for this blog.  Traffic is down on the weekends and I wanted to come up with something lighthearted for everyone to enjoy.  Last week’s point/counterpoint on why it is a good or bad idea to date coworkers didn’t work out that way.  Turns out several of my dating coworkers did not see the humor in the post.  So much for the point/counterpoint idea.

Instead today I am going to try something a little different.  We all know truly strange things happen in restaurants all the time.  Sometimes they are even newsworthy.  So this Saturday in an effort to make everyone’s restaurant seem just a bit more normal I dug up some of these stories from around the world.  All of these were reported in just the last week.

Read the rest of the post at Restaurant Laughs

Seafood During Pregnancy

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If you sell seafood at your restaurant, you will inevitably come in contact with pregnant women concerned whether or not it is safe.  During pregnancy the only thing you get more than designer baby clothes that the child won’t be able to appreciate is advice on what not to eat.  Seafood is confusing to expectant mothers because it’s health benefits are touted as frequently as it is warned against.  The key for servers is being able understand what the warnings are about and what seafood to caution against.  Being able to concisely explain to expectant mothers what is and is not safe is relatively easy once you understand the reason for the warnings.

Seafood contains a great number of benefits for both mother and child.  Seafood contains DHA a type of Omega-3 acid that actually helps with a child’s brain development.  Seafood can also be high in calcium, iron, and vitamin D.  It has also been linked to delaying premature births.  For mothers, seafood is low in fat, but high in protein.  The Omega-3s in seafood have even been shown to reduce post partum depression.

Read the full post at Foodie Knowledge

Cost vs Profit

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In a previous post about why restaurants charge for different extras, I discussed the difference between the guest’s perception of profits and reality.  It is not uncommon to hear a guest say, “I can buy this for half as much at the grocery store.”  The problem is that food in a restaurant carries far more costs than the price of the food on a plate.  I thought of a number of different ways to address this.  The easiest way to explain a complex topic is in relatable terms.  For this reason I have decided to look at the topic by addressing the most common item on restaurant menus: The Cheeseburger.

A friend in the business was able to supply me with the actual numbers from a Midwestern restaurant that is part of a far larger national chain.  These are the actual costs broken down to their individual components on a hamburger.  I won’t name the chain for obvious reasons, but it is fair to say that their volume allows them to buy these items for less than their independent counterparts.  Here is how the actual cost of a half-pound cheeseburger and fries break down.

Read the full post at The Manager’s Office

The Upside of Dating Co-Workers

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(Note: This is part two of the point/counter-point of dating co-workers.  In part one I recalled the painful situations I have seen and experienced over the years.  Taking the side of dating co-workers is our resident Spanish language adviser and PhD candidate Senor Esparza.  He takes the position that it is in fact beneficial to date co-workers.  Obviously there is a middle ground we would both advocate.  No amount of logic or reason is going to prevent or cause anyone to enter into a workplace relationship.  This series if for entertainment value only.  If you are not reading it with a smile, you might be missing the joke.)

Soundtrack inserted by yours truly.


I will not attempt to refute the points that our favorite restaurant blogger has made.  Much of the rationale behind his screed warning people off of dating co-workers is grounded both his experience and the experience of many others.   This being said, I am going to frame the issue a little bit differently.  I would argue that not only is dating a co-worker natural consequence explainable by proximity empiricism, but in many cases can be preferable to dating people that you have not gotten to know through the course of working with them.

Read the full post at Restaurant Laughs

Why Not To Date Co-Workers

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On the downside, you work a double with them tomorrow

It is that time of year.  Love or at least heavy lust is in the air.   That means just one thing in the restaurant business.  It is too hot to sit on the patio.  Well that and co-workers are starting the annual mating ritual.  At the most recent count, there are six confirmed couples at my restaurant.  I was discussing this with some co-workers when someone said, “hey, you should write a blog about that.”  I had pondered it before, but never thought there was much to cover.  My opinion is simple and based on a great deal of experience.  Dating co-workers is a horrible idea.  My friend disagreed and offered to write the counter-point.  So today we kick off a two part series on dating co-workers.

I am a child of the 80s and was raised on John Hughes movies.  The hopeless romantic streak runs strong in me.  I have been in this business for 15 years and of course I have dated co-workers.  I have seen 15 years worth of work couples and even been in a few of their weddings.  I have seen co-workers have babies.  I have seen co-workers divorce. My opinion is still clear though, don’t date your co-workers.

Read the full post at Restaurant Laughs

Supply, Demand, and Chicken Wings

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I only chose this picture because I heard she was an economist

Yesterday’s post on extra charges for the various items a guest requests caused me to ponder on a larger scale.  It is remarkably common to hear guests say, “I could buy that steak/wine/etc at the store for half that much.”  This is the same principle as walking into a car dealership and demanding a price based on the total price of the steel, glass, and plastic contained in the car.  In both cases, the price of production goes far beyond the cost of the raw materials.  Next week, I will be addressing in detail the difference between the actual cost of an item as simple as a burger and also the actual price of production.  When the cost of labor and overhead is factored in, a burger is far less profitable than the average consumer would imagine.

First, it is necessary to establish as a premise that food is a commodity.  A meal is comprised of many components each of which has a finite supply.  There are only so many acres of wheat or corn being produced.  There are also only so much beef, poultry, pork, and seafood being brought to market.  This means that supply is more of less the same and therefore demand is what determines the price restaurants pay.  The commodity we are all most familiar with is oil.  When demand for oil rises worldwide the price rises as well.  This is followed shortly by a rise in the price of gasoline.  We as consumers understand why this affects gas prices, but rarely do we relate it to restaurants.

Read the full post at The Manager’s Office

The Evolution of Free Bread

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Lamberts

Home of the Throwed Rolls

In the far corner of Southeast Missouri is a town called Sikeston.  If you have heard of Sikeston, MO it is probably because of a restaurant called Lambert’s Café.  I’ve eaten at Lambert’s a number of times over the years, but don’t recall what I had.  I always remember the food being good, but nothing amazing.  The menu isn’t what made Lambert’s famous though.  Lambert’s is known around the world as “The Home of the Throwed Rolls.

If you are unfamiliar with Lambert’s, the atmosphere is best conveyed on video.  You almost have to be on guard at all times while eating there because any stray glance could result in a roll being unintentionally thrown at your head.  The rolls aren’t the only thing they give away. Fried potatoes with onions, macaroni with tomatoes, black-eyed peas, fried okra, and sorghum are all handed out free of charge around the dining room.  At first glance it makes no sense to give away so much food.  Yet this small town restaurant is thriving and has spawned three other locations.

In contrast, several years ago an girlfriend at the time worked for O’Charley’s when they released this video on their website.  I immediately declared it the single stupidest marketing move I had ever seen a restaurant make. Why would they spend money to advertise something they are giving away that directly trades off with the things they are trying to sell?  It is at exactly 1:53 in that video where they completely missed the point.  After relaxing with a couple rolls while considering the menu guests face a decision: buy an appetizer or eat more of these delicious free rolls.  Anyone who has ever waited tables can tell you how that decision ends.  At the end of the meal, guests ate too many rolls to buy a dessert, but one more roll sounds good.

Read the full post at The Manager’s Office

Foil To Go: The Shark

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It’s “Shark Week” from all indications. The time when a certain television network rolls out a weeks worth of shark related shows that everyone feels the need to watch and discuss over dinner at my restaurant.  Personally I would love to see the same principle used on “National Debt Week” or “Health Insurance Reform Week” or “We Are Still Fighting Two Wars Week.”  But I digress.  I guess sharks are more interesting.  Which is why this post is on foil sharks rather than foil preexisting conditions.

My post on the foil swan received a great deal of comments from people I have met that read the blog.  It is by no means the only foil animal I have done over the years.  Swans are pretty easy to make though.  I intended to make it a recurring feature of the blog.  Then my roommate used the last of the foil for cooking or something completely unimportant like that.  Well, a new roll has been procured and today I give you the foil shark.

Read the full post at Tips For Improving Your Tips

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